You’ve probably heard of green algae and blue-green algae and all the health benefits they bestow, but there’s a new algae stealing the spotlight, and its potential as an anti-aging skin savior is promising.
Have you heard of snow algae? It shines green in the spring when it’s engaged in energy production, and turns red with carotenoid pigments to protect it from high levels of ultraviolet radiation as winter approaches. It thrives on towering snow-lined mountains and can survive freezing temperatures and UV rays that other plants cannot. Scientists have long been fascinated by this phenomenon of red snow, and their research is revealing snow algae’s ability to enhance longevity, rejuvenate skin, and even repair DNA.
Snow Algae’s Effects at the Cellular Level
Scientists have discovered that snow algae activates two key anti-aging mechanisms that help repair DNA: it stimulates production of the Klotho longevity gene and increases the cellular energy of the anti-aging enzyme AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase).
AMPK helps protect against aging by removing cellular debris that causes low-grade chronic inflammation and by protecting against cellular stress and oxidation. AMPK activity tapers off as we age, but snow algae has been shown to help prevent this decline. One study revealed that snow algae increased AMPK activity by 105% in human skin cells. Another in vitro study showed that snow algae stimulated collagen production and suppressed the activity of enzymes responsible for collagen destruction by up to 47% in human fibroblast cells.
Snow Algae’s Effect on the Skin
Snow algae can survive the most brutal of temperatures and the harshest of climates, so researchers explored whether or not it could impart the same benefit to human skin.
Twenty-one men and women ranging in age from 30-57 applied snow algae extract to one side of the face and a placebo extract to the other side of the face 3 times a day for 21 days. During the second week of the study, participants were immersed in the harsh climate of the Alpine mountains. Skin was analyzed for transepidermal water loss before the study began, 14 days in, and at the 21-day end mark. Results showed that the half of the face treated with snow algae had 12% lower water loss than the half of the face receiving the placebo. Snow algae also reduced age spots by 67% after only 21 days!
In a separate clinical trial, researchers applied snow algae to the innerside of the forearm of 20 women between the ages of 40 and 60. They applied a placebo to the women’s other forearm, and after 14 days measured skin hydration with a Corneometer®. Snow algae increased skin hydration 10% more than the placebo did, and exhibited a moisturizing effect in 100% of the participants.
A relatively new anti-aging discovery, snow algae powder is gaining prominence in the mainstream, and we’re expecting to see it become a primary ingredient in many anti-aging skin creams and serums. Keep a lookout!