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Acetyl glucosamine is an extract from shellfish or corn.

It’s an amino acid sugar and primary constituent of mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid. As such, it can be considered a skin-identical ingredient. In large concentrations acetyl glucosamine can be effective for wound healing. There is research showing that chitosan (which is composed of acetyl glucosamine) can help wound healing in a complex physiological process. However, the amount used in those studies was significantly greater than the amount used in cosmetics.

In terms of exfoliation, the research that does exist was done by Proctor & Gamble and Estee Lauder, and both companies sell skin-care products with acetyl glucosamine. Clinique claims that this ingredient can exfoliate skin. Although there isn’t substantiated research proving otherwise, the research on this ingredient’s ability to exfoliate comes from the Estee Lauder Companies, which own Clinique, so it’s not exactly an impartial source.

In terms of its anti-wrinkle action, there is no research demonstrating that wrinkles are related to wounds. Acetyl glucosamine also has research demonstrating its inhibitory effect on melanin production. Thus, it can be an important ingredient in skin lightening products, particularly when combined with niacinamide. Most of the research concerning acetyl glucosamine’s effect on hyperpigmentation is from Procter & Gamble, and their Olay brand uses acetyl glucosamine in many products. Still, the research is compelling and the protocols sound.

N-acetyl glucosamine and N-aceytl glucosamine, glucosamine sulfate are stable forms of this ingredient. Don’t confuse N-acetyl glucosamine with other forms of glucosamine, such as glucosamine hydrochloride or glucosamine sulfate. They may not have the same effects.

Four types of glucosamine amino sugars are most frequently used in cosmetic products: GlcN, GlcN.HCl, GlcN.sulfate, and N-acetyl-GlcN.
Functions according to CosIng database:
– skin conditioning (N-Ac-GlcN, GlcN.sulfate)
– antistatic (GlcN, GlcN.HCl)
– hair conditioning (GlcN, GlcN.HCl)
– Anti-aging ingredient (N-acetyl-GlcN) with anti-oxidant
properties (Rivers, 2008)

Creams containing high concentrations (8%, 10%) of GlcN salts (GlcN.HCl and GlcN.sulfate) are available on the market. Development of proprietary transdermal delivery systems is claimed to be key to the functional properties of these high concentrations of GlcN compounds. Marketers of these products claim that GlcN creams with less than 7% GlcN may not have pharmaceutical benefits. (Gupta, 2004).

It’s important to note that while glucosamine is normally found in shellfish, it can also be created from the fermentation of corn, according to Wikipedia.

Paula’s Choice Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum Review
Acetyl Glucosamine Beautypedia definition
Glucosamine (GlcN) Risk Profile
Cellular-Molecular-Life-Science, February 1997, pages 131–140; and Biomaterials, June 2001, pages 1667–1673
Journal of Cosmetic Science, July-August 2009, pages 423–428; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, February 2007, Supplement 2, page AB169
Journal of Cosmetic Science, July-August 2009, pages 423–428
British Journal of Dermatology, August 28, 2009, Epublication; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, December 2007, pages 232–238; March 2007, pages 20–26; and December 2006, pages 309–315

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