If you live in a mountainous area, or have hiked to high mountain peaks, you may have run across bright, red snow in patches along the ridge.

This is snow algae. And although these algae turn a brilliant pink in the sun, they are actually green under the surface.

Why care about this chameleon algae that only exist in extremely cold, high locations? Because they may be the secret anti-aging ingredient the world is searching for. Here is a brief look into the wonders snow algae might help unlock.

What is Snow Algae?

Under the surface of the snow in high, cold climates, snow algae make themselves at home. The algae have adapted to survive in harsh environments that sometimes reach below zero degrees celsius with very few nutrients to keep them alive.

Snow algae have achieved this by coming up to the surface of the snow in the spring to receive UV light. This lets the chlorophyll in the algae absorb the energy and turn it into chemical energy, which fuels the algae.

When snow algae move to the surface using their flagella, they produce carotenoids to protect themselves from the harm that UV rays can cause them. This is what turns the green algae a vibrant red on the surface of the snow.

The algae remain there through the spring and become dormant in the summer, when the UV rays get even stronger. Snow algae wait in their red state until snow begins to fall again. The algae come back to life under the snow as active green algae and wait for the process to start all over again.

Snow Algae’s Anti-Aging Properties

When snow algae are in a dormant stage—when they’re red—the composition changes. The red spores become carotenoids, antioxidants, polyphenols, biopolymers and antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs). These properties are what make snow algae the perfect anti-ager.

Dormant snow algae are dried and turned to a powder that can be used in beauty products. This powder contains the Klotho gene. This gene was only recently discovered, but has been strongly linked to reducing the effects of aging.

The Klotho gene codes for proteins, which block the entrance of insulin to the insulin/IGF-1 receptor. This stimulates detoxification and DNA repair, which helps your cells last longer and live healthier. The process mimics calorie restriction, which has long been touted as a method for reducing the signs of aging because it results in the same process.

Conclusion

Snow algae provide a natural way to reduce the effects of aging on your skin. These powerful and interesting algae can help slow decreasing collagen production, so your skin gets just as much collagen as it always has, even as you age. At the same time, snow algae can fight the enzymes that destroy collagen, increasing your levels even more.

Additionally, skin is rejuvenated and reinforced from antioxidant and Klotho gene components of snow algae, so skin looks healthier and more supple after every use. And snow algae’s detoxification properties help your skin maintain its health.

Look for snow algae in night-time creams and anti-aging serums to know you’re getting nature’s best anti-ager.