Who wants soft, plump and flawless skin? Then let’s talk Hydration! Because let’s face it. Hydration is key to almost every skin trouble we face like dullness, dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, sagging… The problem is, we lose the ability to attract and retain water as we age. That’s why J-Beauty focuses on replenishing your skin with hydrating ingredients.
So, today we’re going to introduce you to a superstar skin hydrating ingredient —Proteoglycan. Proteo-what? It’s ok. You probably haven’t heard about it because it’s one of the latest skincare ingredients extracted in Japan. If Hyaluronic Acid is your current holy grail for hydration, you’ll probably want to add Proteoglycan to your skincare routine right after you read this blog. Let’s get plumping!
What is Proteoglycan and how does it benefit your skin?
“Proteo” means protein. “Glycan” is a polysaccharide, a long chain of carbohydrate molecules. It naturally exists in the skin and cartilage in all humans, just like Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid. You can think of it as a filler substance between cells to keep them in place.
What’s amazing about Proteoglycan is that it can keep your skin super hydrated. Proteoglycan absorbs tons of water like a sponge and has the power to retain it. That’s good news. Because as we age, we lose the ability to hold on to water in our skin, which causes most skin troubles.
How is Proteoglycan different from Hyaluronic Acid?
You’re probably thinking, isn’t that the same as Hyaluronic Acid? Not quite. Hyaluronic Acid can also retain water — but Proteoglycan retains more.
For those who aren’t familiar with Hyaluronic Acid, it’s a sugar naturally found in our skin, joints and eye sockets. It’s a popular skincare ingredient due to its ability to attract and hold up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture. With that in mind, let’s go back to the superstar. Proteoglycan can retain 1.3 times more water than Hyaluronic Acid! If you are looking for an effective skin hydrating ingredient, here it is. Did we catch your attention now?
It doesn’t stop there. Proteoglycan has anti-aging properties, like stimulating the production of Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid. These are two essential ingredients for maintaining firmness and hydration for our skin. The production of Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid is especially important because as we age, they start to decrease in production. Some even deteriorate due to external factors like UV rays. This is the cause of dryness, fine lines, wrinkles, drooping and all the aging signs we wish we could just forget about.
Bottom line, Proteoglycan not only gives you hydration and plumpness, but it also creates a strong skin foundation by stimulating the production of essential ingredients for youthful-looking skin. It’s a powerhouse skin hydrator.
Why is Proteoglycan called the “Miracle Ingredient” — and what’s a salmon got to do with it?
Proteoglycan was discovered in the 1970s, but its remarkable benefits on top of the complexity of its extraction made it an extremely expensive ingredient. It was valued at $300K per gram at the time of its discovery! That’s more than a diamond was worth.
40 years after its discovery, Hirosaki University in Aomori, Japan found a way to extract Proteoglycan from the nasal cartilage of a salmon! Researchers in Aomori discovered that there were tons of proteoglycan inside the nasal cartilage of a salmon. But the big challenge was how to extract it in a safe and cost-efficient manner.
Surprisingly, the answer was waiting in an Izakaya. One day, a researcher came across a dish called “Hizu Namasu”, a local salmon dish from the Tohoku area of Japan. The dish uses vinegar to make the salmon head soft and edible. And that’s when epiphany struck. The vinegar was the key ingredient in melting out the proteoglycan inside the salmon cartilage. This accelerated the research and successfully led a team of researchers at Hirosaki University to come up with the breakthrough extraction method of proteoglycan.
How can you include Proteoglycan in your skincare routine?
Not a lot of U.S. skincare brands have Proteoglycan in their products yet. But here’s the great news. The JBeauty Collection carries La Vie Précieuse, which is an anti-aging skincare brand from Aomori, Japan — the birthplace of Proteoglycan! Their products feature Proteoglycan as one of the core ingredients along with apple ceramide derived from Aomori apples and Glycyrrhizinate extracted from licorice roots grown in Aomori. All unique nature-derived skincare ingredients born from cutting-edge Bio-research.
Check out their Moist A.P.G. Essence Toner, Moist A.P.G. Hydrator and Moist A.P.G. Cream.
La Vie Précieuse and sustainability
Another great aspect of this brand is that they’re committed to sustainability. La Vie Précieuse means “Precious Life” in French. They believe every life on the planet is a precious one.
Their main ingredients are sourced from nature that would have otherwise gone to waste. As the largest apple-producing prefecture in Japan, Aomori’s apples were leaving about 14,000 tons / year of unused waste as a result of the juicing process. The nasal cartilage of a salmon was also something that was usually thrown out. La Vie Précieuse wanted to transform this waste into a product that brought value to people and the environment, which was the very reason they launched their brand.
The founder, Kazuhide Miura had a special connection with the disabled. During his career as a certified social worker, he envisioned a sustainable employment system where they could truly thrive. Now, all of the apples used to extract the ceramides are cultivated by the disabled in his apple farm.
We’ll be talking more about this brand in our future blogs, so stay tuned! But for now, we hope you enjoyed learning about Proteoglycan and all the wonders it can do for your skin!