Until about two centuries ago, scientists thought the Dead Sea was too high in its salt concentration, too extreme to support life – any life. Hence the name, “Dead” Sea. But then, in 1838, the French botanist Michel Felix Dunal made a discovery that would change how biologists and phycologists viewed life in highly saline environments, including the Dead Sea.
Dunal discovered a natural microalga that looked bright reddish-pink, despite the fact that it was from the green alga family. Dunal didn’t have a name for this alga. It was named after him some eighty years later, as Dunaliella Salina. Some call it D-Salina for brevity’s sake.
Dunaliella Salina is a halophile, meaning it adapts to extremely saline environments. So, how is it that Dunaliella Salina survives and even thrives in ultra-saline marine environments that are too harsh or even nonsurvivable for other living organisms? And why would this organism be good for the skin?
To survive, Dunaliella Salina has evolved to carry out distinct metabolic activities such as producing beta-carotene and other carotenoids in record-breaking amounts. Here’s what we mean: there are over 600 carotenoids in nature and Dunaliella Salina features more than 500 of them. In fact, the higher the salinity of its environment, the more extreme the number of carotenoids in Dunaliella Salina. This incredible concentration makes this alga a super-carotenoid and an antioxidant powerhouse like no other skincare ingredient.
Dunaliella Salina and Skincare
Dunaliella Salina makes a versatile skincare ingredient that can be integrated into cleansers, toners, lotions, and masks. Some skincare companies amplify Dunaliella’s benefits by fermenting it overnight in concentrated Dead Sea water, making this super ingredient even more potent.
What’s in Dunaliella Salina?
An incredible concentration of antioxidants, beta-carotene, carotenoids, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Thanks to all these, it delivers a super dose of antioxidant power, skin energizers, deep anti-aging benefits, strong moisturizing properties, and many skin-conditioning effects, making Dunaliella Salina nothing less than a miracle ingredient. Among Dunaliella’s long list of antioxidants are superoxide dismutase (SOD), lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin, to name just a few. These antioxidants help protect the skin’s surface from oxidative damage caused by free radicals as well as a range of environmental aggressors, from UV rays to urban pollution. They boost the strength of the skin’s first layer, creating a natural shield that helps to stay looking youthful and beautiful. In addition, Dunaliella Salina supports the skin’s hydration levels, preventing water loss and dehydration, thus promoting a healthy look and feel.