Ectoin is a powerful, small, multi-tasking and natural stress-protection molecule, a so-called extremolyte. From a chemical point of view, it is a cyclic amino acid derivate. Extremolytes protect extremophilic microorganisms and plants from the extreme conditions of their habitats like salt lakes, hot springs, permanent ice or deserts. Ectoin’s skin care properties have been proven by various in-vivo (i.e. tests done on real human skin) studies: its benefits include long-term moisturisation, diminished skin roughness, skin barrier repair and anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties. We get ours from a lovely little company in Germany, where it is produced through biotechnological fermentation from a specific, non-GMO strain of the halophilic bacteria Halomonas elongata. Ectoin is the star of our Balancing Essence and also works its magic in the Calming and Clarifying serums.
Bisabolol is a soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent and has been used in skincare for forever. It’s a colorless, viscous oil that is the main constituent of German chamomile essential oil and is often produced from chamomile. Oh-o, you think – what about all those fragrance components and potential allergens in chamomile, like farnesol? Worry not. The bisabolol we use is organic, and (sustainably) produced from the South American Candeia tree, and contains no farnesol. You’ll find bisabolol in our All-Around Balm.
Oat oil and colloidal oatmeal
We love oats in skin care in every form. Colloidal oatmeal is a light cream coloured, fine powder made from the whole oat grain. The bran layer of the oat contains a high proportion of natural actives, including oat beta-glucan, avenanthramides, oil and protein, all of which are beneficial for cosmetic use on the skin. Colloidal oatmeal soothes and relieves redness, itching and minor skin irritations caused by eczema or skin rashes and is monographed by the FDA as a skin protectant. It reduces TEWL (transepidermal waterloss) and effectively forms physical barrier on the skin surface. The oatmeal we use is made from Finnish oats.
Oat oil has a nearly 50/50 balance of oleic and linoleic acids, making it an excellent calming skin softener for most skin type. We source our oat oil from Fazer, a Finnish family-owned, 126-year-old food and food service company, who produce their oil in Finland, using Finnish oats. The Finnish-ness matters because a) the soil in Finland produces outstanding quality oats and b) it is quite rare for an oil producer to have a 100% local supply chain. Markku, who is head of R&D at the oat mill in Lahtis, tells us he has personally eaten all oat products that Fazer makes – including the oil.