What is Polyglutamic Acid?
Polyglutamic acid, a water-soluble peptide that is derived from fermented soybeans. It is a versatile ingredient and serves many purposes as it is edible, water-soluble, non-toxic, and biodegradable.
Studies show polyglutamic acid is produced by several types of bacillus bacteria through the fermentation process and is made of strands of the amino acid glutamic acid.(1)
The properties of Polyglutamic acid are similar to other moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerine. It helps draw moisture from the atmosphere to the skin.
Polyglutamic acid is a polypeptide and has many beneficial properties such as:
- Environmental friendliness
It is also used for water treatment, delivering medications, and moisturizing skin. It is found in traditional Japanese food that is made from soybean called natto.
Polyglutamic acid acts as humectants, a substance that pulls moisture from the air into the skin. Some popular humectants used for skin care are:
- Alpha-hydroxy acids
- Salicylic acid
- Hyaluronic acid
Skin Health Benefits of Polyglutamic Acid
Here are a few specific ways in which polyglutamic acid can benefit the skin.
1. Moisturizes Skin
The major benefit of polyglutamic acid for skin is its humectants property. It helps in keeping the skin moist by drawing moisture from the air into the upper layers of the skin.
A review of research found that polyglutamic acid can increase the production of certain moisturizing factors in the skin that are naturally produced by it.(2) The factors include:
- Carboxylic acid
- Lactic acid
- Urocanic acid
These help in keeping the skin hydrated by locking moisture.
2. Reduces Wrinkle
As polyglutamic acid keeps the skin hydrated, it may help reduce wrinkles as well.
Dry skin has a tendency to shrivel and make wrinkles and fine lines more visible.
Polyglutamic acid has more moisturizing effects than hyaluronic acid.(1)
Hyaluronic acid is known to reduce the effects of wrinkles by improving skin hydration and stimulating the production of collagen and elastin.(3) Collagen and elastin are known to improve the elastic property of the skin.
3. Reduces Signs of Aging
By keeping the skin hydrated polyglutamic acid help in reducing the effects of aging i.e. the dry and sagging skin.
Polyglutamic acid may also inhibit the enzyme hyaluronidase that is known to break down hyaluronic acid.(4)
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance that helps the skin in retaining moisture.
4. Wound Healing
A study shows, polyglutamic acid has wound healing properties. It can help speed up the healing process.(5)
The study was done on animals and more human research is required to understand its purpose.
Risk and Side Effects of Polyglutamic Acid
Polyglutamic acid is mostly safe, but you need to be careful whenever adding a new substance to your skincare regime.
There is a possibility of developing an allergic reaction to polyglutamic acid or other ingredients in the product.
The signs of allergy include:
- Dry and scaly skin
- Redness of skin and discoloration
If using polyglutamic acid for the first time apply it in a small area like a patch test. Wait for 24 hours to check whether there is an allergic reaction.
If you get any signs of allergy do not use the product.
Uses of Polyglutamic Acid
Polyglutamic acid can be obtained in various forms.
To hydrate the skin, there are available in topical forms. Oral polyglutamic acid has other medical uses not related to the skin.
- Polyglutamic Acid Serum: It can be applied to the skin twice a day to keep it hydrated.
- Polyglutamic Acid, Creams, Lotions, and Gels: Polyglutamic acid available in these forms targets the face and area around the eyes. It is often combined with other ingredients to reduce the effects of aging.
- Polyglutamic Acid Supplements: These supplements are not meant to improve the skin condition but may help prevent osteoporosis.(6)
Polyglutamic acid has similar properties to other humectants used in cosmetic products. It can be used alone or can be combined with other ingredients to reduce the effects of aging and keeping the skin hydrated.