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In Praise of Sodium PCA

True confessions - over the years, like everyone I can get a bit uneven with my skincare regimen. But one ingredient I could never live without is Sodium PCA. My addiction started simply and expensively with a spray featured in a product line that was used in by my esthetics school. One spritz and my skin felt and looked the way it had before moving to New York from south Florida and losing the benefit of constant humidity. My skin was incredibly hydrated, plumped and glowing and I was hooked. Having an addiction to a $40 bottle of spritz seemed a bit fancy so I took a look at the ingredients of which the primary goodie was Sodium PCA or Na-Pca.

What is Sodium PCA?

It is the sodium salt of Pyroglutamic Acid, a naturally occurring Amino Acid known as Proline, that is found in proteins.

Na-pca is one of the major components of our skins’ natural moisturizing factor and is found at around 12%.

Sodium PCA used as a water binding agent is typically derived from algae and seaweed.

How does Sodium PCA benefit skin?

Na-pca retains moisture, due to the fact that it is extremely water absorbent and can hold several times its weight in water.

Helps to reduce loss of moisture, through evaporation.

It is a stronger hydrating agent than traditional ingredients, such as Glycerine and Propylene Glycol.

Anti-ageing: Our skin naturally contains PCA, but as we age these levels drop quite considerably.

Protecting: PCA is an important component of skin's intracellular matrix, preventing skin cells from losing water and drying out.

Reducing inflammation: helps to protect the acid mantle and prevents surface irritation.

How to use Na-Pca sprays

Spray it after a shower to hold in moisture - don't forget the decollete!

Use it to set makeup - adds a glowing finish

Beach, boat and airplanes - soothing and hydrating - try putting in your cooler or fridge for an extra boost.

Hair care - can be sprayed on damp hair to moisturize

Men's skincare - often preferred over a lotion or cream

Where to get it?

I've convinced you that you need this in your routine so where can you find it? Here's a few that I have tried but feel free to conduct your own search for sodium pca sprays. Simplicity of ingredients is key here.

Twin labs Na-Pca spray - This was my absolute favorite and one I've used for years. Simple formulation and under $10. Sadly this seems to be out of production and replace by a formulation that contains aloe vera and other ingredients. I haven't tried the new formula yet mostly because I stockpiled the old one when I noticed it was getting hard to find.

Nu-skin Na-pca moisture mist - also contains hyaluronic acid and urea, available at around $10-$15

Dermalogica Multi-Active toner - my original gateway spray - available at around $38

Happy hydrating!

Update! TwinLabs Na-Pca spray is back and under $10! Note: clicking on the link will get you hydrated skin but I receive no monetary value.