Ectoin Is The Ingredient That You Should Work Into Your Skin-Care Routine

The skin is like a fingerprint — it's unique to the individual. Every person has different skin needs and problems they'd like to address. Something that works for others might not work for you, or your skin simply needs some more love and that's okay.

No matter what your skin issues and wants may be, everyone needs to moisturize their skin and protect it from outside pollutants like air contamination and sun damage. That being said, you usually need multiple products for that — a moisturizer for hydrating the skin, perhaps an additional cream for protecting the skin's barrier, and the non-negotiable sunscreen for everyday wear.

What if there was a product that could substitute some of those steps in your skincare routine and even enhance the benefits of other ingredients you use? Because there is! If you're on the lookout for a new product or it's simply time to switch up your skincare routine, you may have heard the buzz about the new super ingredient, ectoin.

Ectoin explained

Ectoin, the newly popularized super ingredient in beauty products, has actually been around for a while now. As it creates a protective layer over human mucous membranes, it is frequently found in allergy medication. It is mostly used to treat lung, eye, nose, mouth, and throat conditions. Hence, you've probably already encountered it in some eye drops or a nose spray.

But what is it exactly? "Ectoin is a powerful molecule, known as an extremolyte," Anne Schrötter, global sales and marketing manager for the ingredient supplier Bitop, shares with Vogue. "This is essentially a small molecule that protects micro-organisms from dehydration and environmental stressors, such as UV radiation and extreme temperature changes," she explained.

Ectoin does all this for the skin as well. According to Aanand Geria, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, ectoin "is a natural moisture binder" (via Allure). "It's great for smoothing rough and scaly skin and can reduce inflammation. It also works for lines and wrinkles [by providing] long-term hydration," Geria added.

How to incorporate ectoin into your skin care

The miracle work of ectoin doesn't stop there. Dr. Aanand Geria shares that ectoin also "provides UVA/UVB and visible light protection on a cellular level and improves skin damage." Sunscreen is still a must, though, as ectoin doesn't actively absorb ultraviolet light, Geria emphasizes. So, as far as the skin is concerned, ectoin can not only improve its texture and appearance, but it also provides additional protection from solar damage. It's time to work it into your skincare routine.

That should be easy, as ectoin works well with most common skincare ingredients. Board-certified dermatologist Marissa Garshick, MD, shared with Allure, "Ectoin can work well with other moisturizing ingredients including humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin and barrier-strengthening ingredients like ceramides." Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants, says ectoin is also a great choice for those with more sensitive skin, as it can help weaken the effects of stronger chemicals like AHA, BHA, and retinoids. She recommends using it in the form of a moisturizer or a serum to make the most of its properties. 

If you're already using a fair amount of skincare products and are trying to work ectoin into your routine, remember that micro-dosing skincare by using less product means better results long-term — don't overdo it. Give it time to work its magic.