Why Is Glycine the Anti-Aging Ingredient You Should Know About?



What Is Glycine?

Glycine is an amino acid that is primarily used in anti-aging skincare products because of its ability to improve moisture retention, increase collagen production, and promote skin repair and regeneration. 

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Glycine is the simplest amino acid with only a single hydrogen atom as its side chain. As an amino acid, glycine functions as a building block in the production of many proteins. Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, which means it can be synthesized within the human body and doesn’t need to be absorbed from food. Glycine should not be confused with another ingredient that is commonly used in skincare products called “glycine soja”, which is soybean extract. Although glycine can also be found in soybean extract it is mostly synthetically derived. 

Amino acids in skincare are becoming increasingly popular for helping to improve the appearance of aging skin. There are 20 amino acids and 11 of which, like glycine are non-essential meaning the body can produce them by itself. Amino acids play a role in almost every process within the body. They are also vital for the healthy functioning of the skin. When you are looking to incorporate amino acids into your skincare routine lookout for the ones that work best topically or through your skincare products such as arginine, lysine, histidine, glycine, and leucine.


the good:Magnesium gluconate is involved in over 300 processes in the body and is involved in healthy muscle functioning. Supplementing magnesium through transdermal absorption may help to relax muscles and reduce the tension associated with fine lines and wrinkles.

the not so good:The mechanisms of actions for magnesium gluconate are not well studied. While the theoretical underpinnings of its use make sense, the use is not yet substantiated in scientific research.

Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.

Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on: Keep an eye out for more research in this area.

What Are The Benefits of Glycine 

In cosmetics and skincare products, glycine works to improve the visible signs of aging, improve moisture retention, increase collagen production, and promote skin repair and regeneration. Glycine is also used as a buffering agent.

Glycine is thought to help support healthy collagen production and stimulation. When topically applied, glycine penetrates the skin as amino acids are small molecules particularly glycine which is one of the smallest. One of the major factors that contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles is a decrease in the amount of collagen in the skin. The body produces less and less collagen with age. In fact, after the age of 20, a person produces about 1 percent less collagen in the skin each year. Moreover, environmental free radicals can degrade collagen. The result is skin that becomes thinner and more fragile with age. Collagen has a triple helix structure composed of glycine and two other amino acids, proline and hydroxyproline.  It is thought that glycine may help support collagen production, such as glycine, and help to maintain skin firmness and promote skin repair and regeneration.

Glycine may also benefit the skin is by supporting moisture retention. Glycine and other amino acids are naturally present in the skin as part of the Natural Moisturizing Factors. Natural Moisturizing Factors are composed of amino acids, sugars and electrolytes that work to keep the skin’s surface intact, supple, and hydrated. Specifically, amino acids work together with aquaporins or the body’s water transport system, to move moisture throughout the skin. Therefore, the topical application of amino acids like glycine may help to improve moisture retention in the skin.

Lastly, glycine can help improve the stability of your product. It also functions as a buffering agent, which means it is used to establish and hold the pH level of a cosmetic formulation. In chemistry, pH stands for ‘potential hydrogen’ and it refers to the level of acidity or alkalinity in a given solution. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A pH greater than 7 is basic. Adding glycine to an acidic or alkaline solution will make it neutral which is great news for sensitive skin types and pH levels too far outside of the skin’s normal pH range of 4.7-5.75 will irritate the skin.

Is Glycine Safe?

The safety of glycine and the other alpha-amino acids has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group that evaluates the safety of cosmetic and skincare ingredients. Due to the normal presence of glycine in the body and its use as a direct food additive approved by the FDA, the Expert Panel focused its review on dermal irritation and sensitization data. Dermal data on products containing glycine indicated that this ingredient is not a dermal irritant or sensitizer. Thus, the Panel concluded that glycine and the other alpha amino acids were safe as used in cosmetics and personal care products.

Razak, M, Begum, P, Viswanath, B, & Rajagopal, S, 2017. ‘ Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review’, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. Murakami, H, Shimbo, K, Inoue, Y, Takino, Y, & Kobayashi, H, 2012. ‘Importance of amino acid composition to improve skin collagen protein synthesis rates in UV-irradiated mice’, Amino Acids, vol.42, is. 6, pp. 2481-2489.



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