Nothing on mother Earth can exist without protein, which is made up of amino acids. And this is why these compounds are the basis of life. It’s truly worth talking about: from counting the number of their types to finding out what they actually do.
It is our greatest mission to tell you all about the science of great skincare. Amino acids skin benefits start from being a foundation for the youthfulness of the skin. And we shouldn’t take them for granted for the reasons we are going to talk about in this post.
But first, what are amino acids for skin?
You may think to yourself: Every day a new name hits the shelves of beauty stores, should I even bother learning about it? But that’s not the case for amino acids.
Amino acids in skincare are not a new buzzword around the block, they have been in our bodies since the human race evolved. Simply put, amino acids are organic compounds that makeup proteins. They are the building blocks of all proteins. And they make up 70% of the body!
To build up proteins, the human body uses 20 amino acids linked into chains in a specific sequence, forming different protein structures. Pretty cool, huh?
By the way, a more popular name – peptides is also a chain of amino acids. They have short chains of two or more amino acids.
Amino Acids fall into two categories: Essential and Non-essential
Your body naturally produces non-essential amino acids and they don’t need to come from the food you consume. Out of 20 amino acids, 11 are non-essential, while 9 of them are considered essential.
Here are some non-essential amino acids:
Arginine is a partially nonessential amino acid, it boosts the healing process, it is necessary for the protection of cells.
Glycine promotes the healing of wounds and injuries.
Proline, along with glycine and leucine, is essential for collagen synthesis.
Serine is important for the formation of cell membranes and indirectly participates in the formation of new collagen.
Tyrosine works as a conductor and controls the process of protein formation.
By contrast, the essential amino acids – you guessed it – come from the food you eat and they are not produced by our bodies.
So, you can get healthy amounts of amino acids from animal-based foods such as eggs, beef, chicken, milk, fish, and plant-based sources such as nuts, grains, and beans.
Some essential amino acids explained:
Histidine is an antioxidant, that neutralizes free radicals, protects against damage from UV rays.
Lysine helps to moisturize the skin, participates in collagen synthesis.
Methionine neutralizes free radicals, slows down the aging process.
Threonine plays a major role in the formation of collagen and elastin.
Phenylalanine is a direct participant in the synthesis of many protein structures.
DO NOT underestimate the importance of one type of amino acid and exaggerate the importance of the other: your body needs both groups equally as a whole and the skin in particular.
At least 10 amino acids play an important role in skincare ingredients.
What do amino acids do exactly?
There is a simple answer to that question too! As your age progresses, protein synthesis slows down, there are a variety of changes in protein structures in the body. Visually, this manifests itself in the loss of skin elasticity, its firmness, and the appearance of wrinkles.
This is why amino acid complexes are popular in anti-aging skincare and beauty treatments to stimulate the synthesis of proteins in the skin. Hence the rejuvenating factor. The most essential amino acid skin benefits are directly related to these proteins.
As for the skin, the most important protein compounds are:
Collagen and Elastin, form the inner skeleton of the skin and are responsible for the skin’s plumpness and elasticity.
Keratin, of which the stratum corneum (the outer layer of the skin – epidermis) of the skin and hair is made.
What are amino acids skin benefits?
#1. They hydrate the skin
One of the upsides of amino acids in skincare is related to the small size of their molecules. This allows them to penetrate deeply and work their way down to deeper layers of the skin.
Therefore, it particularly comes in handy for dry and sensitive skin. If you have dry skin, using a moisturizer packed with amino acids will be a great asset to your skincare regimen. At the same time, all skin types can equally enjoy amino acids skin benefits.
#2. They restore skin barrier
Your skin barrier is your shield against the daily bacteria, pollution, and other environmental hazards.
It gets weakened for many reasons, from exposing yourself to UV light to over-exfoliating. Amino acids help the skin rebuild its skin barrier by strengthening it.
#3. Amino acids promote healing
You might say there are a lot of duties assigned to amino acids for skin. Amino acids play an important role in healing damaged skin. They promote wound healing and tissue regeneration. (for injuries, sunburns)
#4. They fight against UV lights
Sun damage is the number one reason behind premature aging or photoaging in general. It is no secret that UV radiation can lead to dark spots, wrinkles, in some serious cases, cancer.
Amino acids can reverse these complications. As the sun affects us all year round, you have to wear daily SPF 30 (at least).
#5. They smoothe out fine lines
Just like we pointed out, wrinkles and fine lines can become more visible when sun damage is done. Because amino acids are able to reverse this damage, they are widely used in anti-aging skincare products. This one is probably the most fundamental one among other amino acids skin benefits.
#6. Amino acids stimulate collagen production
As mentioned before, they stimulate the skin’s natural ability to produce collagen which is a must for youthful skin. For example, in the form of peptides, they promote cellular repair and do all the skin repairing work.
#7. Amino acids act as antioxidants
They act against free radicals, which is dangerous for overall health as they destabilize the way molecules work. Using amino acids in skincare makes sure we stop the possible damage they can cause.
Although it seems like the skin benefits of amino acids just don’t seem to end, these are the main ones you need to know about.
How to include amino acids in your skincare routine?
With products emerging on a daily basis, (literally) it is really frustrating to pick the right product. With that said, it is the best way to enjoy amino acids skin benefits.
Skincare products with amino acids come in different forms; cleansers, serums, moisturizers, you name it. Using them will definitely give your skin the boost that it needs, especially if you have dry/sensitive skin.
These products are mainly anti-aging products that aim to boost collagen production on the skin. The best place to start using amino acids would probably be facial creams and serums.
You can mix them with peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides for better results. Doing that will double amino acid skin benefits since amino acids basically make other products work even harder.
Look for these ingredients when you choose a skincare product with amino acids:
- arginine – will help repair the skin damage;
- lysine – will firm the skin;
- histidine – will provide some antioxidant benefits
- glycine – will help the skin rapir its elasticity
- leucine – will help by maing wrinkles less visible
Are there any side effects of using amino acids in skincare?
Now, we have talked about the main benefits of amino acids in skincare plenty. But are they good for your skin only? Generally speaking, most diets provide safe amounts of amino acids.
Since they are produced naturally by the body, they only have benefits to your health. When there is too much amino acid in the body, bloating or abdominal pain can reveal itself. Talk to your doctor if your diet is very high in protein.
However, if your skin is sensitive some allergies can occur when you use amino acids with fragrances or other allergy-causing ingredients. But you can certainly consult with your dermatologist just to be extra cautious.
How soon can I expect the result of using amino acids in skincare?
It depends on many factors like how damaged your skin is, or what your skincare routine includes. One study revealed that after using a cream for anti-aging purposes for 3 months regularly, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles considerably improved.
The benefits of amino acids is not limited to your skin only
The ability of amino acids to build new protein structures is also appreciated outside the skincare realm. You can see examples of formulas with amino acids in face and hair products.
Keratin is a protein that forms the hair shaft, and amino acids help it get restored and strengthened. Therefore, many products such as shampoos, body lotions, hair conditioners contain amino acids and they have a great number of benefits.
In the lifecycle of the skin, amino acids are one of the main structural elements and participants in many reactions. If the body lacks them, you can take amino acids as a part of dietary supplements or apply them directly to the skin as part of skincare products. Voila!
Amino acids for hair: They help dull skin and hair
Because amino acids work to retain moisture on the epidermis, they work wonders on dull and dry hair. If you are someone who dyes their hair frequently, chances are you have damaged your hair due to extreme moisture loss. But the good news is, products packed with amino acids will make sure your hair is smooth and silky and restored.
Just like hair products, body care products enriched with amino acids are hypoallergenic and are gentle on your skin. For example, you might have noticed that when you wash your hands with regular soap, it tends to dry out your hands and cause discomfort.
When you wash them with amino acid-based soap, it won’t lead to dryness or irritation. Largely due to increased pH levels (acidity level) of these soaps, which is way higher than the skin’s normal pH level which is somewhere at 5-6.
So, by using amino acid-based soap you balance out the natural pH levels.
Amino acids help to boost your metabolism
I know that we talked about the perks of amino acids for skin, but it is important to work from within. Sure, amino acids in skincare are amazing, but you can reap their benefits even further.
Diets rich with amino acids and supplements have proven to effectively regulate metabolism and energy balance by directly affecting the muscles. While exercising and working out, these supplements help the muscles to rebuild themselves. The more muscle you build, the more energy is burned as a result of increased metabolic rate. And this helps you burn more fat. Ta-da! Mystery solved.
In fact, the best way to benefit from amino acids is by adding complete proteins to your diet. The complete proteins are fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy. If you are vegan, eating foods packed with proteins like red kidney beans, quinoa, buckwheat will do the job. This goes to show that amino acids skin benefits aren’t the only major benefits as they are essential to human health overall.
The final takeaway
Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of proteins like collagen and elastin that stand at the heart of youthful skin. They are essential for the survival and “maintenance” of the skin in the long run.
Amino acids skin benefits are definitely endless and it is recommended to incorporate them into your skincare regimen. Since it is versatile, using amino acids for hair can definitely be a game-changer.