Hyaluronic Acid: Why Molecule Size Matters

Hyaluronic Acid: Why Molecule Size Matters




Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in our body. Used cosmetically, it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water — and in doing so gives skin a soft, plumper texture and more even skin tone. It can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and is gentle on the skin barrier.

But not all hyaluronic acid molecules are created equal, and their effects can vary. In fact, there are six different sizes. Hyaluronic acid is typically labelled as sodium hyaluronate (INCI = Sodium Hyaluronate) and thus doesn’t specify the different molecular sizes in the formula.

You need to ask the brand for details to get the results you are looking for. In our typical Telluride Glow transparency, we are telling you what we do so you don’t have to ask.




The easiest way to understand is to look at low vs. high molecular weight. Molecules with lower molecular weight are smaller, and can therefore reach the deeper layers of skin where they sustain skin’s moisture content. Those with high molecular weights, on the other hand, remain closer to the surface, where they can deliver visible results but with a shorter life-span, and the results will be washed away with the next cleansing.

High molecular weight
High molecular weight hyaluronic acid cannot penetrate the skin barrier. However, it forms a film with the keratin of the skin on evaporation, which moisturizes the skin and improves its elasticity. The plus of this type is that it has anti-inflammatory properties and is quite nurturing and soothing. Unfortunately, this film is washed off relatively quickly, so the minus is that no real long-term effect occurs.

Low molecular weight
Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid makes it possible to enter the skin and ensures that water is stored in the connective tissue of the skin. The additional moisture not only makes the skin more firm and firmer, but also visibly reduces wrinkles. The plus is that the moisture is stored in the skin sustainably. Therefore, it has more advantages and above all a more lasting effect. The minus is that when used in improper ratios, it can irritate the skin.



At Telluride Glow, our first priority is to formulate effective and safe products. We use a low molecular weight in our Aspen Dew Illuminating Essence to give you lasting results, with proper ratios to ensure a non-irritating formula. Some brands typically use a combination of high molecular weight as it shows immediate effects to convince the buyer of its effectiveness. However, the effectiveness isn’t long lasting if your goal is to support your skin in the long run.



Though hyaluronic acid can attract and retain moisture, it doesn’t necessarily keep that moisture from evaporating over time. That’s why it’s important to maximize the benefits by adding occlusive products after the essence, like our Alpine Phytonutrient Serum or The Purist Delicate Skin Serum. These seal in the moisture drawn into skin by the hyaluronic acid, and the two work together to ensure skin is both hydrated and stays that way.



Tremella mushroom (Tremella fuciformis), is a key ingredient in our Snow Rose Recovery Mask for water retention. Tremella’s particle sizes are actually smaller than those of HA, giving Tremella the ability to hold 5 times more water than hyaluronic acid!

P.S. Be sure to take a look at our new Gifts & Specials to see if bundling may work best for your needs.



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