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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 Emulsion Kikumasamune Skin Care Essence Wella Professionals Vibrant Color Mask Aussie Deep Treatment 3 Minute Miracle Moist LANEIGE Essential Power Skin Refiner - Light LANEIGE Essential Power Skin Toner For Normal To Dry Skin Nacific Glow Intensive Bubble Toner 2Sol Cica Youth Toner Aqulabo Mask Boosting Jelly Mist Avene Cleansing Foam (Canada) L'Oreal Eyelash Serum With Lash Caring Complex Malie Snail Ultra Hydrating Essence Mask Nature Lab Tokyo Smooth Conditioner tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask Eucerin Complete Repair Body Lotion 10% Urea L'Erbolario Aromatic Linden Flower Water Missha Near Skin Moist Lab Emulsion Nature Lab Tokyo Perfect Volume Shampoo Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads Vaseline Healthy Even Tone Lotion A-Derma Phys-Ac Micellar Water L300 3in1 Micellar Cleansing Water Shine Skincare Co Youth Serum - Peptide Serum Swissvita Skin Regenerating Vital Essence Cezanne Skin Conditioner (Blue) Isntree Sensitive Balancing Thermal Toner L'Oreal Professionnel Serioxyl Thicker Hair Serum Lather Sea Kelp And Ginseng All Over Mask Leaders Mediu Amino Mousture Mask Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Eye Cream Etude House Cica Balance 5.5 Gel Cleanser Ishizawa Mochitto Awadate-Irazu (Face Wash Without Bubbling) Le Mieux Vita-C Serum Mediheal N.M.F Aquaring Ampoule Mask Ex Peter Thomas Roth Unisex Neuroliquid Volufill Youth Serum e.l.f. Keep You Balance Toner Aflofarm Nivelium Balsam Emoliencyjny Do Skóry Atopowej, Łuszczącej Się (Emollient Balm For Atopic And Flaky Skin) Bravura London Revitalising Ginseng Toner With Glycolic Acid 5% Cezanne Skin Conditioner High Moist Derma Elravie Ferment Honeybush Innerset Ampoule Jung Saem Mool Minifying Boosting Toner LANEIGE Perfect Renew Regenerator LANEIGE Perfect Renew Skin Refiner Leaders Amino Lifting Mask SiO Energy Serum Rapid Moisture Drop Serum IOPE Hyaluronic Emulsion