GAGs (Glycosaminoglycans), particularly Dermatan sulfate and Hyaluronic acid, are mucopolysaccharides, long polymer molecules (long chains), consisting of the skin extracellular matrix. GAGs have essential roles in the skin, holding cells together and providing moisture-binding ability.
Skin fibroblasts spend a lot of energy producing glycosaminoglycans since the process is complex. First, they should synthesize precursors or building blocks, then connect small molecules into the long chains. In mature skin, this process is even slower. Modern skincare formulas can speed up and make essential GAG production easier by providing small molecule precursors that may easily penetrate through the skin barrier and serve as a building material.
Many manufacturers hydrolyze (divide long chains) mucopolysaccharides derived from natural sources like shrimp shells. Those hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans are perfect-matching and ready-to-use building blocks for skins' own dermatan and hyaluronan production. Thus, hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans are a great anti-aging ingredient that stimulates fibroblasts and reveals smoother, firmer, and supple skin.