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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

healthybaby Healthynest Shampoo And Body Wash Avene Cleanance Intense Dermik Serum Nutrivital Kikumasamune Sake Skin Care Lotion Toner Reformulated (2021) Native Hair Care Strengthening Mask Pacifica Clean Shot Vegan Amino Acid 10% Complex Redken Blondage High Bright Pre-Shampoo Treatment SCOUT Cosmetics Nail Polish Remover Aussie Blonde Hydration Purple Conditioner Aussie Miracle Curls Nourishing Conditioner Head & Shoulders Anti Dandruff Scalp Balm Hair Treatment Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Conditioner Head & Shoulders Clinical Dandruff And Dry Scalp Conditioner Head & Shoulders Deep hydration conditioner Herbal Essences Ignite My Color Conditioner Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Skin Care Lotion High Moist Kikumasamune Sake High Moisture Skin Lotion Toner Kikumasamune Sake Skin Care Lotion High Moist Yuzu (Amazon Japan Exclusive) Luxros Advance Eyelash Serum NOAH Fortifying Shampoo For Weak Hair, Strengthen The Scalp NatureLab TOKYO Perfect Shine Oil Mist Pantene Nutrient Blends Rice Conditioner Pantene Pro-v Aqua Light Conditioner Pantene Pro-v Miracles Silky & Glowing Conditioner Pantene Pro-V Grow Strong Hair Conditioner With Biotin And Bamboo Pantene Pro-V Lift 'N' Volume Silicone Free Conditioner Pantene Pro-V Miracles Body & Strength Hair Mask Sebastian professional Sebastian Foundation Hydre Conditioner Terez&Honor Lash Serum VieBeauti Eyelash Serum VieBeauti Eyelash Serum Sérum Pour Les Cils Viktoria Deann Pepti Pro-col Wella Professionals Wella System Professional Color Save Conditioner BIU Timeless Hyaluron Serum Pro Lifting Clairol Brilliant Shine Conditioner Clairol Nice & Easy Colorseal Conditioner Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Conditioner Herbal Essences Mascarilla Hidratante Leche De Coco Herbal Essences Kikumasamune Japanese Sake Skin Care Emulsion Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Skin Care Lotion Bright Moist Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Skin Care Lotion Glossy Moist Kikumasamune Sake Emulsion Kikumasamune Sake Skin Care Cleansing Kikumasamune Sake Skin Care Essence Kikumasamune Skin Care Essence (Old) Kikumasamune Skincare Essence Na5 Native 2in1 Shampoo Sea Salt And Cedar Native Coconut & Vanilla Moisturizing Conditioner Native Cucumber & Mint Volume Conditioner