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Sodium PCA

Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Sodium PCA


Sodium PCA is derived from a naturally existing amino acid proline in human skin. PCA means pyrolidone carbonic acid, an ingredient in numerous cosmetic products. PCA also contains antioxidants that can fight free radicals, which cause skin aging. It is also known as 5-OXO-DL-Proline, Monosodium salt, PCA Soda, DL-Proline, and Sodium 5-OXO-L-Prolinate.

It is regarded as hygroscopic with the capacity to absorb moisture from the air, and has high water absorption qualities. Sodium PCA has the ability to bind moisture to cells, and hold a number of its weight in water. It can deliver moisture to the skin and the hair.
Sodium PCA is a substance that is approved by CIR with concentration limits of 4%.

History and Origin

Sodium PCA is an integral component of the human skin that is believed to be responsible in the maintenance and absorption of moisture in the skin.

However, these humectants and emollient properties is something that people wanted to be enhanced that led to the research and studies of producing the substance from other source with similar properties.
Studies have shown that Sodium PCA can be derived from fruits, plants, vegetables, and grass. It can also be derived from coconut oil. The process to attain Sodium PCA is through fermentation of sugar or starches present in the natural sources.

Ancient Uses

The ancient Egyptians used fine oils from vegetable, fruits, and plants to enhance the moisture in their skin. Without knowing, sodium PCA is already contained in these natural sources that give radiance to their skin and maintain youth and health to their body.
Ancient Egyptians were also known for using cosmetics and natural hair tonics from plants for beauty and making their hair healthy. These natural materials they use contain sodium PCA, which is non-toxic and natural.

Modern Uses

Sodium PCA is used as an emollient or humectants in hair and skin conditioning agents, skin-conditioning and moisturizers, and antistatic-skin conditioning. It is also used as an ingredient in hair sprays, shampoos, skin fresheners, permanent waves, and other hair and skin care products.

Hair care products include hair dyes, hair conditioners, relaxers, and shampoos. It is also used in nail products such as nail polish, cuticle creams, and ointments.

Sodium PCA is one of the beneficial ingredients for manufacturing cosmetics such as pressed powder, lipsticks, eye-shadows and blush-on.

Side Effects

Sodium PCA is considered a low hazard ingredient by CIR. The only concern is the possible contamination of nitrosamine, which is a known toxin. However, according to CIR, nitrosamine should just be avoided.

Sodium PCA did not show any irritation to the eyes and skin at 50% concentration. There was no evidence of photoxicity, comedogenicity or sensitization. It is not genotoxic.

Sodium PCA is commonly used in skin care products such as anti-aging creams. Users of products that contain sodium PCA did not experience any severe reaction, which makes it safe to use. However, it is still recommended that for those who have sensitive skin to consult their doctor before using the product with sodium PCA.

Suggested Products

Kalo Ingrown Hair Treatment

Read also: Gamma Linolenic Acid

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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