The promise of marine molecules as cosmetic active ingredients
The marine environment represents an underexploited resource for the discovery of novel products, despite its high level of biological and chemical diversity. With increasing awareness of the harmful effects of chronic ultraviolet exposure, and a universal desire to improve cosmetic appearance, the market for new cosmetic ingredients is growing, and current trends have generated a greater demand for products sourced from the environment. A growing number of novel molecules from marine flora and fauna exhibit potent and effective dermatological activities. Secondary metabolites isolated from macroalgae, including carotenoids and polyphenols, have demonstrated antioxidant, anti‐ageing and anti‐inflammatory activities. In addition, marine extremophilic bacteria have recently been shown to produce bioactive exopolymeric molecules, some of which have been commercialized. Available data on their activities show significant antioxidant, moisturizing and anti‐ageing activities, but a more focussed investigation into their mechanisms and applications is required. This review surveys the reported biological activities of an emerging and growing portfolio of marine molecules that show promise in the treatment of cosmetic skin problems including ultraviolet damage, ageing and cutaneous dryness.
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