Polyglutamic acid OR Hyaluronic acid? In simple terms…

Polyglutamic acid is advertised as holding 4-10 times more weight in water than hyaluronic acid! We try our best to break it down simply & explain - so you can make the right choice.

In very simple terms they are both water absorbing/retaining ingredients (humectant). However they work slightly differently.

Hyaluronic acid

…is naturally made in your body and skin cells and its main function is to keep your cells moist & lubricated. It has a key role in tissue regeneration & inflammation. It’s therefore seen as playing a positive role in wound repair/ healing and wrinkles. In skincare it is cheaper to source than Polyglutamic acid and since the molecule is smaller, hydration can be felt deeper in the skin.

Fun fact: Hyaluronic acid has vegan and animal sources – thankfully vegan is quite popular now but more expensive (a commonly used and more economical option involves extractions from chicken cartilege and rooster combs!). Hyaluronic acid combines with water and swells to form a goo like gel, making it useful in skin treatments as a dermal filler for facial wrinkles.

Polyglutamic acid (PGA)

…on the other hand is a polymer (think of a large molecule put together) of the amino acid ‘glutamic acid (GA)’ which is produced in the body – GA doesn’t need to be taken in our diets – and is used in the biosynthesis of proteins (basically helps make proteins in the body) and is also a neurotransmitter (signaling molecule between cells).

Polyglutamic acid itself is good at taking up & retaining moisture and can inhibit the growth of some bacteria. In the skincare industry it’s being used for its humectant properties. It is however a larger molecule than hyaluronic acid and therefore can be seen as occlusive (cover the top of skin to prevent moisture leaving). So as many are rightfully saying, it can have synergistic effects with hyaluronic acid (works well together) if used at the end of your routine.

Fun fact: A form of PGA is found in the Japanese food natto and is formed by bacterial fermentation. Not entirely random but MSG (Monosodium Glutamate – naturally occurs in some foods – used as a flavour enhancer) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid!

Check out our free 10 step Korean Skincare Guide here (psst.. there is a secret 10% off coupon for our engaged readers only!).

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