Buzz about salmon egg enzyme as anti-aging skin care ingredient gets louder

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Buzz about salmon egg enzyme as anti-aging skin care ingredient gets louder

Related tags Glycolic acid Human skin color

Following publication of a study of how hydrolyzed salmon roe proteins exfoliate in contrast to glycolic acid, the New York City–based skin care company Restorsea has seen an uptick in press coverage, including a Q & A with company founder Patti Pao this month on

The peer-reviewed Journal of Drugs in Dermatology published the study conducted by Maria Mekas BSN of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Jennifer Chwalek MD and Anne Chapas MD of Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Jennifer MacGregor MD of Columbia University Medical Center.

The New York-based team was funded for the research by a grant from Restorsea skin care.

The research

In the published abstract, the research team explains that “this double-blind prospective study assesses the efficacy and tolerability of hydrolyzed roe versus glycolic acid, and glycolic acid with citric acid.”

75 women aged 31 – 70, with mild to moderate photodamage and an array of skin types participated in the study. For 12 weeks twice each day they self-treated with either roe cream, 4% glycolic acid, or 8% glycolic acid plus 2% citric acid, depending on which group they were assigned to.

To level the field, “all patients used the same mild face wash and SPF 30 sunscreen throughout the study,” ​explains the abstract. The women’s skin was evaluated at 0, 8, and 12 weeks against an assortment of metrics.

And the results? The summary conclusion of the researchers is that “topical hydrolyzed roe protein used twice daily improves skin clarity. It has good tolerability with fewer instances of stinging and burning than the other glycolic acid containing creams. Patient’s opinions of the 3 products were similar.”

Spreading the news

Since the article—An Evaluation of Efficacy and Tolerability of Novel Enzyme Exfoliation Versus Glycolic Acid in Photodamage Treatment—was published last November, Restorsea has been mentioned and written up in numerous consumer-facing and business publications, including Allure, Refinery29, Glamour, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal.

This month company founder Patti Pao spoke with Margaret Abrams for an item on In the article she explains that the brand’s key ingredient is the multi-protein enzyme is released by the young fish to erode their egg shell. The new fish swim off and the water, shells, and enzyme are gathered and frozen for later filtration.

Pao and her team at Restorsea are busy talking with press and engaging in the marketplace too. Just now the company is exhibiting at the annual meeting of The American Academy of Dermatology Conference (which runs March 4 – 8 in Washington DC).


The brand story includes a fun anecdote about how Pao discovered the key ingredient:” I was touring a salmon hatchery in Western Norway,” ​she tells Abrams. “The workers’ hands were in the water, herding the salmon fry into a separate tank area where they can grow into little fish, picking out the unhatched eggs and picking out the egg shell fragments. I noticed that their hands looked like they were 20 years old, while their faces looked substantially older.”

But the business dealings behind the salmon egg enzyme ingredients have been, perhaps, less amusing. In 2012, Restorsea stuck a sourcing deal with Aqua Bio Technology, a Norwegian corporation that produces active ingredients for the personal care industry.

Then in 2014, Restorsea filed suit against ABT for breach of contract. The companies settled later that same year and amended the original agreement.

That arrangement gave “Restorsea exclusivity rights not just for Aquabeautine XL, but also for the ABT ingredients Dermaclarine and Beauty Propelline, as well as rights for non-medical uses to any future ingredients that may be developed from fish hatching fluids and certain future ingredients that may be developed from the hatching fluids of other animals,” ​as Cosmetics Design​ reported.

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