Ingredient Focus: Spicules – A Natural Alternative to Microneedling – THE YESSTYLIST – Asian Fashion Blog


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Not a year goes by without the birth of a novel skin care ingredient or innovation. Skin care brands are always on the lookout for the next ingredient that has unexpected skin care benefits. One of the latest examples is spicules, a microscopic needle-like structure found in sponges. Spicules provide a gentle microneedling effect, so they are most often found in peeling products such as masks or serums.

Where do spicules come from?

Marine sponges in their natural habitat

Spicules can be derived from many sponge-like species, although most spicules in cosmetics come from marine sponges. Biologically classified under the phylum Porifera. these sponges are marine invertebrates that live in the shallow water of seas (or more rarely, in the deep sea). Spicules or sponges usually appear in the ingredient list under the name “hydrolyzed sponge” or just “sponge.”

What do spicules look like in their original form?

Spicules form the exoskeleton of marine sponges. They can be classified into calcareous sponges, which are mainly composed of calcium carbonate, or siliceous sponges whose elemental composition is silicon dioxide. As a skeletal element of sponges, spicules can take many fascinating shapes. Some have two points, while glass sponges typically have four-pointed spicules. If you’re new to spicules, take a look at this research article excerpt for a diagram of different spicule shapes.  

Are spicules effective in skin care?

This research study suggests that spicules help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Although the study used spicules of a different origin, the treatment mechanism was similar. The study concluded that creams containing spicules penetrate the skin deeper and deliver components better than creams that don’t contain spicules.

Spicules are said to not only have a gentle peeling effect, but also assist in delivery of active ingredients deeper into the skin, help treat dark spots such as post-acne scars, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles by stimulating skin cell turnover. Some facial salons even claim that a spicule treatment can produce a noticeable tightening effect and visible reduction of sagging.

Where can I get spicule skin care?

You can receive a spicule treatment at beauty salons. The mechanism is similar to a microneedling facial that uses barely visible hydrogel needles to induce production of collagen and elastin. Alternatively, you can try out the following home-use spicule products which are less pricey and less time-consuming. Since they have a peeling effect, it’s recommended to properly moisturize and protect your skin from UV rays after use.

TIA’M – AC Fighting Spot RX Cream

This spicule spot treatment soothes blemishes and breakouts, and helps to unclog pores, remove dead skin cells and fade hyperpigmentation. The oil-free formula contains 10% niacinamide and 7% zinc. It’s also infused with centella asiatica and tea tree extract to control sebum production and speed up the healing process.

PESTLO – Spicule Re-Born Peeling Mask

Exfoliation has never been easier with this gentle peeling mask containing spicules. Enriched with 100,000ppm of green tea extract and 1,000ppm of mugwort extract, it absorbs excess sebum while soothing, nourishing and purifying skin. To use, rub over cleansed face focusing on areas prone to oiliness, leave on for no more than ten minutes, and then rinse off. You may experience a slight tingling sensation from the spicules.

9wishes – Pine Perfect Ampule Serum

Pine Perfect Ampoule Serum by 9wishes creates a brighter and clearer complexion thanks to plant-based ingredients, such as licorice root, avocado and green tea extracts that soothe skin. Spicules and 65% pine leaf extract refine and purify skin by speeding up cell turnover and minimizing pore size. It’s recommended to apply after toner and let it absorb before proceeding with the next step of your routine.

WellDerma – TeaTree Soothing Herb Tox Peeling Pack

Pitched as an alternative to a dermatologist treatment, this peeling pack contains powerful natural ingredients such as spicules to stimulate skin cell turnover and get rid of dead skin cells, tea tree leaf extract to soothe irritated skin, and green tea powder and perennial artemisia extract to help strengthen skin’s natural barrier against irritation. It makes skin look less dull, and helps clear sebum buildup and smooth skin. Apply directly after cleansing and wash off with lukewarm water after ten minutes.

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