Amino acids are the topic of much discussion regarding the most effective topical skin care formulas to remedy a wide range of skin concerns, from wrinkles to acne to cracked skin. When it comes to what these tiny molecules are and how they function within our bodies and skin, though, you still may have a few unanswered questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about amino acids and the role they play in your skin’s health and beauty.
Q: How Many Amino Acids Are There?
A: There are hundreds of different amino acids in nature, but only 20 of them are part of the universal genetic code. From this basic set of 20, all other amino acids can be derived. We can think of the genetic code as indicating the letters of the alphabet that can be combined to form words. In this analogy, amino acids are the “letters” and the “words” that they create are various proteins.
Q: What’s the Difference between Essential and Nonessential Amino Acids?
A: Of the 20 amino acids in the genetic code, nine are considered essential for humans, and the remaining 11 are nonessential. The human body is able to naturally produce these 11 nonessential aminos, whereas the nine essential amino acids must be obtained from outside sources, like your diet, supplements, and topical products. Without enough of all nine of the essential amino acids, your body and skin cannot properly function. This is why it’s important to consume complete proteins–which contain all of the essential amino acids–in your diet. Otherwise, you’ll need to eat a wide variety of incomplete proteins in order to obtain all nine essential aminos.
Q: What Is a Free-Form Amino Acid?
A: Amino acids that are in their free form have been isolated from all other surrounding nutrients. When choosing an amino acid skin care product, you want to make sure that the amino acids contained in the formula are in their free form. Otherwise, competing nutrients could decrease their effectiveness.
Q: What’s the Difference between L-Amino Acids and D-Amino Acids?
A: All amino acids, with the exception of glycine, can have an L- and a D- form, which are like having a right hand and a left hand. Although your hands appear to be identical, they are actually mirror images of each other. This is also the key difference between L- and D- amino acids. Having two different forms allows these molecules to “fit” into a wide range of receptors. Within the human body, though, only L-amino acids are used by cells and synthesized into proteins . Thus, when we talk about using amino acids in skin care products, we’re really only talking about the L-form of each of these ingredients. D-form amino acids are not effective in skin care because they lack the ability to produce proteins.
Q: How Do Amino Acids Combat Signs of Skin Aging?
A: Your skin is comprised of two primary proteins: collagen and elastin. These proteins are responsible for giving your skin its firm, youthful structure and the ability to “snap” back into place when pulled or stretched. As we age, however, the amount of collagen and elastin that our bodies naturally produce begins to decline. This gives way to common signs of aging like lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. In addition, years of exposure to the sun and air pollution can accelerate the breakdown of these proteins within our skin, thus leading to signs of premature aging [2, 3]. Using the right combination of free-form L-amino acids, you can actually reverse the effects of protein degradation in your skin and restore a smoother, more youthful, and healthier-looking complexion. This is because these amino acids are the building blocks for proteins like collagen and elastin, so when you use them in the right formulation, you can essentially regenerate these lost proteins to improve your skin’s appearance.
Amino acids are quickly becoming some of the most popular skin care ingredients to help improve a wide range of skin concerns. Just be sure that you take a close look at the ingredients on any product that claims to contain amino acids, as they should be listed in their L-forms, and you should see a combination of all or nearly all of the 20 amino acids in the genetic code. If you take a look at the ingredient list for AminoGenesis products, you’ll see that all of the amino acids included in these expertly-designed formulas are listed in their L-form, which is not always the case with other brands. To learn more about the specific ways that amino acids can benefit your skin, sign up today to become an AminoGenesis Insider. We’ll also send you exclusive offers and flash sales as a way of saying thanks for being a part of our team.
 The Guardian