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Ectoin: The genius ingredient you don't know enough about

Today we will introduce you to ectoin, a versatile ingredient that has clinically proven, outstanding reparative and protective properties and which, in our opinion, is unfairly, rarely mentioned.

Ectoine is an organic compound, an extremolite produced by numerous microorganisms and plants in order to survive extreme conditions . In 1985, it was discovered in the Egyptian desert that under extreme conditions (high temperature, dryness, strong UV radiation, high salinity, osmotic stress) desert halophilic bacteria produce a natural protective component in the outer layer of the cell.

Ectoine can be found in nature in a large number of different bacteria, which produce it precisely for the reasons mentioned earlier. Of course, such an exceptional protective effect on the species that produce it, stimulated numerous researches on the potential application of ectoine in humans. 

Thus, it was discovered that ectoine can stabilize various enzymes under conditions of rapid temperature changes or prevent their degradation by other agents. In addition, it has an extremely protective effect on many different types of cells, even defending them against various toxins.

Another advantage is the suppression of excessive immune reactions tested on several different immune cells, and it was from these studies that one of the most common applications of ectoine - the therapy of allergic rhinitis - emerged. Ectoine in this case moisturizes and soothes the irritated mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, but also reduces the swelling of the respiratory tract, and does not show side effects. For this reason, you can often find it in products such as nose and eye drops.

Scanintegra ectoin

  • It acts as a humectant

Nevertheless, of all the good characteristics and possible applications of ectoine discovered so far, its role in protecting and preserving the normal function of the skin has certainly made its way among the best. Ever since the discovery of ectoine and recognition of its ability to bind water, it has been used as an ingredient in moisturizing products. It is safe to say that ectoin rightfully received this role, taking into account in vivo research that showed that transepidermal water loss is less due to its application. Also, by comparing the stability of the complex of ectoin and water molecules in relation to the complexes of water and glycerol and water molecules and macromolecules, it was proven that ectoin has a better and longer-lasting moisturizing effect , which deserves to be the star of the group of humectants.

  • Restores and strengthens the skin

One of the strongest possible weapons of ectoine is its ability to protect cells from damage by various surfactants present in facial cleansing preparations, but also to help restore the barrier function of severely damaged skin. Therefore, it is not surprising that exactly ectoine could be one of the more effective solutions in the fight against atopic dermatitis. Namely, in one randomized and double-blind study, conducted in several different clinical centers, an exceptional benefit of using ectoine in atopic dermatitis was proven. Thanks to its properties as a humectant and anti-inflammatory agent, ectoine in the form of restoration of the skin barrier and relief of symptoms showed results comparable to the results of conventional forms of therapy in moderate to severe forms of atopic dermatitis.

  • Protects against damage caused by UVA radiation

It was mentioned earlier that ectoine, among other things, serves to protect the bacteria that produce it from radiation. On human cells, in vitro research has proven that ectoine protects against various harmful effects caused by UVA radiation, responsible for damage to the deeper layers of the skin and aging.

At the molecular level, from the perspective of immune components, ectoine affects the overexpression of the ICAM-1 gene. ICAM-1 are glycosylated proteins called "intercellular adhesion molecules" and are constantly present in low concentration on the surface of endothelial cells and cells of the immune system. In the inflammatory process, in the simplest terms, their concentration is increased and is responsible for the realization of cell interactions that will start the inflammatory reaction by bringing the cells of the immune system to the site of inflammation. The frequent occurrence of inflammatory processes can lead to permanent changes in the damaged tissues, which is prevented by the use of ectoine. Likewise, due to the protective effect on the cells, they were less susceptible to visible, physical damage. Certain results also suggest that ectoine can reduce the likelihood of mutations caused by UVA radiation, which causes wrinkles to appear and the texture of the skin to deteriorate. Of course, it is clear that skin cancer also occurs at the level of genes, so it is possible that ectoine could play a greater role than this in the prevention of the same.

With its multifunctionality, ectoin certainly justifies its presence in functional products of preparative cosmetics, and it is also obvious that its potentials are very likely not fully utilized. The most prominent benefits of using ectoine are visible in the reduction of skin damage caused by UVA radiation, restoration of impaired skin function and relief of atopic dermatitis symptoms.

Skintegra Infrared soothing serum

The maximum recommended concentration of ectoine in cosmetic products is 2%, and some Skintegra products also contain this concentration.

Infrared : This potent serum is enriched with ectoine, panthenol, niacinamide and a plant complex, which makes it ideal for regenerating sensitive and dehydrated skin.

Architect : Serum emulsion for skin showing signs of aging and damage such as lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. It smoothes the skin, reduces wrinkles and evens out its tone.

Solar I : In addition to protecting against a wide spectrum of radiation, thanks to ectoine, this moisturizing fluid strengthens the skin's protective barrier and additionally contributes to preserving the skin from the effects of UVA rays.


  1. Bownik A, Stepniewska Z. Ectoine as a promising protective agent in humans and animals. Arch Hig Rada Toxikol 2016, 67, 260-265
  2. Graf R et al. The multifunctional role of ectoine as a natural cell protectant. Clinics in Dermatology. 2008, 26, 326–333
  3. Marini A et al. Ectoine-Containing Cream in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomised, Comparator-Controlled, Intra-Individual Double-Blind, Multi-Center Trial. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2014, 27, 57–65
  4. Buenger J, Driller H. Ectoin: An Effective Natural Substance to Prevent UVA-Induced Premature Photoaging. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2004, 17, 232–237
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