The New SuperGreen: What are Glycolipids?
What are Glycolipids?
In 2012, Japanese scientists in the Toyobo Co. Biotech Institute were studying the moisturizing effects of glycolipids as potential hydrating factors on human skin. Glycolipids are lipids with a carbohydrate link, found in various plant sources. Human and animal skin already contain many different type of lipids. Glycolipids are responsible for maintaining the stability of cell membranes and assisting in cellular recognition, which is a major part of immune responses for plant or animal. It basically allows cells to connect with one another to form tissues in skin (and in plants, its lipid layers).
photo by: @Scott Webb
Lipids in general, help with cell structures of all parts of the human body; however Glycolipids can even be found in the brain, known as Cerebrosides.
While Glycolipids are found in humans and animals, it is easily extracted from plant based sources. The Japanese scientists involved in the clinical study were hoping to find a more effective alternative for the common use of ceramides in the beauty industry. Ceramides were costly to extract and were often taken from animal sources that needed to be strictly quality controlled. Synthesized ceramides were not cost nor time effective neither, so were still very rare on the market.
Over a 30 day period, the scientists tested olive, soybean and yeast (from wheat) sourced glycolipid solutions on human skin to measure hydration,moisture retention and skin barrier strength. What they discovered was that not only did the Glycolipids match similar efficacy of Ceramides, but one solution in particular, extracted from Olive Fruit Oil, performed beyond expectations - showing results of up to 80% on skin cell health recovery. Cell recovery was measured by the skin’s ability to retain moisture, minimize trans-epidermal water loss and overall skin tone and texture. The laboratory used both in-vitro tests on human volunteers as well as a 3D virtual model of skin structure to measure and analyze results.
What does the above conclusion mean? It means that Olive Glycolipids could restore skin cell health so well that it reversed damages that are commonly tied to aging. Transepidermal water loss increases as we age due to the weakening of skin cells; the results are constant dryness, fine lines, dullness and other irritations due to skin dehydration. Theoretically, by restoring cell health up to 80% of its original state, skin cells are able to hydrate and therefore show as smoother, supple and “youthful” looking skin. This was an amazing discovery and offered up countless new ways on how to fix dry skin, but what has happened since 2012?
Surprisingly, Glycolipids did not get much recognition in popular skincare culture, most likely due to its considerably recent discovery clinically and let’s face it, its complex name, scientific origin and expensive cost price. Less than 10 years of clinical studies keeps it as an “early stage” trial ingredient and it is often overshadowed by much buzzier and easily marketed ingredients such as “probiotics”, “ceramides” and “vitamins”. Glycolipids have stayed relatively unknown throughout the years except between a small professional few in Asia, where it was first studied.
Snow Fox’s head chemist is based in Taiwan, where she keeps up to date with surrounding regional clinical works in the ever-changing industry of biochemical skincare supplies. Asia is one the of the world’s biggest and most innovative producers of trendy new skincare ingredients so close proximity to top biochemical labs in the region allows first access to new findings. Each month, new ingredients are showcased for possible sourcing, with clinical studies and trials to help convince formulators from different brands to discover the next “hot” thing in beauty and skincare. Glycolipids were unfortunately not a well marketed ingredient, but our chemist was searching for an ingredient that would specifically help with water retention and the minimization of trans epidermal water loss. That narrowed down the search to this particular clinical study and the decision to test it internally.
With some other data and research in find, the Snow Fox chemical team began to test their sample formulations using Olive Fruit Glycolipids over 6 months on different human skin types. One of the humans was our Founder, Phoebe of course. She made a particularly interesting case to study as someone with Rosacea. Within 6 months, the internal trial results performed exceedingly well enough for the development team to proceed with the launch of 3 new products in a range dedicated to “authentic” anti-aging - with formulas that addresses the root causes of premature aging rather than just symptoms.
As the range with the highest return rate and repeat purchases, the Herbal Youth Range may have proven itself but it is truly its little known “super greens” ingredient, the Olive Glycolipids, that deserves full credit as another amazing herbal asset given to us by mother nature herself.