Metabolism and Functions of Amino Acids in the Skin

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020:1265:187-199. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-45328-2_11.


Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins, including the most abundant fibrous proteins in the skin, as keratins, collagen and elastin. Sagging and wrinkled skin are features of chronic sun-damaged and aged uncared skin, and they are mainly associated with the deterioration of collagen and elastic fibers. The maintenance of skin structures by self-repair processes is essential to skin health. Thus, amino acids significantly impact the appearance of the skin. Amino acids are important nutrients required for (a) wound healing promotion and repair of the damaged skin; (b) acid-base balance and water retention in cellular layers, such as stratum corneum; (c) protection against sunlight damage; (d) maintenance of an appropriate skin microbiome. This review highlights the contribution of all proteinogenic amino acids and some related metabolites to the skin structures as constituents of the main cutaneous proteins or as signaling molecules for the regulation and determination of skin physiology.

Keywords: Amino acids; Collagen; Dermis; Elastin; Epidermis; Keratins; Melanin; Skin; Skincare.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Collagen
  • Elastin
  • Humans
  • Keratins
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Skin Aging


  • Amino Acids
  • Keratins
  • Collagen
  • Elastin