Polyglutamic acid (PGA): benefits for the skin

Today, polyglutamic acid is promoted as a powerful cosmetic treatment to restore and maintain skin moisture. What are its benefits?

Last update: 23 March, 2022

Polyglutamic acid is also known as «PGA» (English acronym for polyglutamic acid). It is an amino acid that is obtained from natt, food made from fermented soybeans. this compound is promoted as the next revolution in aesthetic treatments. For what reason?

In particular, it is said to be an ingredient with great moisturizing properties, which stay on the skin longer. In fact, it is claimed to be better than hyaluronic acid in this regard. In the following space we detail its main characteristics, benefits, contraindications and what science says about its effectiveness.

What is polyglutamic acid and what is it used for?

The causes of dry skin are varied; the passage of time, exposure to various elements of the environment, inadequate nutrition, lack of hydration, among others. At the same time, moisture loss can have consequences, not only aesthetically, but also health. For example, it affects the following.

  • Appearance of wrinkles.
  • loss of smoothness
  • Roughness.
  • Desquamation.
  • Burning.
  • redness
  • Itch.
  • Cracks.

To counter such effects, the beauty industry is constantly searching and innovating, with a view to propose methods and techniques for skin care that allow to maintain and restore humidity.

One of these new products is the so-called “polyglutamic acid” (PGA, for its acronym in English). It is an amino acid —or rather a peptide— made up of thousands of molecules.

It is extracted from a Bacillus present in the nattō or nutt, a Japanese food derived from fermented soybeans. However, it can also be made synthetically in the laboratory.

As for its uses, it has been applied to treat the skin, specifically in wound healing. It is also used in the field of nanomedicine. In addition, it has recently gained popularity in aesthetic skin care treatments.

To be more exact, it has been determined that it contributes to keeping the skin hydrated, since can inhibit hyaluronidase production. This enzyme is what breaks down the body’s natural hyaluronic acid, which affects the level of moisture.

Polyglutamic acid is used in formulations to combat dryness and signs of premature aging of the skin.

How is polyglutamic acid used?

Polyglutamic acid is commercially available in various forms. It can come in cream or serum. In both cases, it is only for topical use. For now, there are no injectables or other presentations. On the other hand, it is achieved in compounds, in which it is combined with other substances, such as vitamin C, lysine, various amino acids or with hyaluronic acid.

As for its application, if you are using any other skin care product, it is convenient to use it last. It can be used in the morning and at night. In addition to this, it is recommended to clean and rinse the area to be treated.

Benefits of polyglutamic acid for the skin

The main contribution of polyglutamic acid to the skin has to do with its ability to absorb and retain moisture. It is claimed that it can gain up to 5000 times its own weight. In addition, it ensures the integration and permanence of water in the dermis and epidermis.

For the above, Its use is suggested as an adjuvant to maintain healthy skin. In general, the following benefits are noted:

  • Prevention of moisture loss.
  • Increased synthesis of natural moisturizing factors.
  • Decreased appearance of wrinkles.
  • Illumination and conservation of the shine of the skin.
  • Increased elasticity.
  • Smooth appearance.
  • Acceleration of the healing process when there are wounds.

Other advantages

Relative to other skin treatments, formulated for the same purposes, polyglutamic acid is claimed to have certain advantages. For example, it is said to be up to five times stronger than hyaluronic acid in terms of maintaining moisture.

Compared to this, the PGA is concentrated in the most superficial layer of the skin (epidermis), while the hyaluronic acts in the deep ones. Therefore, neither replaces the other, but complements each other.

In the same order of ideas, polyglutamic acid does not interfere with other ingredients or treatments that are being used as part of the beauty routine. Converselycan be combined effectively with some compoundslike topical vitamin C, without generating negative reactions.

Polyglutamic acid can be used simultaneously with other cosmetic products.

Possible adverse effects and contraindications

Polyglutamic acid is considered suitable for all skin types. However, it is recommended in those cases where there are signs of premature aging and dehydration.

For now, no side effects mentioned. In any case, since we do not have this amino acid as a natural component of the dermis, the body could recognize it as something foreign and react with allergies.

In this regard, regarding possible contraindications, it is suggested that people who are sensitive or allergic to soy take precautions with the use of polyglutamic acid.

Of course, as with any other product, the suggestion is to consult a dermatologist first. Ideally, start slowly, applying a small amount to one part of the skin. and wait 24 hours to see if there are any reactions.

How effective is polyglutamic acid?

Polyglutamic acid is relatively new in the market, in terms of formulations for cosmetic uses. Even so, some studies have already been carried out to evaluate its efficiency.

The results reveal that formulations containing polyglutamate were shown to be more effective in improving skin elasticitycompared to those containing hyaluronic acid or propylene glycol.

Despite this, this study was carried out under laboratory conditions, with 10 volunteer subjects who applied the product once a day, continuously, for a period of one month. Thus, more research is needed on the subject to confirm such efficacy.

For now, polyglutamic acid still has a relative disadvantage; It is more expensive than hyaluronic. Therefore, brands prefer to market the latter, to have a higher profit margin.

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