I’m a fan of the ocean, whether it’s splashing in the waves or slathering some marine ingredients onto my skin. These relatively new and sustainable extracts contain some pretty surprising benefits for the skin, but they’re pretty new, which means we often don’t know as much about them as we do about more establish ingredients (Cosmetic Design US). As much as I love new ingredients, I also love to see the proof behind them shown in scientific studies.
One of the most recent ingredient launches was Clinique’s Mitostime in Clinique Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream ($74.99). And it’s not just in Clinique’s product. It can also be found in Fixx Stem Cell Serum ($27.95).
Mitostime is another name for the extract of Laminaria digitata, which is a type of brown algae (MSDS). There’s plenty of excitement over this novel ingredient, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lot of research on it.
The Claims about Mitostime
This brown algae extract has been said to increase cell energy, which means that it will help increase the production of collagen and elastin, firming skin and slowing the aging process, and also helps skin retain water (Cosmetic Design Europe, New Beauty). It’s also said to help protect mitochondrial DNA.
This, in theory, is a great way to slow the aging process. After maturation, which happens around age 21, you lose about one percent of your collagen every year (Cosmetic Dermatology). This means your skin is less firm and less elastic. And sun exposure speeds that up. UV-irradiation increases the number of matrix metalloproteinases, which degrade collagen. If Mitostime does what its manufacturers claim, it would be an excellent part of an anti-aging regime.
What Science Says about Mitostime
In an in vitro study, researchers found that one kind of extract of Laminaria digitata was able to increase the basal cellular and mitochondrial respiration of skin cells (Personal Care Magazine). This, in turn, increased the metabolism and ATP production, as well as protein synthesis. Essentially, in a Petri dish, Laminaria digitata increased cell energy, which is an argument for its usage in anti-aging cosmetics.
Another in vitro study on a different brown algae extract, flucoidan, found that application to cells can protect collagen cells. It does this by increasing the rate at which matrix metalloproteinases, which degrade collagen, interact with their inhibitors, meaning that it works by preserving collagen (Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics).
Unfortunately, there haven’t been many more studies on brown algae, and there are hardly any on Laminaria digitata. And I couldn’t find any in vivo studies on Mitostime to see what it would do on human skin. Until we know that, Mitostime is certainly a promising ingredient, but I’m careful about believing the hype until I see more results.
Nonetheless, there are few studies about it being a bad ingredient. So if you like trying something before your friends, this is definitely one to explore.
With few studies, Mitostime is a promising ingredient, but there’s no guarantee that it will have super powerful effects on your skin. Not only does limited research not allow us to understand how well the brown algae works on human skin, we also don’t understand how well it works in particular quantities. Still, the early studies are promising and show that this ingredient could be very beneficial (and there aren’t studies showing negative effects as of yet), so if you like trying new things, it could be an exciting ingredient to try out.