Is Polyglutamic Acid Just Another New Skincare Buzzword Or Is It Here To Stay?

Polyglutamic Acid serum

It’s not surprising anymore that every few months we hear of a new ingredient that becomes the current hot favourite in the world of skincare, is it? But when it comes to polyglutamic acid, or PGA, we suggest you stop whatever else it is you’re doing and pay attention. You’ll thank us later!

While the knowledge of polyglutamic acid has been around for more than 75 years, researchers are continuing to explore and unlock its many potential benefits. It’s only in the recent past that PGA has made serious headway into skincare products globally.

So, What Is Polyglutamic Acid?

Polyglutamic Acid is a natural polymer that is synthesised by the microbial fermentation of bacteria and is derived from fermented soybeans. (Interestingly, it is also found in the traditional Japanese dish natto, made of fermented soybeans.) “It is a water-soluble peptide that is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for the skin,” says Dr Kiran Sethi, MD Skin & aesthetic specialist, founder of Isya Aesthetics.

Polyglutamic Acid Cream

“PGA can be considered a protein that has humectant properties. It basically draws water from the atmosphere and holds it in the skin, improving hydration levels,” says Dr Madhuri Agarwal, founder and medical director of Yavana Skin Aesthetics.

Benefits Of PGA

Moisturising: Just like other humectants such as hyaluronic acid (HA) and glycerin, the key benefit of polyglutamic acid is moisturised skin, which it achieves by drawing and locking water in the skin, thus, plumping it up and adding elasticity. So, you can say goodbye to dull, dry skin!

Anti-ageing: PGA helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sagging skin and other signs of ageing. Here’s how: the skin’s ageing process involves the loss of hyaluronic acid, which is broken down by an enzyme called hyaluronidase. PGA is said to slow down this destructive action of hyaluronidase, thereby retaining more hyaluronic acid in the skin resulting in a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance.

Treat Covid skin: If you’re dealing with ‘Covid skin’ which is lacklustre, tired, dull skin and lockdown-induced lines and wrinkles, it’s time to give this one a try and get back the suppleness your skin once had.

Helps wound healing: It has also been used for wound healing to keep the skin moist while it heals.

Polyglutamic Acid Vs. Hyaluronic Acid

Studies have shown that polyglutamic acid has a stronger moisturising effect as compared to hyaluronic acid and collagen. A hydration powerhouse, it can hold up to 5 times more moisture than hyaluronic acid, which is a lot considering HA can bind up to 1,000 times its weight in water!
But this is not an either-or situation, as both polyglutamic acid and hyaluronic acid can benefit your skin in different ways. “Polyglutamic acid and hyaluronic acid are different as PGA is a larger molecule and sits on top of the skin. PGA is not a naturally inherent part of our skin, unlike HA. It can be used along with HA to augment the hydration and moisture levels of the skin,” shares Dr Madhuri.

PGA In Skincare Routines

It is not a replacement for hyaluronic acid and can, in fact, be a great addition to one’s skincare routine, reiterates Dr Kiran. “I would use PGA once a day and an HA product once a day as well, and make sure I use a heavy moisturizer on top to bind the water that is attracted to the PGA and HA in the skin so it doesn’t seep out. The idea is to use a barrier-enhancing moisturizer on top of that super strong humectant,” she says.

Polyglutamic acid can be applied to the skin in the form of serums, moisturizers, face washes and more that carry this ingredient. It is advisable though, to apply PGA on damp skin so it can work well to hold water inside the skin.
While PGA can work well on its own with the right formulation, Dr Madhuri suggests using it in conjunction with other ingredients for better efficacy and results. “You can safely use it with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acid (BHA), HA and vitamin C. It works well with water-based products,” she says.

Does It Work For All Skin Types?

A great feature about PGA is that it can be used for all skin types including oily skin types, as it helps with hydration, but it is especially beneficial for dry, dehydrated skin types owing to its moisture-holding capability. So far, no real side effects have been reported when it comes to PGA, but Dr Kiran cautions against using it if you are allergic to soybeans. Sure, there is significantly more data and studies on hyaluronic acid as compared to PGA. But all the experts concur that PGA is undoubtedly an excellent moisturiser. Whether it lives up to its claims of being an antioxidant and anti-ageing force to reckon with, we’ll wait and see.

Polyglutamic Acid Products You Can Try

The Indian skincare market has seen the launch of a number of PGA products already, with more soon to hit shelves. Here are a few you can get your hands on:

1. The INKEY List Polyglutamic Acid Serum

A cult fave of many skincare enthusiasts, this fast-absorbing serum is the perfect starter pick for anyone trying the ingredient for the first time.

2. Kaya Seaweed & Polyglutamic Acid, Skin Hydrating Night Mask


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A light and refreshing facial gel with anti-ageing and hydrating properties, it also contains gamma polyglutamic acid that helps to increase the skin’s NMF (natural moisturizing factor) or moisture-holding capacity. 

3. Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir

This serum contains PGA and vitamin C for youthful-looking, hydrated skin. It helps tighten pores, even out skin tone, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Rejusure Polyglutamic Acid Facial Serum


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Designed to help target dry and dehydrated skin, this serum promises to replenish the skin’s moisture. It helps reduce the appearance of pores and wrinkles.

Photos: Instagram

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