Amino acids are the hot buzzwords in skincare at the moment. What are amino acids and why are they finally getting the recognition they deserve?
What are amino acids?
Amino acids are best known as the building blocks of protein molecules and they have a vital role in various bodily processes such as hormone synthesis, tissue growth, energy production, immune function and many more.
There are many types of amino acids but our bodies need 20 of these to function properly. They are classified as either essential amino acids or non-essential amino acids.
- Essential amino acids cannot be produced by our body and must be obtained from food sources. There are 9 essential amino acids needed to maintain good health and they are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
- Non-essential amino acids are produced by our body and are ‘not essential’ to be obtained from external sources. These non-essential amino acids are alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine
Amino acids in skincare
Like the rest of our body, amino acids play a very important role in maintaining healthy skin.
1. Natural moisturisers
Amino acids make up more than half of the skin’s Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF). NMF is a natural protective coat produced by the skin to maintain adequate hydration in the stratum corneum or the outermost layer of the skin. NMF decreases with age and with certain skin conditions such as eczema, leading to dry skin.
Skincare products containing amino acids provide the necessary amino acids to replenish and restore hydration.
|2. Ideal for sensitive skin|
As amino acids are found in our own body or are needed by our skin, it is rare to be allergic or sensitive to them. This makes them ideal skincare ingredients for those who suffer from sensitive skin or eczema.
3. Skin repair and collagen production
Collagen is actually made of various amino acids such as glycine, alanine and glutamate. Supplying the skin with amino acids will aid in collagen production and some amino acids, such as proline, arginine and leucine, also play a role in repairing damaged cells.
4. Caring for damaged hair
Apart from its role in skincare, amino acids play a part in moisturising hair cuticles. Lacklustre and dry hair is a sign of damage due to decreased amounts of amino acids. Shampoos and hair care products with amino acids help to restore this balance and increases the hair’s water holding capacity.
5. Gentle cleansing agents
Amino acids make excellent cleansing agents because they soap well and yet, do not disturb the skin barrier. They are good substitutes for the harsh soaping agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) which strip the skin of its moisture.
Amino acid cleansers help to replenish our skin’s own NMF and maintain the natural pH of skin
THE SKIN PHARMACY is a big believer in the power of amino acids! We have been using them in our skincare, body care and hair care products from day one and we love them for all the reasons above. Look out for fantastic amino acids ingredients in our products: lysine, arginine, threonine, proline, sodium PCA, aspartic acid