What does biodiversity have to do with beauty care?

Census in the sea

The diversity of the oceans seems infinite, the ecosystem itself still as unknown as the far side of the moon. Its sensitivity and importance to humans, however, we already suspect, especially when consequences for which humans are responsible, such as rising sea levels, lead to direct impacts on civilization and the economy. Therefore, the Census of Marine Life, which took place between 2000 and 2010, was not only a scientifically driven undertaking, but also a social task of the first order. In a concerted effort by 80 countries and 2,700 scientists, with an enormous investment of infrastructure, money and labor, the “Census” was intended to collect basic information about the biological foundations of the oceans: how great is the actual biodiversity, which species live where, and what does their future look like – on a planet that is increasingly being taken over by humans? What influence do the species themselves exert on the marine ecosystem and also on humans?

The “Census” was still not able to give a concrete figure on the species and types of life that actually exist in the ocean. But the number of known animal species in the sea increased from 230,000 to nearly 250,000, and an extrapolation showed a total of at least one million species and tens or even hundreds of millions of microbial species.

What circuit boards are to computers, biodiversity is to biotechnology.

This impressive diversity also forms the basis for the next great economic cycle, which well-known economists predict will be based on biotechnology, nanotechnology and health skills. We already use only a tiny part of this wealth as food or for cosmetics – mostly unsustainably and moderately intelligently, as the example of the overfishing of many fish stocks shows.

The goal of oceanBASIS, the company that invented the marine natural cosmetic “Oceanwell”, is the sustainable use of this treasure chest for health. Knowledge of the material composition of this biological diversity, but also of the interactions of organism and molecules, is the key to this treasure chest.

What is so special about active ingredients from the sea?

But what is special is not only the diversity of species in the sea – which, by the way, is much higher than on land – what is unique is the intensity of the biological effect of natural substances from marine organisms, because the (bio)chemical mechanisms that marine organisms have developed in the course of evolution are enormously efficient. And they are geared to direct chemical communication or defense, which takes place via the medium of water, i.e. in exactly the same way as the mechanisms in the human body. Inez Linke, Managing Director and Head of Development for Cosmetics at oceanBASIS: “It is fascinating to see that this not only works in our research projects in the laboratory, but also in application. When people tell us that they have never had such a ‘free’ skin feeling as after using Oceanwell, it is a great confirmation. It’s just fun and encourages us to develop more products from marine natural ingredients!” A unique “trick” of the marine active ingredients in Oceanwell is certainly also that the composition of the marine minerals and trace elements is similar to those in human body fluids. They thus act as active ingredient carriers and that makes Oceanwell special.

Especially algae contain in highly concentrated form amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron and much more, which we need for the regeneration of our organism.

How do the active ingredients and care substances get into the Oceanwell products?

The main active ingredients in our products come 1. from our own extracts of ecologically farmed algae, 2. from sea water of medicinal quality and 3. from a pioneering technological work resulting in a marine collagen with the highest water binding capacity. By using different extraction techniques, we can control which active ingredients we extract from the various algae. Algae are real miracle bags when it comes to so-called secondary plant substances. They synthesize an immense variety of biologically active substances that develop different functions – so depending on the application, we extract either antioxidants, such as photosynthetically active pigments (xantophylls, phycobillins, etc.), polyphenols or vitamins. Without going into detail (which has to do with the cascading forwarding of electrons): it is precisely the combination of these antioxidants that neutralizes oxidative stress factors in a particularly sustainable and long-lasting manner. Or we focus our extraction on special algae sugars, peptides and amino acids, which, in combination with minerals and trace elements, deliver the concentrated power of moisture and essential nutrients to and into the skin cells. For this purpose, we have developed a globally unique fermentation process (we call it “MAEE – Macro Algae Excelling Extraction”) to get the best out of the algae.

Carefully matched to the respective application, the active ingredients are selected and embedded in the simplest possible basic formulations with high-quality raw materials, such as shea butter, jojoba oil and almond oil. All ingredients naturally meet the high requirements that are placed on all NaTrue-certified natural cosmetic products. The formulas all come from our own laboratory and are developed and tested together with dermatologists and cosmeticians.

What are the active ingredients and what good they do in everyday life?

Many hundreds of active ingredients from algae are already known and it would be going too far to acknowledge them all with their respective effects. After all, many have already been studied in scientific papers and described in terms of their pharmaceutical effects. The observed effects against cancer, pathogens, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and many more. The therapeutic potential is therefore very large, but so far only a few marine active ingredients have found their way to patients as therapeutic agents due to the long and expensive drug developments. But you don’t have to think so narrowly – the health-promoting potential of marine algae with their diverse bioactive substances can also be used via daily nutrition and skin care.

This post is also available in: German