Potassium PCA



Potassium PCA at a glance

  • Mineral electrolyte that plays an influential role in skin’s natural moisturising factor
  • Helps facilitate water pathways within skin, ensuring balanced hydration levels
  • Aids in reinforcing skin’s barrier
  • Helps optimises skin’s desquamation (shedding) process

Potassium PCA description

Potassium PCA is the potassium salt of PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid), a substance that’s a natural part of skin’s intercellular matrix. Potassium PCA therefore plays an influential role in what’s known as skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF). Potassium is one of the minerals that helps facilitate water pathways within skin, ensuring balanced hydration levels. In fact, when skin loses potassium, as it does when we sweat, it can look and feel drier. As an electrolyte, potassium plays a role in reinforcing skin’s barrier and in its desquamation (shedding) process. Potassium PCA has been deemed safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. Their report surveyed products containing between 0.005-0.75% potassium PCA.

Potassium PCA references

  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2019, pages 5S-11S
  • Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, October 2015, pages 491-497
  • Journal of Dermatological Science, November 2013, pages 177-182; and May 2012, pages 154-159
  • The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, June 2011, pages 45-55
  • Yonsei Medical Journal, June 2006, pages 293-306

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated