Skincare & dermatology


A growing body of scientific evidence supports the topical use of fucoidans for a variety of skincare applications. 

The research summary below is provided for scientific and educational purposes only.

Skincare & dermatology

High purity, certified organic fucoidans have been studied in a range of potential skincare applications. Both clinical and in vitro studies have investigated two fucoidan extracts produced by Marinova and assessed their efficacy as topical cosmetic ingredients (Fitton, 2015). These investigations have included double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies to measure soothing and protecting properties, wrinkle depth, brightness and skin spot intensity. 

The clinical studies showed that, at very low inclusion rates, the fucoidan extracts improved skin wrinkles in 45% of subjects, were effective at reducing wrinkle visibility in 100% of subjects, and reduced reddening by up to 45% relative to the control group. An expert clinician determined a 60% overall improvement in skin appearance, while 80% of study participants self-reported a visual improvement in skin firmness, tightness and elasticity. 

Two of Marinova's topical fucoidan extracts have been reported to exhibit inhibitory effects on processes linked to skin ageing, including the increased expression of Sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) in vitro. (Fitton, 2015). SIRT1 is associated with genes that coordinate and optimise the functions of cells as they struggle to survive in stressful environments. Increased expression of SIRT1 is thought to activate key anti-ageing mechanisms including those that promote healthy, youthful skin (Serravallo, 2013). Increasing the levels of SIRT1 is suggested to mimic the benefits of caloric restriction, enhancing sugar and lipid metabolism, and maintaining a younger physiology (Graff, 2013). In other studies, SIRT1 stimulating extracts have also been effective in addressing skin ageing [Moreau, 2007].

In vitro data has also reported that high purity fucoidan extracts produced by Marinova effectively inhibit the enzymes collagenase and elastase (Fitton, 2015). Lessening such enzyme activity may assist in the reduction of skin degradation and promote the formation of new skin matrix. The same study outlines a number of potential skincare applications for fucoidan as a soothing ingredient.

A polyphenol-rich fucoidan extract produced by Marinova has been assessed for antioxidant activity (Marinova unpublished data). An ORAC6.0 assay, a method of measuring antioxidant power, demonstrated that the extract had a very high oxygen radical absorbance capacity. 

The global disease burden of inflammatory skin conditions such atopic dermatitis (AD), or eczema, is considerable. There remains an unmet need for effective, non-toxic treatments for these widespread conditions.

Recent studies investigating Marinova's high purity topical fucoidan extracts suggested that the application of high purity extracts may assist in the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis and acne (Park, 2021). In an in vitro 3D model of AD, fucoidan produced by Marinova significantly altered gene expression (Park, 2021). Genes that were beneficially affected included those typically associated with skin barrier function, wound healing processes and fluid accumulation.

The same in vitro study also investigated skin microbiome and demonstrated that the fucoidan produced by Marinova significantly inhibited the adhesion of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, a known aggravator of AD. The adhesion of the bacterium Cutibacterium acnes, which is believed to play an important role in the widespread skin condition acne, was also significantly reduced. Importantly, the fucoidan did not affect the adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis – a common bacterium found on healthy skin. Fucoidans offer promising therapeutic potential for use in topical treatments for inflammatory skin conditions.