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Glutamic Acid

Glutamic Acid

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant

Official CosIng Information


Glutamic acid is a little molecule and non-essential (our body can synthesize it) amino acid with the important job of being a neurotransmitter in the human body meaning that it helps your nervous system work correctly. 

As for what it's doing in cosmetics, Glutamic acids' main thing (similar to other amino acids) is being a humectant moisturizer and skin-conditioning agent (sidenote: if you attach lots of glutamic acid molecules, you get polyglutamic acid that is claimed to be a better than hyaluronic acid humectant). It also seems to affect skin barrier repair, however, it is not clear-cut in which direction.

The complication is that glutamic acid has two distinct forms, L-glutamic acid and D-glutamic acid, that are the mirror images of each other (think of it like your left and right hand). Studies show that a topical application of L-glutamic acid on damaged skin delayed skin repair, while D-glutamic acid application sped up skin repair. As both forms are used by the industry, it is a bit uncertain what you are getting with just glutamic acid on the ingredient list (but if it is a  Shiseido group product, it is probably the goodie D-form :)). 

Other than that, Glutamic acid can also be used as a pH adjuster and can be processed via biological pathways into pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, the sodium salt of which is a goodie and one of your skin’s natural moisturizing factors.

Show me some proof

  • Denda, Mitsuhiro, Shigeyoshi Fuziwara, and Kaori Inoue. 2003. “Influx of Calcium and Chloride Ions into Epidermal Keratinocytes Regulates Exocytosis of Epidermal Lamellar Bodies and Skin Permeability Barrier Homeostasis.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 121 (2): 362–67.
  • Fuziwara, Shigeyoshi, Kaori Inoue, and Mitsuhiro Denda. 2003. “NMDA-Type Glutamate Receptor Is Associated with Cutaneous Barrier Homeostasis.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 120 (6): 1023–29.
  • Kumar, Akhilesh, and Anand K. Bachhawat. 2012. “Pyroglutamic Acid: Throwing Light on a Lightly Studied Metabolite.” Current Science 102 (2): 288–97.

Products with Glutamic Acid

Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Skin Care Lotion High Moist Kikumasamune Sake High Moisture Skin Lotion Toner NOAH Fortifying Shampoo For Weak Hair, Strengthen The Scalp Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Skin Care Lotion Bright Moist Kikumasamune Sake Emulsion Kikumasamune Skin Care Essence Pantene Pro V Blends Micellar Conditioner Wella Professionals Vibrant Color Mask Aussie Deep Treatment 3 Minute Miracle Moist DMK Foamy Lift Tightening Facial Mask LANEIGE Essential Power Skin Refiner - Light LANEIGE Essential Power Skin Toner For Normal To Dry Skin Pantene Rescue Shots Hair Ampoules Aussie Paraben-Free Miracle Moist Conditioner For Dry Hair, Avocado & Jojoba Celimax The Real Noni Moisture Balancing Toner Kikumasamune Japanese Sake Cream Nacific Glow Intensive Bubble Toner 2Sol Cica Youth Toner Aqulabo Mask Boosting Jelly Mist Aqulabo Mask Boosting Jelly Mist Avene Cleansing Foam (Canada) L'Oreal Eyelash Serum With Lash Caring Complex Lynia Tonik Żelowy Cera Wrażliwa, Naczynkowa Malie Royal Jelly Ultra Hydrating Essence Mask Malie Snail Ultra Hydrating Essence Mask Nature Lab Tokyo Smooth Conditioner NatureLab TOKYO Perfect Smooth Shampoo tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask Bathe to Basics Basic Shampoo Mild Eucerin Complete Repair Body Lotion 10% Urea L'Erbolario Aromatic Linden Flower Water Lynia Tonik Żelowy Anti-Aging Lynia Tonik Żelowy Nawilżający Z Mocznikiem Milbon Jemile Fran Melty Butter Balm Missha Near Skin Moist Lab Emulsion Nature Lab Tokyo Perfect Volume Shampoo NatureLab TOKYO Perfect Repair Masque Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads Vaseline Healthy Even Tone Lotion A-Derma Phys-Ac Micellar Water Cezzane Skin Conditioner Delia Cosmetics Intenseli Moistuirizing Day And Night Cream L300 3in1 Micellar Cleansing Water Matrix Biolage Advanced Keratindose Pro-Keratin Renewal Spray Shine Skincare Co Youth Serum - Peptide Serum Swissvita Skin Regenerating Vital Essence A-Derma Phys-Ac Purifying Cleansing Gel Cezanne Skin Conditioner (Blue) Isntree Sensitive Balancing Thermal Toner