Why Aquaporins Are Making Their Way Into the Skin-Care Conversation

  • You have dry skin: We have no doubt you’ve gathered this by now, but you’ll benefit most from these products if you have a thirsty complexion. Huang adds that they can also treat “flaky, rough, tight, or itchy skin.”
  • You live in low humidity: “People who live in places with low humidity can use aquaporin skin-care products to protect the skin from drying out,” Huang says.
  • You have mature skin: Aquaporin levels decrease in mature skin, says Dr. Castilla, and aquaporin skin-care might help replenish them.

Which skin-care ingredients are thought to increase aquaporin production?

Dr. Lal, says glyceryl glucoside is one of the most promising ingredients for boosting aquaporin production in skin cells. To avoid getting too into the scientific weeds, we’ll keep it concise: A 2012 study showcased its ability to promote the production of AQP3, one of the most abundant aquaporins found in our skin.

Although further studies are required to establish glyceryl glucoside as a definitive aquaporin-booster, the drugstore brand Eucerin has already incorporated this ingredient into its Aquaporin Active line, which comes highly recommended by Lal. It also takes center stage in the Kate Somerville HydraKate skin-care collection. Both brands assert their potential to naturally invigorate your skin’s aquaporin channels.

Eucerin Aquaporin Active Light Hydrating Cream

Kate Somerville HydraKate Recharging Water Cream Moisturizer light blue jar on white background

Kate Somerville HydraKate Recharging Water Cream Moisturizer

However, it’s wise to approach this information with some skepticism. Dr. Castilla acknowledges that the ingredient may contribute to boosting aquaporin function, but due to a lack of clinical studies on the products, she refrains from making definitive claims. Even if glyceryl glucoside is eventually proven to have a definitive effect, “the formulation of any product really matters,” she explains. “It needs at a minimum to have a concentration of active ingredients that will make it biologically active. Then the formulation needs to stabilize it so it can actually reach the intended target.” In short, it goes deeper than including it in the ingredient list.

Remember: Upping your skin cells’ aquaporin count isn’t the only path to skin hydration. Dr. Huang also offers additional tips, including staying well-hydrated by drinking water, avoiding hot water during cleansing, utilizing a humidifier in dry environments, and protecting your skin from sun exposure with a hearty layer of SPF.

Aquaporins: The TL;DR

Using skin-care products containing aquaporin-enhancing ingredients like glyceryl glucoside may be helpful for those with dry skin, but the science is still hypothetical at best. For best results, consider complementing them with hyaluronic acid products for a comprehensive regimen that addresses your skin’s moisture levels inside and out.