Water comprises over 70% of the Earth’s surface and is the home of a considerable amount of organisms that are continuously adapting to their varying surroundings. The seas and oceans entail a great variety of algae with potential skin care benefits and also of microorganisms able to produce specific metabolites that in turn help benefit the skin in different ways.
By exploring several marine environments from different locations, a selection of sustainable cosmetic ingredients was obtained and presented under the concept of Marine Beauty.
The wide diversity of temperatures, salinity, and other characteristics of the world’s waters are responsible for the great diversity of organisms inhabiting them. Algae represent one of the major forms of life and have been acknowledged since ancient times for their medical and skin care benefits. The marine environment is also the habitat of a wide assortment of microorganisms that produce different secondary metabolites for adaptation to their particular environment, which at the same time are used for cosmetic purposes as a way to improve the skin condition. With this in mind, a subaquatic expedition around the world, in search of marine innovative cosmetic ingredients, started.
Beginning the journey in Mediterranean waters
The Agua Amarga salt marsh in Costa Blanca, Alicante (Spain) is the origin of the first ingredient that we encounter. Cellynkage™ marine ingredient (INCI name: Propanediol, Water (Aqua), Saccharide Isomerate) consists of an exopolysaccharide (EPS) obtained through biotechnology from the microorganism Halomonas eurihalina inhabiting that geographical area. The ingredient is known to help improve the skin intercellular signallingexchange, through direct communication via gap junctions and also through crosstalk, to restore the loss of homeostasis in both mature and menopausal skin
The rejuvenating effect was tested on 20 menopausal women who applied a cream containing 2% of a solution with saccharide isomerate, twice a day for 56 days. At the end of the treatment, the ingredient showed to increase epidermal thickness by 15% (p<0.05) and collagen density by 2.4%. It also resulted in an improvement of 113% in microrelief structure compared to placebo, for a more regular meshing and better-organised appearance (Fig 1). Finally, a significant improvement in skin homogeneity of 7.9% (p<0.01) was obtained, indicating a decrease in irregularities that worsen the skin’s smoothness.
Discovering the Atlantic Spanish Islands
The North American and European Atlantic coasts and islands, including the Canary archipelago, are the habitat of the brown seaweed with the latin name Fucus vesiculosus, bladderwrack. Actiphyte™ bladderwrack consists of the extract of this algae, which can grow in different environments ranging from rocky shores with harsh waves to saline lagoons.
Traditionally, bladderwrack was topically applied to treat burns and insect bites, but also to counteract the ageing signs of the skin. In traditional medicine, it was also used as a treatment for obesity and to reduce the accumulation of cellulite.
In skin care, and according to literature, the seaweed may work as an anti-cellulite ingredient due to its ability to inhibit adipogenesis attributed to the presence of sulfated polysaccharide fucoidan and iodine.1, 2 Besides, fucoidan has also been studied for its contribution to improve skin elasticity for a firmer body.1 Bladderwrack also helps offer photoprotection for a reduced lipid peroxidation, mainly thanks to its compounds fucoxanthin and sulfated polyshaccarides.3, 4 All these benefits make it a suitable ingredient for slimming and anti-cellulite preparations aiming to obtain a smoother silhouette.
Dipping into the French waters of Brittany
Farther north, we find the Aber Wrac’h estuary in Brittany, which is a particular region in France where salty water from the Atlantic joins the fresh water from rivers and rain. This creates an extreme environment for its inhabitants that had to develop special structures and mechanisms to survive, including the production of EPS. Hyanify marine ingredient (INCI name: Water (Aqua), Propanediol, Disodium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Saccharide Isomerate, Sodium Phosphate, Glyceryl Caprylate) is an EPS obtained via biotechnological fermentation of a marine γ-proteobacteria strain, isolated from the surface of a Laminaria algain this estuary. This biotechnological ingredient contributes to stimulate hyaluronic acid synthesis, which is decreased during ageing, and offer a replenishing effect to the skin.
The efficacy of the active ingredient was evaluated on a panel of 19 volunteers with nasolabial folds of moderate intensity, who applied a cream containing 1% of the cosmetic ingredient, twice a day. Before the first application and after 14 and 28 days, skin topography was assessed by FOITS. Further evaluations with fringe projection 3D images allowed the calculation of different wrinkle parameters. At the end of the treatment, the ingredient showed to reduce maximum wrinkle depth by 19.6% (**p<0.01) and average wrinkle depth by 18.5% (**p<0.01). Wrinkle circumference, area and volume were also reduced by 15.3% (*p<0.05), 17.2% (**p<0.01) and 27.0% (**p<0.01) respectively. Silicon patterns and digital images facilitated the visualisation of this replenishing effect and rejuvenation (Fig 2).
Exploring the Celtic Sea
In the rocky coasts of the Celtic Sea dwells the red algae Irish moss, with the Latin name Chondrus crispus. Actiphyte™ Irish moss is the extract of this seaweed that commonly inhabits intertidal zones and tide pools.
This algae was traditionally believed to act as an emollient to improve the appearance of chapped skin, being also considered a folk remedy for many health ailments.
According to literature, Irish moss is known to be the major source of the linear sulfated polysaccharide carrageenan, with multiple cosmetic benefits associated to it. Carrageenan is known to offer moisturising benefits, and this ability to hold moisture also contributes to improve skin softness.5 Carrageenan is also believed to enhance lipolysis, being a candidate to act as a coadjuvant in anti-cellulite treatments.5, 6 Besides its main moisturising ability, Irish moss can also be used in formulations for its emollient properties, especially in hair and nails, due to its ability to bind to keratin fibres.6
Drifting through the North Sea
The British islands are the habitat of the brown seaweed Neptune kelp with the Latin name Laminaria saccharina. Actiphyte™ neptune kelp represents the extract of this algae, which is believed to grow in deep sheltered areas with calm cold waters.
Neptune kelp was historically used in medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, all these properties being suitable for skin prone to acne.
According to literature, this algae could act as a 5α-reductase inhibitor, helping reduce sebum content of the skin surface and offering a more mattified complexion.7 The presence of sulfated polysaccharides may also contribute in reducing inflammation, helping soothe the skin and decreasing inflammation due to acne.8 The fact that it can also present possible antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, leads to this seaweed being considered a great candidate for oily and acne-prone skin.
Diving into tropical clear waters
Moving to warmer waters in the Caribbean, we come across the island of Bermuda, home of a marine sponge that can be associated with a microorganism of the Bacillus sp., known to produce metabolites with a wide range of biological activities. Actigym™ marine ingredient (INCI name: Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Bacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract) is a low molecular weight extracellular substance obtained by biotechnology from this microorganism. The cosmetic ingredient helps provide similar effects to endurance exercise training by increasing adiponectin release and enhancing mitochondrial activity, for an improved silhouette definition.
The body toning efficacy was assessed on two groups of 20 female volunteers with sedentary lifestyles. A first panel of volunteers applied a cream containing 5% of a solution with bacillus/soybean ferment extract without performing any physical activity. A second group applied the same active cream and performed exercise following a specific training programme. The volunteers applied the creams twice a day in their arms, abdomen and thighs and the results were then evaluated after 28 and 56 days of treatment. At the end of the treatment with the active cream, a reduction in abdomen, thighs and arm contour was achieved. After only 28 days, abdomen contour decreased up to 2.8 cm, reaching a 3.1 cm reduction when combined with exercise, helping corroborate its ability to improve body silhouette appearance (Fig 3).
Cruising the cold ocean of Antarctica
Switching from warm to ice-cold waters, we reach Antarctica, where different microorganisms such as the bacterial strain Pseudoalteromonas antarcticaNF3 live. From this extremophile strain and through biotechnology, the glycoprotein Antarcticine® marine ingredient (INCI name: Water (Aqua), Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Caprylyl Glycol) was obtained. The ingredient was found to assist in protecting the skin from low temperatures and to minimise the cutaneous ageing process.
The potential cryoprotective and antiageing effects were evaluated on a clinical study with 20 female volunteers presenting wrinkles on the face and signs of facial dryness. The subjects applied a cream with 1% of a solution with pseudoalteromonas ferment extract on one hemi-face and a placebo cream on the other, twice a day for 30 days. Then, they were asked to spend an hour a day outdoors under cold weather conditions. Different parameters were evaluated at selected times of the study. At the end of the treatment, an increase in hydration of 14.8% (p<0.001) was obtained, together with a 14.7% (p<0.001) decrease in TEWL. A firming activity was also achieved with a reduction in maximal deformation of 9.2% (p<0.001) and an increase in overall elasticity of 6.1% (p<0.001). Another parameter evaluated was skin redness caused by the irritant cold weather, obtaining a reduction in erythema index of 4.5% (p<0.01). Finally, skin profilometry was evaluated by a 3D scanner, with results that revealed a reduction in wrinkle depth and volume of 10.6% (p<0.01) and 9.3% (p<0.1) respectively, being further supported by digital images (Fig 4).
Travelling all the way to New Zealand
In the southwestern Pacific, in the coasts of New Zealand, the green algae sea lettuce with the Latin name Ulva lactucais believed to have its origins. Actiphyte™ sea lettuce is the extract of this algae, which usually lives attached to rocks in shallow and brackish waters, but is also found free-floating in sheltered aquatic environments.
In traditional medicine, sea lettuce was believed to alleviate discomfort and to assist in the treatment of conditions such as fever and sunstroke.
In terms of its cosmetic properties and according to literature, the seaweed can act as a promising radical scavenging and antiinflammatory agent, expecting it to alleviate irritated skin. It may also assist in counteracting skin damage and it may present anti-ageing properties.9
Sea lettuce could thus be taken into consideration for its expected soothing effects when formulating for the most delicate skin types.
Ending the tour in the Sea of Japan
Finally, crossing the North Pacific Ocean, we encounter the waters that surround Japan. In the intertidal and subtidal zones to a depth of 15-20 metres lives the native large brown algae called wakame with the Latin name Undaria pinnatifida. Actiphyte™ wakame corresponds to the extract of this seaweed.
Wakame is commonly used as an edible seaweed mostly in soups and salad, especially in Japan. It was also historically believed to present anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antivirus and anti-obesity properties among others.
When applied on the skin and according to literature, wakame is expected to present skin brightening effects, mostly due to its content in fucoxanthin, able to reduce pigmentation.10 The seaweed may also present elastase, collagenase and glycation inhibition properties, helping reduce skin degeneration and promoting the formation of new extracellular matrix proteins.11 The algae is also known to assist in soothing the skin after inflammation.12 Regardless the several cosmetic properties that wakame may offer, it represents an ideal partner in formulations aiming for a fair complexion.
The aforementioned proposal of Marine Beauty encompasses a careful selection of cosmetic ingredients from different origins inside the marine environment. Mainly divided into two categories, biotechnological ingredients and algae extracts, they have all been chosen to provide a broad range of cosmetic benefits to target the different needs of all skin types. This assortment was possible thanks to an ongoing exploration of the seas, which can be considered as one of the main natural and sustainable sources of benefits for the skin
1. Burlando B, Verotta L, Cornara L, Bottini-Massa E. Bladderwrack. Herbal Principles in Cosmetics: Properties and Mechanisms of Action. 82-86, 2010
2. Kim KJ, Lee OH, Lee BY. Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide, inhibits adipogenesis through the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Life Sciences2010; 86: 791-797.
3. Peng J, Yuan JP, Wu CF, Wang JH. Fucoxanthin, a Marine Carotenoid Present in Brown Seaweeds and Diatoms: Metabolism and Bioactivities Relevant to Human Health. Mar Drugs2011; 9(10):1806-1828.
4. Rodriguez-Jasso R, Mussattol SI, Pastrana L, Aguilar CN, Teixeira JA. Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of sulphated polysaccharides extracted from Fucus vesiculosus using different hydrothermal processes, Chemical Papers2014; 68(2):203-209.
5. Goldfaden G, Goldfaden R. Unique Peptide Repairs Aging Skin, Life Extension Magazine 2013.
6. Burlando B, Verotta L, Cornara L, Bottini-Massa E. Irish moss. Herbal Principles in Cosmetics: Properties and Mechanisms of Action. 217-219, 2010.
7. Voegeli R et al. 5α-Reductase and Its Inhibitors. Acne and its therapy, Dermatology: Clinical & basic science series2007; 40.14:167-198.
8. Croci D, Cumashi A, Ushakova NA, et al. Fucans, but Not Fucomannoglucuronans, Determine the Biological Activities of Sulfated Polysaccharides from Laminaria saccharina Brown Seaweed. PLoS One.2011 28;6(2).
9. Bijlwan A., Sharma MK, Thakur T, Kush L. Potential of Marine Biomolecules As The Promising Life-Style Drugs, International Journal Of Innovative Research & Development 2013; 2(9):9-13.
10.Shimoda H. et al. Anti-pigmentary activity of fucoxanthin and its influence on skin mRNA expression of melanogenic molecules. J Pharm Pharmacol.62(9):1137-45, 2010.
11.Fitton JH. Topical Benefits of Two FucoidantRich Extracts from Marine Macroalgae, Cosmetics2015; 2(2):66-81.
12.Khan M. Anti-inflammatory activities of methanol extracts from various seaweed species, Journal of Environmental Biology 2008; 29(4):465-469.
ACTIPHYTE™, CELLYNKAGE™, HYANIFY™, ACTIGYM™ and ANTARCTICINE® are owned by The Lubrizol Corporation or its affiliates. ©2017 The Lubrizol Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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