This Buzzy Skin Care Ingredient Is 4x More Hydrating Than Hyaluronic Acid

polyglutamic acid

No matter what type of skin you have, your skin care regimen probably contains products that are designed to hydrate the skin. And one of the most universally beloved ingredients for doing this is hyaluronic acid. In fact, we’ve never met a dermatologist who doesn't recommend using a serum or cream formulated with this stuff. But one thing to love about the beauty industry is its innovation, and with constant scientific breakthroughs come powerful new ingredients. Enter: polyglutamic acid.

Often shortened to PGA, polyglutamic acid is a water-soluble peptide (a long chain of amino acids) that is naturally found in skin cells and acts as a hydrating agent by locking in moisture. “PGA is proven to lock in moisture 4x more effectively than its better-known cousin, hyaluronic acid,” says Mark Curry, co-founder of The Inkey List

And while we’ve heard it described as “the next hyaluronic acid,” that’s not quite true. Locking is the keyword here because PGA is not actually intended to replace your HA, but rather complement it.“Hyaluronic acid is strictly a humectant, which means that it acts like a sponge to pull hydration into the skin,” explains Josh Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Polyglutamic acid has both humectant and occlusive properties, and it works to form a protective seal over the surface of the skin.”

So the best way to apply a product with PGA is right on top of your hyaluronic acid serum. Or, of course, look for a product that is formulated with both. “PGA amplifies all the amazing benefits of hyaluronic acid,” Curry says, which we know to be hydrating, plumping, smoothing, and glow-boosting. And it's beneficial no matter your age, race, gender or skin type, he adds. 

Below, some powerful new products with polyglutamic acid to add to your skin care regimen.

polyglutamic acid

The Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid ($15;

The Inkey List's roster of serious ingredients at incredible affordable, democratic prices (of course) includes polyglutamic acid, which the brand calls a “next-generation hydrator.” PGA nourishes the skin's outer layer to lock in moisture and elasticity. Finally, the addition of two percent InvisaSkin acts as a water-soluble barrier to keep moisture and active ingredients locked in.

polyglutamic acid

Then I Met You The Giving Essence ($50;

The cult-favorite brand founded by Charlotte Cho (also the founder of Sokoglam) just launched its second two products, including this multitasking essence. It contains a blend of antioxidant-rich red algae and berries, brightening ellagic acid, and of course, the hero of this story, polyglutamic acid, which helps skin retain 5000x its weight in water.

polyglutamic acid

Kate Somerville DermalQuench Wrinkle Warrior ($98;

Harnessing the synergistic powers of polyglutamic acid and hyaluronic acid, this unique product (it sprays on!) combines three sizes of hyaluronic acid with polyglutamic acid for instant plumping and hydrating results.

polyglutamic acid

Zelens Z Melatonin Serum ($220;

This intensive night serum is meant to enhance the skin's naturally occurring overnight repair processes. It does so with a truly impressive, long list of notable ingredients including (but certainly not limited to) polyglutamic acid and melatonin, which is not just an ingestible but also a potent topical antioxidant.

Neocutis Hyalis+ ($120;

Formulated with multiple types of sodium hyaluronate, this intensely hydrating serum also has PGA to seal the deal. The result? Skin that looks instantly refreshed. It's also recommended sooth skin after treatments like lasers or peels.

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We often receive complimentary products for review at Glam. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a share of the revenue from our affiliate partners.

"We often receive complimentary products to review at Glam. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a share of the revenue from our affiliate partners."