As a result, ectoin is able to protect cell membranes from chemical and physical damage, reducing oxidative stress and cell inflammation.

What are ectoin’s skin-care benefits?

Ectoin is a multitasker. It doesn’t just do it all — it does it all well. But it does have certain talents that are particularly impressive. “Ectoin’s superstar ability is protection,” says Dr. Idriss. (We’re picturing a tiny amino acid wearing Secret Service-esque sunglasses.)

Board-certified dermatologist Marissa Garshick, MD, concurs. “Ectoin works to provide a protective shield for the skin,” she says. “By protecting against external stressors, it also offers protection against blue light and pollution.”

But it isn’t just your computer screen against which ectoin defends skin. “It provides UVA/UVB and visible light protection on a cellular level and improves skin damage,” says board-certified dermatologist Aanand Geria, MD. That doesn’t mean it’s a stand-in for sunscreen, though. “Because ectoin is not an active UV filter, it may not be credited as an SPF,” Dr. Geria says. (Currently, the FDA recognizes only 16 mineral and chemical filters as active sunscreen ingredients.)

In addition to being a mini (but mighty) bodyguard for your skin, ectoin has been associated with skin-barrier improvement, transepidermal water loss reduction, and better skin elasticity, according to Koestline. Basically, it offers nearly everything many of us are looking for in a skin-care ingredient.

“It is a natural moisture binder,” says Dr. Geria. “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.” As we said, it does it all. 

What are the best ways to work ectoin into your skin-care routine?

If ectoin is making a great impression, just wait until you see how other ingredients welcome it with open arms. Ectoin plays nicely with almost every imaginable skin-care formula, enhancing the impact of ingredients that share its benefits: “Ectoin can work well with other moisturizing ingredients including humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin and barrier-strengthening ingredients like ceramides,” says Dr. Garshick. At the same time, it also helps to minimize the unwanted side effects of other, harsher ingredients. “It works great when paired with ingredients that cause inflammation or redness like AHA, BHA, and retinoids, to help mitigate their side effects,” says Koestline. 

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