Ectoine is a natural compound, produced in halophilic bacteria (that live in extreme living conditions such as deserts and salt lakes) and in plant species that are also found in deserts and are exposed to extreme dry conditions, temperature changes and high ultraviolet radiation. It is a substance called “osmolyte”, meaning: helps to survive harsh conditions of osmosis. Osmosis is the evaporation of water from a place where it is more concentrated to a place where it is less concentrated. Think about the bacteria living in the Dead Sea and salty lakes: without the ectoin molecule, they would lose their volume and fluids to the environment. Even plants living in extremely dry conditions and exposed to UV radiation benefit from ectoine, which helps them maintain the water system and prevent the chain of damages caused by the dangerous rays of the sun.

The ectoin binds to water molecules and helps maintain their concentration in the organism (bacteria, plants) and even keep the proteins from breaking down. It preserves cell membranes and strengthens them as a protective barrier to the cell and plant tissues.

Dozens of studies over the past decade have revealed many additional properties of this wonderful substance, which have brought it to the world of medicine and cosmetics. In medicine, it is used in eye drops for dryness and allergy and irritation. It preserves eye moisture and acts as a soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredient, also protecting mucous tissues and cell membranes.

Studies have shown that actoin helpssuppress excessive immune responses that have been tested on a number of different immune cells, and these studies have created one of the most common applications of actoin – the treatment of allergic rhinitis. In this case, actoin moisturizes and soothes the irritated mucous membrane of the airways, and also reduces swelling, without side effects. Because of this, it also made its way to certain nasal drops and sprays, in addition to eye drops.

Actoin also stars in the world of cosmetics due to some extremely important effects on the skin. Here ate the most important ones:

  1. It is a highly effective moisturizer – protecting against water loss and keeping the skin’s water supply in a balanced and normal state. Studies have shown that it reduces transepidermal water loss and compared to well-known natural and cosmetic moisturizers, it is stable, effective and has a lasting effect that puts it at the top of the group of moisturizers.
  2. Restores and strengthens the epidermal barrier. Actoin protects cells from damage from surfactants (such as those found in detergents and detergents). It also helps restore the function of an already damaged skin barrier. Studies have shown it to be one of the most effective solutions in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Thanks to its moisture-retaining ability and anti-inflammatory properties, it helped the atopic skin restore the epidermal barrier and relieved symptoms. See for example the study: Ectoine-Containing Cream in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomised, Comparator-Controlled, Intra-Individual Double-Blind, Multi-Center Trialpublished inSkin Pharmacology and Physiology
  3. Protects against damage caused by UVA radiation. Actoin serves the bacteria and plants that produce it, among other things, also in protection against ultraviolet radiation. Research on human cells has shown that actoin protects against the harmful effects ofUVA radiation, which are also associated with skin aging. These are the same long rays that are responsible for damaging the deeper layers of the skin.
  4. Ectoin acts against free radicals. Free radicals are caused by both UVA radiation and exposure to environmental stress and pollution, conditions to which we humans are also exposed.
  5. It turns out that actoin has also been found to help lighten skin spots. In a paper published in the journal Antioxidants, a group of researchers reviewed the effectiveness of actoin in protecting against overproduction of melanin under sun exposure. InThe Skin-Whitening Effects of Ectoine via the Suppression of α-MSH-Stimulated Melanogenesis and the Activation of Antioxidant Nrf2 Pathways in UVA-Irradiated Keratinocytes, they raised at least two possible mechanisms for this interesting effect. First, actoin is an antioxidant and a component that encourages cells to produce other natural antioxidants. Antioxidants interfere with melanin production. Second, actoin resulted in a decrease inα-MSH levels that activate melanocytes.

In conclusion, Ectoine is one of the most important active cosmetic ingredients in repairing, renewing the skin and delaying aging, protecting against UV damage, strengthening the epidermal barrier and maintaining balanced moisture over time.

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