Marine Extracts in Skin Care - The Dermatology Review

Marine Extracts in Skin Care

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10.10.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Chlorella Vulgaris Extract
Chlorella vulgaris is a green eukaryotic microalgae that was first discovered in 1890 as the first microalgae with a well-defined nucleus. The algae is known for its high protein content; about 42 to 58% of its biomass dry weight. In Japan, Chlorella vulgaris is marketed as a dietary supplement and food additive, and is consumed as a medical treatment.

In skin care products, Chlorella vulgaris extract has been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis. Collagen is responsible for the strength, elasticity, smoothness and plump appearance of healthy skin. Additionally, Chlorella vulgaris extract has an anti-collagenase and an anti-elastase effect. Collagenase and elastase are enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, respectively. Since collagen and elastin are responsible for the strength and elasticity of skin, preventing the degradation of these proteins is important for maintaining a youthful complexion.

Algae (Seaweed) Extract / Algae Extract
Algae is an informal term for a large, diverse group of organisms that includes more than 20,000 different known species. Algae are very simple organisms that have chlorophyll as their primary photosynthetic pigment. In skin care products, algae extract has several functions, including as a thickening agent, water-binding agent, and antioxidant. Some species of algae even provide powerful anti-aging effects when applied to the skin.

Pelvetia Canaliculata Extract
Pelvetia canaliculata, also known as channelled wrack, is a very common brown alga found on the rocks of the upper shores of Europe. It is comprised of more lipids than many brown seaweeds, typically up to 6%. With polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, linolenic and linoleic acids, and EPA and DHA, Pelvetia canaliculata extract can help to improve the skin’s barrier function. The skin barrier is made up of flattened dead skin cells held together by a mixture of lipids. Pelvetia canaliculata extract replenishes these lipids, which helps to keep the skin moisturized by preventing water loss. A strong, intact barrier also helps to protect the skin from harmful environmental factors, such as irritants, allergens, and bacteria.

Alaria Esculenta Extract
Alaria esculenta, also known as badderlocks or winged kelp, is an edible seaweed that is a traditional food in Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and Ireland. Extracts of Alaria esculenta have been incorporated into skin care products because they can provide a variety of benefits. For instance, Alaria esculenta extract has been scientifically proven by in vivo and in vitro testing to stimulate hyaluronic acid synthesis, replenish the skin barrier, provide anti-collagenase and anti-elastase activity, and function as an antioxidant. All of these actions make Alaria esculenta extract an ideal ingredient for anti-aging skin care treatments.

Codium Tomentosum Extract
Codium tomentosum, also known as velvet horn or spongeweed, is a species of green seaweed in the family Codiaceae that can be found in many locations throughout the world. It is spongy with the texture of felt.

Codium tomentosum extract is rich in vitamin A, which is beneficial to the skin because it encourages healthy skin cell production. More specifically, vitamin A works in the deep layers of skin by stimulating fibroblasts, the cells responsible for developing tissue that keeps skin firm and healthy. Without enough vitamin A, the skin becomes weakened, causing problems ranging from dryness to wounds that heal more slowly. Therefore, Codium tomentosum extract can help to promote skin that is healthy, firm, and moisturized.

Jania Rubens Extract
Native to European waters, Jania rubens is a calcified red alga that has a rose-red coloration. It grows on rocks near the surface exposed to the light or in sandy basins. In skin care products, Jania rubens extract provides moisturization and protection due to its high concentration of minerals and trace elements. In fact, Jania rubens has a concentration of minerals and trace elements 20,000 to 40,000 times greater than that of seawater. Jania rubens extract is also used in skin whitening and hydrating products.

Plankton Extract
Plankton are the diverse collection of organisms, such as bacteria, archaea, protozoa, and algae, that live in large bodies of water and are unable to swim against a current. The plankton that is used to make plankton extract in skin care products is generally of the algae variety. Plankton extract has a rich composition of vitamins and minerals, and may also provide moisture-binding properties when applied to the skin. However, there is no research showing plankton extract has any benefit for skin.

Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract
Padina pavonica, commonly known as Peacock’s tail, is a brown alga found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea. In skin care products, Padina pavonica thallus extract is thought to function as an anti-pollution active ingredient that protects the skin from environmental pollutants. Additionally, one manufacturer of Padina pavonica thallus extract claims that it can improve skin resistance by stimulating the synthesis of calcium-dependent cellular structures, such as desmosomes and keratins, which results in stronger cell cohesion.

Gelidium Cartilagineum Extract
Gelidium cartilagineum is a species of red alga that is said to help reduce the appearance of cellulite when applied to the skin. According to the manufacturer, Gelidium cartilagineum extract has the ability to stimulate lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fats. In vivo testing demonstrated that a topical formulation containing Gelidium cartilagineum extract, as well as other active ingredients, exerted a slimming effect compared with a placebo. Therefore, Gelidium cartilagineum extract may be able to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Hypnea Musciformis (Algae) Extract
Hypnea musciformis is a species of red alga that is rich in galactans (chains of the sugar galactose). Galactans are believed to protect the skin from deleterious damages caused by cellular and tissular glycation, according to one manufacturer of Hypnea musciformis extract. Glycation occurs when sugars enter the circulation and attach themselves to the amino groups of tissue proteins, such as collagen, rearranging their structure into something called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As a result, AGEs cause once healthy collagen fibers to lose their elasticity, thereby becoming rigid, more brittle, and prone to breakage. By neutralizing AGEs, Hypnea musciformis extract reinforces the tissue functionality and helps the skin to maintain its elasticity, resulting in a more youthful appearance.

Gelidiella Acerosa (Algae) Extract
Gelidiella acerosa is a species of red alga that is used as a source of phycocolloids, primarily agar and carrageenan. According to a 2018 publication in the journal Cosmetics, these phycocolloids are water-soluble polysaccharides, mainly used to thicken aqueous solutions, to make gels of variable degrees of firmness, to produce water-soluble films, and to stabilize products.

Alteromonas Ferment Extract
Alteromonas is a genus of Proteobacteria, a major phylum of gram-negative bacteria. It can be found in seawater either in the open ocean or in the coast. Alteromonas ferment extract is used in skin care products because it has a structure consistent with that of a polysaccharide. Polysaccharides have exceptional water-binding properties that enable them to absorb and hold moisture when applied to the skin. Additionally, polysaccharides play a vital role in repair and rejuvenation of the skin. Alteromonas ferment extract is also said to possess anti-inflammatory activity. Due to these properties, Alteromonas ferment extract is an excellent ingredient for anti-aging and moisturizing skin care products.

Laminaria Digitata Extract
Laminaria digitata, also known as Oarweed, is a tough, leathery, dark brown alga. It contains a rich supply of compounds, such as polygalactosides, fucose polymers, and ursolic acid, that provide several benefits to the skin. Polygalactosides react with the outer surface of the skin and the ion-ion interaction forms a protective moisturizing complex. Fucose polymers are hygroscopic substances that hydrate the skin by drawing in water. Ursolic acid is a pentacyclic triterpenoid that is known to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Overall, Laminaria digitata extract is a versatile ingredient that is especially useful for moisturizing the skin.

Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract
Native to the cold Antarctic Ocean, Pseudoalteromonas is a genus of marine bacteria with many different species. In 1988, a new species named Pseudoalteromonas Antarctica was isolated from mud samples collected from the inlet Admiralty Bay, on King George Island, Antarctica. During growth, this species of bacteria produces an exopolymer of glycoproteins believed to help the bacteria retain water, adhere to surfaces, and withstand the extreme cold. Its protective function in nature has been applied in beauty products to regenerate and protect the skin.

In skin care products, Pseudoalteromonas ferment extract promotes skin regeneration by stimulating keratinocyte growth and fibroblast adhesion. In vitro testing found that this extract could increase the production of collagen and elastin, which results in wrinkle reduction. In vivo testing revealed that Pseudoalteromonas ferment extract could increase skin hydration in cold weather and also decrease the depth of wrinkles around the eyes. Lastly, Pseudoalteromonas ferment extract is said to be ideal for oily and combination skin because in can reduce excess sebum (oil) production, leading to less shininess and smaller pores.

Corallina Officinalis Extract
Corallina officinalis is a species of red seaweed that forms calcium carbonate deposits within its cells, making this seaweed very rigid. It can be ground into a fine powder and incorporated into skin care products, where it functions as an exfoliant. Using products with Corallina officinalis extract will gently and safely remove dead and loose cells from the skin surface, resulting in a brighter complexion.

The high concentration of calcium found in Corallina officinalis extract helps to maintain the skin’s barrier function since calcium is known to regulate lipid barrier processes. Calcium also controls the rate of cell division in the epidermis. High concentrations of upper epidermal calcium thereby cause rapid cell turnover, which results in skin that appears healthier with less imperfections (i.e. wrinkles, age spots, etc.)

Porphyridium Cruentum Extract
Porphyridium cruentum is a species of red alga in the family Porphyridiophyceae that is rich in fatty acids, lipids, cell-wall polysaccharides, and pigments. There is research showing components of Porphyridium cruentum contain the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid and the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, with are both very beneficial to the skin. For example, eicosapentaenoic acid has the ability to regulate the skin’s oil production, which is helpful for those with acne prone skin. Additionally, eicosapentaenoic acid provides anti-aging benefits by increasing the expression of collagen and elastin fibers. Arachidonic acid offers skin-healing and moisturizing properties. Lastly, the polysaccharides found in Porphyridium cruentum extract are able to attract and retain water, which helps to maintain skin hydration.

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