What are The Benefits Of Sodium PCA In Skin Care

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Does your skin feel dehydrated and look patchy when you wake up in the morning? Then it most certainly is undernourished. But do not panic – there is a solution that will restore your skin’s lost glow and health.

Sodium PCA is a skin-transforming ingredient that moisturizes your skin and makes it soft and healthy. It is a staple in the skin care and cosmetic industries for its conditioning and smoothening properties.

Here, we further discuss the benefits of sodium PCA, how to use it, and its potential side effects. Keep reading.

What Is Sodium PCA?

Sodium PCA is a natural plant-based humectant that seals skin moisture to replenish and hydrate it. It is a salt derived from proline (an amino acid). It attracts water droplets from your environment and seals them in your skin. This ingredient is also found in hair care products like shampoos and hairsprays for its conditioning effects.

Interestingly, sodium PCA is also formed when a type of protein (called filaggrin) breaks down due to a reaction with dead skin cells (also called corneocytes). Thus, the natural moisturizing factor of your skin already consists of 12% sodium PCA made of tiny proteins, sugar, amino acids, and lactic acid. These, together, keep your skin’s surface healthy and hydrated.

We look at the benefits of sodium PCA in the next section.

What Are The Benefits Of Sodium PCA?

1. May DiminishSigns Of Aging

Sodium PCA is naturally found in your body. But its levels reduce with increasing age, causing premature signs of aging. Hence, incorporating sodium PCA-based skincare products into your regimen can help.
Sodium PCA delays the onset of common aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines 1. It works by enhancing the skin’s ability to hold water.

2. Helps Hydrate Skin

The hygroscopic (absorbing moisture from air) properties of sodium PCA allow it to trap water inside your skin. Most skin care products contain 1 to 2% sodium PCA, which is sufficient to keep dryness at bay 2 . Sodium PCA enters the uppermost skin layer and subsequently passes to the inner layers, keeping skin hydrated from within.

3. Helps Maintain The Skin Barrier

Studies show that sodium PCA improves the skin’s protective barrier by preventing moisture loss. It also reinforces the intercellular glue to keep the skin cells together. It prevents the growth of bacteria and allergens that causes acne and breakouts and clog pores. In addition, when you protect your skin’s natural barrier, you also immunize it against environmental aggressors such as pollutants and UV rays.

4. May Treat Eczema

Eczema is caused when dryness and inflamed skin lead to excess irritation, itching, and scaling. As per research, sodium PCA, in combination with other skin protective additives, can help treat issues like eczema. Sodium PCA seems to be an efficient solution. You can observe results within two weeks from use. It also may enhance skin texture, reduce eczema symptoms, and increase skin moisture levels.

5. Is Non-Comedogenic

Sodium PCA is non-comedogenic. It does not clog pores. It makes the perfect choice for oily and acne-prone skin. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

These are the few important benefits of sodium PCA. But how can you make use of it? Keep reading to know more.

How To Use Sodium PCA For Skin?

Skincare products like lotions, creams, shampoos, serums, and gels usually contain sodium PCA. Your go-to product will probably give you all the sodium PCA you need.

The concentration levels of sodium PCA in skincare and cosmetic products remain between 0.2 to 40%. The chemical may not irritate your skin even at concentrations up to 50%. However, consult your dermatologist to understand the concentration ideal for you.

Sodium PCA is often compared with hyaluronic acid. But how are the two different?

Sodium PCA Vs. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is found in many skincare products due to its moisture-binding abilities. Sodium PCA works like hyaluronic acid and helps enhance your skin’s moisture content. Both these moisturizing agents are natural humectants, but they only differ in terms of their functioning.

Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 100 times its weight in water. In comparison, sodium PCA can hold up to 250 times its weight when dissolved in water. The latter is more effective in sealing skin moisture. Besides, sodium PCA is 1.5 times more effective than glycerine and twice as potent as propylene glycol.

Like most other ingredients, sodium PCA also poses a few risks. We discuss them in the next section.

Side Effects And Risks Of Sodium PCA

Reports from the International Journal of Toxicology suggest that sodium PCA is safe for use in skincare products. Sodium PCA is also a non-sensitizing ingredient and generally does not irritate your skin. It also may work well on all skin types.

Topically applied sodium PCA will not penetrate the skin deeper than required. However, it must not be mixed with cosmetic or skincare products with nitrosating ingredients as the two can react and produce carcinogenic substances.

In Summary

Sodium PCA is an effective skincare ingredient. It helps maintain the skin moisture levels. This non-comedogenic ingredient suits almost all skin types, unless you are allergic to it. You can pick products containing this ingredient and yield benefits. However, consult your dermatologist once if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.

  1. Use of formulations for sensitive skin improves the visible signs of aging
    including wrinkle size and elasticity
  2. Pyrrolidone carboxylic acid and the skin
  3. Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems
  4. A pilot study investigating the efficacy of botanical anti-inflammatory agents in an OTC eczema therapy
  5. Final Safety Assessment for PCA and Sodium PCA

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).