Seeking a new kind of skincare under the sea. Discovering new compounds.
Floating on the ocean’s surface without getting sunburned or being immersed in a highly salty environment without suffering moisture loss are among the achievements of marine microorganisms that could translate into dermocosmetic ingredients with great promise. Marine research has traditionally run into two obstacles: cost and technical difficulties in accessing the majority of these valuable resources. However, the immense potential of discovering new compounds for the treatment of skin conditions has generated a keen interest in the marine environment. This is not only due to the water’s beneficial properties, but its contents.
The challenges involved in underwater exploration have had a significant impact on harnessing the full potential of marine biotechnology across different sectors. One clear example is the difference between naturally derived terrestrial products and those of marine origin and their use in medicine or clinical trials. However, the biological and chemical diversity of the oceans is far greater than that of terrestrial ecosystems. This makes the sea an ideal source for new active ingredients with various industrial applications, from the pharmaceutical industry’s development of active food ingredients to dermocosmetic products.
The concept of marine biodiversity usually brings to mind a coral reef brimming with different species of invertebrates, algae and fish. The greatest diversity found under the sea however is in the realm of microorganisms.
Although the majority of bacteria that live in the ocean are alphaproteobacteria or cyanobacteria, their use in the production of dermocosmetic ingredients is limited by their reduction in biomass and production of secondary metabolites compared to actinobacteria or fungi. Even so, the focus on marine biodiversity in dermocosmetics provides us with a source of new ingredients that is already yielding interesting results in a wide variety of applications.