I’m Calling It: Ectoin Is 2024's Most Buzzy Plumping Skincare Ingredient

Dermatologists call it your complexion's "knight in shining armor."

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I spend a lot of my day looking at skincare formulas and ingredient lists. While the usual suspects (vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, etc) are still omnipresent as ever, I’ve noticed one particular ingredient, ectoin, has become increasingly common. It’s a new ingredient to me — a rare situation for me given how frequently I test beauty products — so in the interest of science, journalism, and curiosity, I spoke to dermatologist and founder of Ava MD Dermatology and Skin Five Medical Spas, Dr. Ava Shamban. 

Ectoin is “a form of peptide (short amino acid proteins) that processes important skin cell communications,” Dr. Shamban tells InStyle. It “influences responses to cellular protection and regulation of hydration within the skin.” Thanks to these properties, Dr. Shamban calls ectoin “a knight in shining armor for your skin.” It protects your skin from chemicals, UV exposure, and environmental stressors. “Ectoin is a super protector… always standing guard, helping to support cellular integrity.” 

That’s the big picture, but to get more specific, ectoin “reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and boosts skin hydration.” This means that not only will it prevent your skin’s natural moisture from escaping, but it will also help the moisturizing skincare products you use last longer and work better. Lastly, Dr. Shamban says it “plumps skin” and “protects it from free radicals and other forms of cellular damage that contribute to the visible signs of aging.” 

Needless to say, we all need to get our hands on this stuff. Below, check out three dermatologist-approved ectoin makeup and skincare products. 

Biossance Squalane and Ectoin Overnight Rescue Deep Repair Night Cream

Sephora Biossance Squalane + Ectoin Overnight Rescue Deep Repair Night Cream


Buy Now $68

The other products on the list utilize the skin-protecting benefits of ectoin, but it’s the titular and hero ingredient in Biossance’s new overnight treatment which is why Dr. Shamban calls this “a great defender.” 

Squalane and peptides play a supporting but still vital role in this formula. They penetrate past the superficial layers of the skin to deliver moisture and give the appearance of plumper, less wrinkled skin. Ectoin, meanwhile, “seals in the moisture” while “correcting against damage from environmental aggressors and stressors.” You should wake up with strong and soothed skin. 

R.E.M. Beauty Lunar Magic Blurring Primer

r.e.m. beauty lunar magic blurring primer

r.e.m. beauty

Buy on Rembeauty.com $29

Ariana Grande’s R.E.M. Beauty Lunar Magic Blurring Primer is a skincare-makeup hybrid product with two main objectives. The first is to reduce the severity and appearance of pores, wrinkles, and other imperfections. The second is to create a smooth canvas for makeup that extends its wear. Dr. Shamban has not used this product herself but she says “it’s a great way to start the day” thanks to a smart formula that includes “hydration providing algae, skin-protecting ectoin, and brightening vitamin C.” 

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DermInfusions Fill and Repair Serum

Sephora Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DermInfusions Fill + Repair Serum with Hyaluronic Acid


Buy Now $75

Dr. Shamban calls this serum “a winner” thanks to a combination of multi-molecular weighted hyaluronic acids, amino acids, niacinamide, and ectoin. Though she notes that a topical product is never a true alternative to something like filler, she says Dr. Dennis Gross’ DermInfusions Serum “supports skin barrier functions, seals in moisture… and plumps, hydrates, and firms skin.” This anti-aging formula “certainly improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” she says. 

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