Polyglutamic acid: the hydrating skincare ingredient that's ideal for dry and dehydrated skin types

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From how it compares to hyaluronic acid to the best products available, here’s everything you need to know.

You will have no doubt heard of the skincare benefits of hyaluronic acid, but what about polyglutamic acid?

Polyglutamic acid is cropping up in more and more skincare launches, thanks to its ultra hydrating properties and is a handy skincare addition for those with dry or dehydrated skin.

Here, Dr Nyla Raja, medical director and founder of Medispa, London, Cheshire & Liverpool, runs through everything you need to know about the up and coming skincare ingredient.

What is polyglutamic acid?

“Polyglutamic acid (PGA) is a powerful water-soluble peptide that is derived from fermented soybeans and naturally occurs in our bodies,” explains Dr Raja.

What are the skincare benefits?

“PGA is one of the most hydrating ingredients and can serve many purposes, from boosting skin elasticity and minimising pigmentation to helping reduce the appearance of fine lines.

“It has incredible water retaining capabilities and is able to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. Plus, it has brilliant skin-sealing qualities, allowing your skin to retain its moisture for much longer than usual. It’s an effective ingredient that will leave skin smooth, plump and radiant.”

Is it more hydrating than hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid, otherwise known as HA, has long been heralded as a hero product for its hydrating prowess, however polyglutamic acid has the ability to hold around 10 times more moisture than hyaluronic acid itself.

“The key difference between polyglutamic acid and hyaluronic acid is that PGA creates a ‘film’ over the skins surface, which prevents the water from evaporating. Hyaluronic acid, however, can still be used with PGA (ideally, before), as it is ideal for hydrating the lower levels of the skin, allowing your skin to retain its moisture on a deeper level. The two work in synergy with one another.

“Ultimately, by combining both hyaluronic and polyglutamic acid within your skin care regime, you’re ensuring that you hydrate the lowest levels of your skin, and ‘seal in’ the upper levels, resulting in maximum hydration. This combination is the perfect solution for tight, dehydrated skin.”

Which skin types should use polyglumatic acid?

“Thanks to its unique capability to seal in moisture, dry or dehydrated skin will benefit from polyglutamic acid – it really is invaluable for rehydrating dry skin and restoring skin’s radiance.”

Which skin types should avoid using it?

“For those with sensitive skin types, I’d always recommend a patch test first.”

Where does it fit into your skincare routine?

“You can apply PGA in the morning or the evening – though personally, I apply it in the morning.”

Here, Dr Nyla explain how to slot PGA into your at-home skincare routine:

Step one: Cleanse your skin, then apply toner and an antioxidant serum.

Step two: Ideally, you would now apply a hyaluronic acid product to allow moisture to reach those deeper levels of your skin.

Step three: Next, apply polyglutamic acid for even higher hydration levels and crucially, seal in all the moisture.

Step four: Sun protection should be used every day – especially if acids are included in your routine. It should always go on last. The only thing you should layer over sunscreen is powder, concealer or foundation.

Best polyglutamic acid skincare products, picked by the Stylist team

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Main image: Getty

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