Ectoin description

Ectoin is a synthetic or naturally-derived ingredient that serves as an emollient on skin and can also have a buffering and anti-pollution effect in cosmetic formulas. Chemically, ectoin is considered an osmolyte. What that means for skin is that as an osmolyte, ectoin helps maintain balanced hydration by maintaining the correct water balance in skin. In doing so, skin can better maintain a smooth, soft surface. Newer research indicates ectoin can also help protect skin from environmental stressors related to different types of natural light and pollutants. This is believed to happen in part because of its antioxidant ability as well as what seems to be a natural ability to protect skin from dehydration due to environmental exposure.

Ectoin references

  • Journal of Applied Microbiology, August 2018, pages 457-467
  • Drugs in Context, April 2018, ePublication
  • Scientific Reports, November 2017,ePublication
  • Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, May 2007, ePublication

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated