A new path to moisturized skin through glasswort extract

A new path to moisturized skin through glasswort extract

Glasswort is a plant that grows by the sea and possesses properties that are of great interest for the skin. But where does this extraordinary plant actually come from? Glasswort, of the genus Salicornia, comes from the Arabic salcoran and owes its name to its shape: the series of bulging forms that end in a sort of protruding nipple called a “salt horn”, already giving us a clue as to its suitability for salty places.

This perennial seaside plant has developed certain unique mechanisms for adaptation which allow it to grow on both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In fact, it is a halophyte, meaning it likes salt and is perfectly designed to survive the hostile conditions of the seashore. It can tolerate very high levels of salinity when submerged at high tide, without drying out, thanks to its ability to regulate the water content of its cells.

This extraordinary adaptability is linked to the presence of water transporters and ammonium ions, which play a crucial role in protecting glasswort against dehydration and high salt levels

A bit of history before unveiling its abilities: in olden days, glasswort ashes were used to produce soap and glass. It is said that, in the 14th century, glassmakers would move their workshops depending on where this herbaceous plant, so closely tied to their profession, was growing. Today, glasswort ashes are used are used to create Aleppo soap, made exclusively from natural raw materials since the days of Antiquity.

Nowadays, we use it as food, thanks to its high content of vitamins and minerals. Thanks to its extraordinary capacity for moisturizing the skin, we also use it in cosmetics.

To understand how its properties act on the skin, here is a quick review of skin hydration.

Skin hydration

Dry skin can be caused by both internal and external factors. In both cases, the cause resides mainly in a deficiency of natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) in the epidermis. Urea, a major component of NMFs, is present in normal skin at a rate of 7%. That concentration drops by 50% in dry skin and by 85% in skin affected by dermatitis and in weakened skin. This decline is accompanied by a decrease in NMFs and an ensuing loss of hydration. Urea is produced by mitochondria and plays a vital role in moisturizing the skin. It is therefore essential to ensure its synthesis and its availability in the epidermis in order to maintain high levels of hydration.

Method of action of our glasswort extract

Glasswort extract stimulates the production of aquaporins (AQP), which are water transporters, particularly the following:

-       AQP3 in the cell walls; and

-       AQP8 (in the cytoplasm of keratinocytes), aluminium ion transporters which are indispensable precursors of urea synthesis (a major component of NMFs).

As a result, glasswort extract works on every front of the skin’s dehydration: it stimulates the synthesis of aquaporin which in turn stimulates the production of urea. Because urea is a major component of NMFs, it helps to increase the presence of natural moisturizing factors in the skin. This allows us to obtain better cellular cohesion and a strengthened lipid matrix.

The above in vitro tests show that glasswort extract stimulates the synthesis of AQP8 and AQP3 in the epidermis.


Clinical study of the effects of glasswort extract on transepidermal water loss


The study was carried out on dry skin (legs) with, for each volunteer, three separate zones (not treated, treated with a placebo and treated with glasswort extract), applied at a frequency of once on the first day and then twice a day for the next 28 days.


This clinical test, conducted using a glasswort extract emulsion, demonstrated that, in just 24 hours, transepidermal urea loss disappeared, resulting in an increase in urea content in the epidermis and improved hydration.


The emulsion also enhanced the external appearance of the skin. In the photos below, the skin treated with the glasswort extract emulsion is redensified and restructured, while the effect is not as visible with the placebo emulsion. The roughness of the skin has disappeared, leaving behind skin that is suppler and smoother.

In conclusion, glasswort extract holds water in the cells of the epidermis and allows it to synthesize its own water and urea for natural hydration from the inside, depending on its needs.


CEBELIA’s expertise

 As part of our test & learn approach, each CEBELIA skincare product is inspired by a need observed on the ground by aesthetic physicians and surgeons. Each aesthetic procedure has an impact on the patient’s skin. Some procedures like laser treatments and skin peels, but also certain acne treatments, dehydrate the skin and make it feel uncomfortable. In response to those issues, CEBELIA developed a skincare product containing a glasswort extract, CEBELIA Extreme Care.


Perfectly suited to skin in need of hydration, it boosts the skin’s natural moisturizing abilities. In addition, it contains a cocktail of other active ingredients that will respectively act on redness (neuropeptide), provide a cooling sensation (Mexican cactus extract) and accelerate the skin’s repair process (Cebeline).  Fragrance free out of respect for damaged skin. Click here to learn more and to view the product information sheet. The complete list of ingredients and before & after pictures await.

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