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Glutamic Acid

Glutamic Acid

What-it-does: moisturizer/humectant


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 NOAH Fortifying Shampoo For Weak Hair, Strengthen The Scalp Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer Kiku-masamune Sake Emulsion Kikumasamune Skin Care Essence Aussie Deep Treatment 3 Minute Miracle Moist Nacific Glow Intensive Bubble Toner 2Sol Cica Youth Toner Avene Cleansing Foam (Canada) tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask Eucerin Complete Repair Body Lotion 10% Urea Missha Near Skin Moist Lab Emulsion Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads A-Derma Phys-Ac Micellar Water Lather Sea Kelp And Ginseng All Over Mask Leaders Mediu Amino Mousture Mask 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 elf Keep You Balance Toner Cezanne Skin Conditioner High Moist LANEIGE Perfect Renew Regenerator LANEIGE Perfect Renew Skin Refiner IOPE Hyaluronic Emulsion LANEIGE Essential Power Skin Refiner (Sensitive) LANEIGE Power Essential Skin Refiner Moisture LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask Mediheal N.M.F Aquaring Ampoule Mask LANEIGE Perfect Renew Emulsion LANEIGE Perfect Renew Eye Cream Olay Quench Daily Body Lotion Pixi Glow Tonic BONAJOUR Egf Time Recovery Micro Essence Mary Kay Oil Free Hydrating Gel Pond's Clarant B3 Normal To Dry Skin Correcting Cream Pond's Flawless Radiance Derma Night Cream Skintegra Nectar The Beauty Hacks Face Mask Honey Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Glow L'Erbolario Toning Face Cream Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment™ Nakeup Face Ac Herb Mask Foam Balea Konzentrat Flecken L'Erbolario Cleansing Milk For Sensitive Skin Rohto Mentholatum Acnes Vitamin Cream A-Derma Protect Ac - Spf 50+ Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum Boo Bamboo Bamboo Fiber Charcoal Sheet Mask