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Marine Ingredients for the Future of Skin Care

By: Angela Eriksen-Stanley
Posted: August 26, 2013, from the September 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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One alga that is cultivated in vitro for cosmetic use is Porphyra conchocelis. In nature, Porphyra produces alpha hydroxy acid to create holes on the surfaces of rocks so that it can adhere. This lactic acid is a very gentle, yet effective, exfoliating ingredient for the skin. Further, using cultivation and sea farming as a means to produce seaweed creates very stable, consistent results in the final skin care product while offering sustainable, eco-friendly skin care options.

The Future of Marine Ingredients

The use of marine biotechnology is a new frontier for creating advanced beauty ingredients. In nature, microscopic algae produce various molecules, such as polymers, enzymes, pigments and peptides. In the laboratory, it is possible to both cultivate these algae and to naturally stimulate their production of these valuable molecules.

Marine biotechnology uses micro-algae as “factories” to produce cosmetic ingredients that provide powerful results. An exopolysaccharide (EPS), or complex sugar that is excreted, is produced for skin care using this science. In nature, the micro-alga produces the EPS as a biofilm to help it adhere to surfaces when conditions get aggressive. This biofilm, made of a complex structure of sugars, provides both instant and long-term results. Fifteen minutes after applying a product containing the EPS, wrinkles are often visibly smoother and skin is lifted. After one month of daily use, the EPS improves the production of collagen and elastin in the skin to help restore a youthful appearance.

For an estimated 3.8 billion years, micro-algae have been adapting, thriving and multiplying. Although tiny, they have managed to create amazing self-protection systems from which skin can truly benefit. With the combination of the ability of seaweed to concentrate unique nutrients, and with aggressive research and development practices, marine skin care can successfully provide solutions to most skin concerns. In general, using marine biotechnology provides the beauty industry with highly potent ingredients that cannot be acquired from any other marine- or land-based raw material.

With such a plethora of seaweed and micro-algae that have still not been discovered in the vastness of the ocean, there is a virtually untapped arena of possibilities. Because of these incredible factors and the ability to create ingredients so sustainably, marine skin care is truly a wave of the future in beauty.

General References

Angela Eriksen-Stanley, director of education for Phytomer Group, has been a trainer for 15 years, sharing her expertise in esthetics, body modalities and thalassotherapy-based spa care. Eriksen-Stanley attends annual international education summits to expand her knowledge with cutting-edge products and techniques.

The Skin Care Ingredient Handbook is so much more than an ingredient dictionary for the skin care industry. This book is useful to the cosmetic formulator to hone in on skin care trends for ethnic skin, scalp and hair products plus offers insight into BB creams, suncreens; active versus functional ingredients, natural, organic, and synthetic ingredients; OTC drugs; INCI names, antioxidants and DNA and how to read labels. Did we mention the newest ingredients are listed?

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