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What is Zinc PCA?

Zinc PCA is the Zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid. It helps control acne and decrease sebum secretion while helping the skin retain its humidity.

The mechanism of action of Zinc on acne may still be a matter of discussion, but there seems to be an agreement that salts of this metal decrease inflammation caused by acne, perhaps through inhibition of the enzyme that catalyses the production of dihydroxytestosterone, a hormone that controls sebaceous gland activity. Zinc is also an antibacterial, and its salts are used to control dandruff.

At Skin Actives we decided to offer zinc as zinc PCA. Pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, PCA, also called L-pyroglutamate, is a derivative of glutamic acid (an amino acid) and very hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs large quantities of water. A relatively simple molecule, it is naturally produced by our bodies and is one of the components of “natural moisturizing factor”, which our skin produces to slow down water loss to the environment.

Zinc-PCA offers the benefits of PCA and those of the zinc and, maybe, something more. For example, zinc PCA (but not zinc alone) seems to decrease sebum secretion by oily skin.

Jarrousse, V.; Castex-Rizzi, N.; Khammari, A.; Charveron, M.; Dreno, B. (2007) Zinc salts inhibit in vitro toll-like receptor 2 surface expression by keratinocytes European Journal of Dermatology 17: 492-496.
Nitzan, Yuval Bibi; Cohen, Arnon D. (2006) Zinc in skin pathology and care. Journal of Dermatological Treatment (2006), 17(4), 205-210.