Ingredient highlight – Glycosaminoglycans

Do you read the inci list on skincare products? We’ll admit it – it’s one of our favourite things when browsing our local Boots/Superdrug/Savers. The inci list is a great place to start, but how the product is formulated matters, too.

That said, some skincare ingredients are easier to identify and pronounce than others. One to get on your radar? Glycosaminoglycans. Say what? What are glycosaminoglycans? How do they benefit the skin, and should you include them in your skincare routine?

What are glycosaminoglycans?

Glycosaminoglycans are polysaccharides (also known as mucopolysaccharides). They are a part of the structural component of the extracellular matrix. They are one of the essential components of the dermis, the other two being collagen and elastin. But they can also be found throughout the body, for example in joints, cartilage, the mucus membrane, and plasma. Glycosaminoglycans levels deplete in our bodies as we age, and it can lead to skin dryness and more prominent fine lines and wrinkles.

Glycosaminoglycans are hydrophilic molecules meaning they bind water to the skin and keep it hydrated. Wait, isn’t that what Hyaluronic acid does? The answer is Hyaluronic acid belongs to this group of ingredients.

What do glycosaminoglycans do?

Glycosaminoglycans offer several notable benefits for the skin:

  • Glycosaminoglycans keep our skin healthy. They support and maintain collagen and elastin in the dermis and epidermis. As we know, collagen and elastin are responsible for the skin’s structure and what keeps it looking firm and supple.
  • Increase the hydration of the skin.
  • Improve the elasticity of the skin.
  • Can support scar and wound healing.

Should you include glycosaminoglycans into your skincare routine?

Yes, and chances are products in your skincare routine already contain glycosaminoglycans as they are widely used ingredients.

Ishtar products that contain glycosaminoglycans

Our products contain Hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans similar to the natural glycosaminoglycans found in the skin’s extracellular matrix and deliver fantastic hydration benefits.

1% Bioactive Retinol serum and 2.5% Bioactive Retinol serum


Our retinol serums use Rovisomes (2nd generation liposomes) to microencapsulate the retinol molecule in a natural phospholipids (lecithin) shell. That way, retinol stays more potent for longer.
Both serums also contain Prickly Pear extract (to hydrate and soothe the skin) and Spilanthes Acmella (Gatuline) extract (known for its firming effect on the skin).
We recommend our 1% Bioactive Retinol serum for people who are new to retinol-based products. If you used retinol previously, you might opt for 2.5% Bioactive Retinol serum.

Skinbiotica Daily Defence serum


Skinbiotica Daily Defence serum aids skin recovery and helps restore and protect the dermal balance. It combines a complex of prebiotics with a complex of glucosides.

Prebiotics complex in Skinbiotica Daily Defence serum contains Arabinogalactan & a-glucan Oligosaccharide. It promotes a healthy pH of the skin and encourages skin-friendly bacteria.
Glucoside complex reduces inflammatory cytokines. High levels of cytokines are associated with skin conditions like rosacea and skin redness.
Canadian Rose Bay Willowherb extract contains Oenothein-B, a molecule known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces redness and irritation.
Butcher’s Broom Extract soothes redness, and Gatuline extract helps firm the skin.
Skinbiotica Daily Defence serum is suitable for all skin types with compromised moisture barrier.

Time CODE moisturiser


Time CODE moisturiser combines Copper PCA with Ectoin to deliver Copper Optimised Dermal Extremolyte.
Copper PCA acts as a “super antioxidant.” It regulates the moisture of the skin, diminishes redness, and improves elasticity.
Ectoin is a molecule that helps organisms survive severe osmotic stress. In skincare products, Ectoin has a multi-function action – it improves hydration (by creating a protective hydro-complex), soothes inflammation, and prevents UVA photoaging.
Plant phytosterols in Time CODE help maintain a healthy skin barrier. They include campesterol, stigmasterol, and sitosterol. When applied topically, they soothe the skin and prevent signs of aging.
Time CODE moisturiser is best suited for mature skin.

Roberta Striga