The new acid on the block


GAME CHANGER? Polyglutamic acid, derived from soybeans, is five times more powerful than beauty-industry darling, hyaluronic acid.

Maggie Gibbons

Every time I think I’ve found that elusive skincare ingredient, the one that will skim years off the face, up pops another, promising the most glowing, plumped-up, hydrated skin ever. This time the new kid on the block is polyglutamic acid, or PGA for short, a hydration powerhouse that’s supposed to be five times more hydrating than hyaluronic acid.
It’s promising to be a game changer. Until now, hyaluronic acid was the buzz word, and always recommended for hydration. Well, move over and enter PGA! I’m telling you about it now, but, trust me, you will be hearing about it everywhere very soon. Serums, moisturisers and night creams will all contain this super-powered ingredient.
I decided to find out more about it,  so did a bit of research,
Prior to this PGA was primarily used for tissue repair and healing wounds, it offered great success in this area, so much so, that it was eventually included in skincare products. It increases hydration, its main benefit being it can draw moisture to the skin and trap it in.
It is also claimed to minimise fine lines – imagine a sultana soaked in water, you visually see it plumping. PGA is offering the same result on your face. We’d all like a bit of that! And the great thing is, it suits all skin types and can be used in conjunction with retinol, vitamin C etc. (Like always, though if you have sensitive skin, do a patch test first.)
Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, while PGA is not – it’s actually a byproduct of fermenting soybeans. It’s also able to hold up to 5,000 times its own molecular weight in water. One scientist (Dr Monica Li, University of British Columbia) has actually suggested that you should use HA and PGA together for superb effectiveness.
Polyglutamic acid can be applied to the skin in the form of serums, moisturisers, face washes and more. It is advisable though, to apply PGA on damp skin so it can work well to hold water inside the skin.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Serum Crystal Elixir has PGA listed among the ingredients. The problem is, it’s so far down the list I feel the amount of PGA is negligible. If you’re looking for a specific ingredient in a product, check where it appears in the list. The further down it is, the less you can expect. If it’s included in the top half of the ingredients list, it’s one of the main actives. Still, if you’re one of those who worships at the Charlotte shrine, it’s a lovely product – though pricey at €75.
The Inkey List, is another fantastic brand; well priced, with no big fuss or fancy packaging, it delivers. Again, PGA is a little far down the list – I feel, though, with its increasing popularity this will change and you will begin to see a higher amount included. Goldens Chemist in Westport stock it at €15.99. Chat to one of the girls about this range; there are numerous great products.
More and more products containing this ‘miracle’ ingredient will be popping up on beauty shelves all over the land... Keep an eye out for it and give it a try!

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at