What are Amino Acids? What Do They Do and What are the Benefits
Let’s address the elephant in the room: we know the word “acid” sounds scary. The first thing that comes to mind is probably a bubbly concoction from chemistry class that your teacher warned you could burn your skin. We get it - acids have a bad rep in the beauty industry and beyond. But today we’d like to try to change your mind about one specific group of acids known as amino acids. When it comes to skincare, amino acids are rockstars. And you wouldn’t want to miss out on something that could have amazing benefits for your skin, would you? Keep
reading to discover all there is to know about amino acids, including what they do and how they can improve your already-gorgeous complexion.
What are amino acids?
With all the trendy skincare ingredients out there, it can be difficult to know what’s worth paying attention to. But we promise, amino acids aren’t just a fad, they are here to stay. To understand why amino acids are actually good for your skin, let’s first delve into what they are. Chemically speaking, amino acids are organic compounds that contain four key elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. These acids are typically split into two groups: essential and
non-essential. There are nine essential amino acids and they are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Essential amino acids are derived from food or supplements, whereas non-essential amino acids are produced naturally by your body (hence the name “non-essential,” meaning it isn’t essential that you get them from
outside sources since your body already makes them). The 11 non-essential amino acids are:alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. Now that you know the different categories of amino acids, let’s dive into how they can benefit your skin.
How do amino acids benefit your skin?
Does smooth, plump, and hydrated skin sound enticing? Well that’s exactly what you’ll get with amino acids. As mentioned above, certain amino acids are already present in our bodies. In fact, some are found in the skin’s outermost layers, ensuring our skin stays hydrated. What a boost of amino acids can do, such as through a serum or moisturiser that contains them, is add even more moisture to the skin. The result is a balanced complexion that is able to maintain its
smoothness and hydration. If you’re still not sold, then just wait until you hear about some of the lesser known skin benefits of amino acids. Certain amino acids actually function like antioxidants, protecting your skin against free radicals which can damage the skin. They have also been known to help skin produce more of its antioxidants, like glutathione. Ultimately, topically applying products with amino acids to your skin is a great way to improve your skin’s protective barrier, hydrate the skin, and combat signs of aging.
The best amino acids for your skin: Now that you know the truly awesome benefits amino acids can have on your skin, it’s time to start adding them to your skincare routine. But in order to do so, you need to know which specific amino acids to look for on product labels. A few of our favourite amino acids include arginine (helps repair skin damage), histidine (known for its antioxidant and soothing properties), lysine (helps firm the skin), and proline, leucine, and
glycine (they all reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles).