Ingredients | Dry Skin | Dehydrated skin

8 Sodium PCA Benefits That Keep Your Skin Youthful, Hydrated, and Plump in 2023

Want a smoother texture? Then, try sodium PCA.

Or perhaps it’s more moisturisation your after?

Then Sodium PCA has you covered.

Or maybe it’s a cooling, quenching overnight treat to plump and restore your skin?

Yep, you guessed it, try sodium PCA.

If you want to rehydrate dry or mature skin, sodium PCA is all the way, baby.

A streamlined skincare routine is about substitution, where one product will do the job of several.

And there is no better electrolyte cocktail for your skin than sodium PCA.

What is Sodium PCA?

Technically, It is the sodium salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, a naturally occurring amino acid known as Proline found in proteins.

It’s a tricky little number that often falls under many guises, including monosodium salt, sodium pyroglutamate or monosodium salt DL-proline.

Whilst some of the sodium PCA used in skincare is synthetically created, it is primarily a natural ingredient derived from plants, fruits, and coconut oil.

Fermentation involves using sugars and starches to create a plant-derived ingredient form.

Here at the Naked Chemist, we use sodium PCA derived from the fermentation of soybeans in our formulas, such as Quench ultra-hydrating water gel.

It has several roles in the personal care industry, depending on where it is extracted from:

  • The sodium PCA that is extracted from vegetables and grasses is often used for its emollient properties in moisturisers
  • The sodium PCA that is extracted from coconut oil is used for its emulsification properties
  • Algae and Seaweed contain moderate levels of PCA, which is often used for its water-binding properties

Sodium PCA Versus Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is often used as an ingredient in many formulations due to its ability to pull moisture into skin tissues and lock it there.

Sodium PCA in skin care works similarly; sodium salt makes the molecule water-soluble and an effective humectant, drawing water from the atmosphere to your skin and hair to offer hydration.

Sodium PCA and Hyaluronic acid are humectants, but the main difference is how well they can produce this effect.

Sodium PCA can hold up to roughly 250 times its weight in water, while Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight.

For this reason, you will often find these two ingredients used in combination with each other to improve the moisture-retaining properties of a formula.

Sodium PCA is 1.5 times more effective than Glycerin at drawing water to your skin.

7 Benefits of Sodium PCA

Those reasons alone explain why you shouldn’t think twice about incorporating this essential ingredient into your skincare routine to give your skin that added humectant boost.

Especially when you consider all of sodium PCA’s beauty benefits, its resumé is so long that it’s hard to make it past the first page:

  • a humectant
  • a film former
  • an important moisture booster
  • a potent anti-inflammatory
  • has important moisture-binding properties
  • anti-ageing properties, it plumps, hydrates and smoothes
  • sodium PCA also increases the permeability of certain ingredients into your skin

1. Very hydrating

Sodium PCA is hygroscopic, which attracts water from the air, imparting a moist feeling to your hair and skin.

A naturally occurring component of your skin, it makes up roughly 12% of the natural moisturising factor (NMF), which consists of several components, including Amino acids, Lactic acid, Lipids and Proteins.

Together with the lipids that are naturally present in your skin, the NMF components work to keep your skin’s surface healthy, supple, and hydrated,

And we know this skin-friendly humectant can effectively pass through your skin’s outer protective layer, meaning you get good results with low concentrations at 1 to 2.5 per cent in skincare.

2. Extremely moisturising

It acts as a moisture magnet. This study (1) found that cosmetic preparations containing at least 2% sodium PCA significantly improved the participant’s dry and dehydrated skin conditions.

3. Anti-ageing

Your skin naturally contains sodium PCA, but these levels drop significantly as you age.

Because it is incredibly water-absorbing and can hold several times its weight in water, it can reduce moisture loss through evaporation, keeping your skin hydrated and plump so it looks more youthful.

4. Barrier protecting

Sodium PCA is essential to your skin’s intracellular matrix, preventing skin cells from losing water and drying out whilst protecting your all-important barrier function.

It helps rebuild the intercellular glue that holds your skin cells together, which can be likened to the mortar that holds bricks together.

Sodium PCA is created by breaking down the protein filaggrin within corneocytes, the dead skin cells that make up the outermost layer of your skin.

This prevents moisture loss and reduces the effects of bacteria overgrowth and allergens, a topic discussed in this article.

5. Relieves eczema

This dermatologic condition is characterised by inflammation within your skin tissues, resulting in erythema, irritation, and scaling.

This pilot study (2) examined the role of anti‐inflammatories in alleviating the signs and symptoms of mild‐to‐moderate eczema and found that when sodium PCA. was used in combination with other barrier-repairing ingredients, it significantly helped to improve inflammation, rough texture, dryness, itching, and the overall appearance of participants skin after just two weeks of continuous application.

Moreover, there was a 79% reduction in itching, and skin hydration increased by 44%.

6. It reduces inflammation

Sodium PCA is an excellent ingredient for helping to protect the delicate microflora that make up your acid mantle, helping to reduce inflammation and prevent surface irritation.

7. An effective hair treatment

Sodium PCA is often used in hair care products. It is known in the industry to enhance the appearance and feel of hair by increasing suppleness and sheen.

It is also thought to improve the appearance of hair that has been damaged physically or by drying chemical treatments.

To conclude. The naked truth

As you can see, there are many Sodium PCA skincare benefits; it is a wonder ingredient for your skin.

It will restore an impaired barrier, prevent premature ageing, help to reduce inflammation and relieve conditions such as eczema. It can even help moisturise your hair.

It is non-comedogenic and non-irritating to your eyes and skin.

This study (3) found that even at concentrations of 50%, there was no evidence of sensitivity or toxicity.

If you have enjoyed reading about this fascinating humectant, Panthenol is another important skin-plumping humectant for your skin.

That will help to restore your youthful glow.


  1. Pyrrolidone carboxylic acid and the skin
  2. A pilot study investigating the efficacy of botanical anti-inflammatory agents in an OTC eczema therapy
  3. Safety Assessment for PCA and Sodium PCA

26 replies on “8 Sodium PCA Benefits That Keep Your Skin Youthful, Hydrated, and Plump in 2023”

What a great article! I learned a lot. I was wondering if anyone knew if i could mix this in with a homemade chapstick/lipgloss. I’m trying to make something that’s moisturizing but won’t slide off the sides of my lips…lol Even in this humid heat in FL my lips are constantly chapped and cracking.

So, can you use Sodium PCA straight from the bottle on wet skin after shower?
(Which I have been doing and I mix glycerin in my body cream). Am I overdoing it? Is is better to use the glycerin straight from the bottle on out of shower wet skin?
I’m 71 and my skin is starting to get dry an crepey (too much fun in the sun in those younger years). I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

The recommended use rate for Sodium PCA is .2 – 2.5% in a solution. It’s not recommended to apply directly to the skin. In fact, first aid instructions are to flush water over the skin if direct undiluted contact occurs. The pH is rather high at 6.8-7.4. Most generic skincare lotions/creams are in the 5.5 range. Glycerin can get quite sticky. Mixing it into an already created lotion is an option, but just know that it may throw off the preservation system of the lotion.

I came across this article by looking up benefits of Sodium PCA. I love this page
How can I subscribe to your mailing list?
Thank you

A couple years ago I stocked up the best I could with the focus 21 sea plasma products. I have one year of the spray moisturizer left. I’m a cancer survivor and these are the only products that were comfortable to use on my skin. Advise for a replacement would be appreciated.

Hi Scott, I just stumbled upon it and love the information she’s publishing and hers is probably the most successful for those with sensitive skin. Best of luck, health, and healing going forward.

Thank you for the information regarding PCA; i’VE been
trying to purchase the product NAPCA and found out that
Twinlab has stopped making it. I’m so disappointed;however there is still hope for me and others.
I will be certainly looking out for other products that have
PCA in. Thanks very much


Hi, can you recommend some products that contain this ingredient? I am having trouble finding anything other than the Twinlabs spray and wanted some other options. Thx

Hello, Have you found or produced a facial spray or other products with NaPca in them? I have found that the ‘Focus 21 Sea Plasma’ spray for face and hair as well as ‘Twinlabs NaPca’ are no longer available. I am currently using Nuskin facial mist which contains NaPca. Any further info would be appreciated.

I had used Twin Labs NaPCA for years. Can you make a product like that? Please send info!
Thank you.

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