Ectoin is the new kid (read: skin care ingredient) on the block. Squinting at your screen and thinking; ‘Ectoin? Say what?’ You’re not alone… but this skin care superhero might just replace hyaluronic acid as your hydration go-to.
WHAT IS ECTOIN
Ectoin is an extremolyte, which is *mini science lesson incoming* a small group of molecules that protect plants and organisms living in the harshest, most hostile environments on the planet (think: deserts, the deepest parts of the ocean and so on). Ectoin helps these things to not only survive, but to thrive, by forming a protective shield around them… and *news flash* it can provide these benefits for the skin too, protecting your complexion from environmental stressors and keeping the look of the skin barrier strengthened and healthy.
WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID
For those still new to the skin care game, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient (a group of sugar molecules called polysaccharides, to be exact) that holds 1,000 times its weight in water — dramatically increasing your skin’s hydration levels. This then has a knock-on effect, improving other common skin concerns, such as reducing the appearance of redness as well as fine lines and wrinkles, plus boosting the look of skin’s elasticity. And that’s why it’s been as popular as it has for so many years, appearing in not just beauty products, but supplements, powders and gummies too.
But hyaluronic acid isn’t the only ingredient to have on your hydration radar… and this is where ectoin comes in.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HYALURONIC ACID AND ECTOIN
Ectoin is similar to hyaluronic acid in that they both bind to the skin and help it to retain hydration. Here’s where they differ, though. Unlike hyaluronic acid, ectoin offers the advantages of other skin care ingredients on top. How? Alongside its protective, bodyguard-like qualities, ectoin is similar to niacinamide in that it helps to soothe and nourish skin. It also improves the look of and repair your skin barrier (just like ceramides do), and promotes increased skin elasticity, brightness and bounciness (akin to vitamin C). Already ticking off almost all the needs we have from a single skin care ingredient, there’s even more good news to be had…
WHAT IS ECTOIN SKIN CARE
ECTOIN SKIN BENEFITS
First off, let’s chat about how your skin is feeling right now. If it’s on the dry side, feeling a tad sensitive or you’re bemoaning the look of redness to your flat mate in the mirror (because, same) ectoin is for you. And it’s important to adapt your skin care routine according to your varying skin concerns, so that a) you don’t continue suffering, b) you don’t damage the look of your skin barrier and c) your skin stays comfortable, happy and healthy.
This all-rounder can help other skin types too. Oiliness? Ectoin is super-hydrating but not greasy, and it’s also non-comedogenic, so it won’t block your pores. Combination skin? It has brilliant balancing properties, supplying hydration without contributing to oiliness or excess sebum. Mature? And its ability to protect the skin from environmental stressors allows for the reduction of the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
WHY HAVEN’T I HEARD OF ECTOIN BEFORE
Ectoin hasn’t necessarily been at the forefront of the beauty industry… until now. Dermatologists and brand founders (like Dr Dennis Gross and Dr Sam Bunting) have discussed the ingredient on TikTok, and brands including Mutha, Dr.Jart+ and Biossance have explained the wonders of ectoin in their products on Instagram.
Paula’s Choice called ectoin ‘the ingredient to watch’, and Google searches for it have increased by a whopping 163% over the past six months. We’ve got no doubt; ectoin is certainly the ingredient to know right now.
HOW CAN I ADD ECTOIN INTO MY SKIN CARE ROUTINE
If you want to incorporate ectoin into your skin care routine ASAP (and we can’t say we blame you), there’s multiple forms this savvy ingredient comes in, and not just in skin care – as it works wonders on your hair, too. So, if you’re obsessed with serums, can’t live without masks and moisturisers or hot on your hair products, we’ve picked the ectoin staples that will elevate your skin and hair regimen in no time… you can thank us later.