You may or may not have heard have heard of betaine before, but it's been around for a very long time. That's because betaine is derived from beets. In fact, that's where the name itself comes from: it's pronounced "beet"-aine.
There's been some talk lately of betaine's anti-aging properties, so here's a quick overview of this skincare ingredient and what it does.
Is it safe?
In short: yes. It's all over the place, from wheat germ to shampoo. If you absorb it as part of your diet, it helps with liver function and detoxification, and it helps with cellular turnover. In skin care, betaine is very safe.
What does betaine do?
Betaine has a number of benefits that make it a great skincare ingredient. It is a fantastic humectant, which means it acts similarly to hyaluronic acid in that it attracts water and keeps skin hydrated.
Most interesting, though, is the way betaine improves the integrity of tight junctions. Tight junctions are protein complexes that keep water leaking between cells (think of a rubber washer that prevents water leaking from a faucet). That function also helps environmental stressors and other toxins from penetrating into a cell, so keeping tight junctions strong can help cells from degrading when they're exposed to everyday life.
Since pollutants affect the integrity of skin cells, it's possible that betaine can alleviate the look of aging skin by preventing toxins from penetrating the cell.
That, combined with its great hydrating abilities, can make betaine a formidable opponent to wrinkles and fine lines.
If you're looking for an anti-aging ally, betaine is a solid choice.