Alkyl glutamate (y-n-alkyl glutamate, 4R-alkyl glutamate, poly-gamma-alkyl glutamate) is a type of surfactant or surface acting agent, which is a substance that, when dissolved in water, gives a product the ability to remove dirt from surfaces such as the skin, textiles, and other solids. These compounds are commonly used in personal care and industrial products.
The essential function of surfactants can be described as wetting, loosening, and removing dirt, while keeping particulate matter emulsified, suspended, and dispersed, thereby preventing them from settling back onto the surface being cleaned.
Surfactants can cause skin irritation, especially with prolonged contact. Because alkyl glutamate is a milder compound, it may be more compatible for use in skin care products.