We all want to treat our skin with the most innovative products containing best-in-class ingredients. With skincare, research is ongoing and there’s so much to keep up with. A trending ingredient that we are hearing more about these days is polyglutamic acid. It’s not a new discovery—this polypeptide has been around for many years but there is a lot of buzz about it recently. Research is showing it has numerous benefits in skincare and similar properties to hyaluronic acid and glycerin. But is it better than hyaluronic acid? Should you incorporate it into your skincare routine? Let’s take a closer look at polyglutamic acid and what benefits it can bring to our skincare regimens.

What Is Polyglutamic Acid?

Polyglutamic acid is a polypeptide that naturally occurs in our bodies and it’s often referred to as PGA. Polypeptides are proteins that are made up of many strings of amino acids. Outside the naturally occurring PGA in our bodies, polyglutamic acid is derived from a bacteria that is produced by fermented soybeans. Fermented ingredients are also trendy in skincare but this is not a fermented ingredient—it’s simply a byproduct of a fermentation process. Also, it’s not just an ingredient that is beneficial in the cosmetic world of skincare. PGA has other benefits such as wound healing and drug delivery properties. It’s a versatile, water-soluble, and nontoxic substance with active research occurring in multiple spaces.

How Does Polyglutamic Acid Benefit Your Skin?

Polyglutamic acid is an outstanding performer when it comes to hydration. This substance can hold 5000 times its weight in water and is a more powerful humectant than hyaluronic acid. It is capable of attracting more moisture than hyaluronic acid. The more hydrated our skin, the more elastic it is. This makes PGA an excellent anti-aging ingredient as it keeps our skin plump and smooth. Another interesting skin benefit that is turning up in research is polyglutamic acid’s ability to inhibit our body from breaking down its natural hyaluronic acid. PGA also provides wound-healing benefits due to its ability to retain moisture and has been used for wound healing and adhesives for many years. 

Comparing Polyglutamic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid

The question many skincare lovers are asking is: Is polyglutamic acid better than hyaluronic acid? The research is ongoing but it’s certainly an ingredient that is gaining popularity and appearing in more skincare products. Hyaluronic acid is well known for its ability to attract and retain water. This is what makes it a hero hydrator. But polyglutamic acid holds five times more moisture than hyaluronic acid. This may seem like a big difference, but what does it really boil down to?

Hyaluronic acid performs differently as a hydrator because there are different sized hyaluronic acid molecules. The smaller the molecule, the better it can be absorbed by our skin. PGA is a larger molecule that can’t be absorbed by our skin so it remains on the surface. This isn’t necessarily a negative quality, though. PGA forms a film on the surface of our skin and keeps it looking glassy and plump. In my opinion, the different properties don’t necessarily make one ingredient better than the other in skincare products. The reality is the two combined could be a powerful skincare duo.  

Incorporating Polyglutamic Acid into your Skincare Routine

Polyglutamic acid can be used twice daily and there are minimal side effects. Given the fact that it remains on the surface of our skin, it is best used as one of the last steps in a comprehensive skincare routine. The PGA acts like a seal as it forms a film on the surface of our skin. Remember, the final step of every skincare routine should always be sunscreen! For people with sensitive skin, it is always recommended to test a new product or ingredient on a small patch of skin first. 

Product Recommendations that Contain Polyglutamic Acid

There is a huge selection of incredible skincare products that contain polyglutamic acid. To help you narrow down some options to consider, I have some recommendations for products that contain this up-and-coming ingredient. Whether it’s serums, mists, or masks that you are looking for, there’s a product for you. 

Mediheal N.M.F Intensive Hydrating Beauty Mask 

I absolutely love face masks and this mask from Mediheal is ranked as Korea’s number 1 sheet mask. It offers long-lasting hydration with a tightening and lifting effect. This mask sits perfectly on your skin for an even application of ingredients. It’s recommended to wear it for 10-15 minutes. The N.M.F. mask contains both hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid so it’s an opportunity to reap the benefits of both of these incredible hydrators. This product is available in a package with 5 sheet masks or you can buy individual masks for a few dollars. Another intensely hydrating mask to consider from Mediheal is the Line Friends N.M.F. Aquaring Ampoule Beauty Mask. This is a cellulose sheet mask and it also contains PGA. 

It's Skin Power 10 Formula VE Effector with Vitamin E Derivatives 

If it’s a serum you’re looking for, It’s Skin offers several with polyglutamic acid. The vitamin E in the Power 10 Formula VE Effector is nourishing for your skin and the serum also contains skin-soothing ingredients to help with redness. Polyglutamic acid seals in the nourishing ingredients in the serum and offers an extra boost of hydration. 

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel Mist 

This is a great product to consider that contains polyglutamic acid and it’s easy to incorporate into your skincare routine. Simply spray the Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel Mist on your skin and you can use it on your hands, face, arms, and legs. This product provides soothing relief for irritated skin and is deeply moisturizing. This gel mist is 92% aloe vera and made with certified organic aloe.  

Elizavecca Moisture Hyaluronic Acid Memory Cream

This Moisture Hyaluronic Acid Memory Cream from Elizavecca contains adenosine to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles but it’s also formulated with a combination of both hyaluronic and polyglutamic acid. Fans rave about the texture, soothing application, and beautiful results they see after using this moisturizing cream. It’s not greasy and leaves the skin baby soft. Another favorite from Elizavecca is their Green Piggy Collagen Jelly Pack. And yes, this product also contains polyglutamic acid! It is formulated with a blend of organic ingredients that promote baby soft skin. 

Missha Time Revolution Red Algae Revitalizing Serum

If it's an innovation you are looking for in skincare, this is definitely a product to consider. The Time Revolution Red Algae Revitalizing Serum was released from Missha, a Korean beauty cult-favorite brand, in early 2021. It is fermented for 100 days and contains a concentrated form of red algae that replenishes skin and is a powerful antioxidant. The serum is hydrating, firming, and brightening and leaves skin with a radiant dewy finish. Thanks to polyglutamic acid, all the goodness in this serum is sealed into your skin and fans love the glassy finish this serum gives to their skin. 

While I’ve recommended a few products with polyglutamic acid, there are so many others to discover and try. Now that you know everything about PGA, you can easily incorporate it into your skincare regimen. I look at it as an easy way of leveling up my daily routine, so give it a try if you want to get more out of your routine too!