Switzerland has long been known for its innovation. The birthplace of velcro, aluminum foil, and (of course) the Swiss Army knife, we all have Switzerland to thank for many of the game-changing items we use every single day. What you may not realize, though, is that the small European nation is also responsible for many of the skin-changing ingredients we use every day, too.
While France tends to get all of the credit as being Europe’s premiere beauty destination (we love you so much, micellar water), their neighbors East of the Alps have been developing some of the latest and greatest new skin-care technology that has quietly appeared in some of our favorite new products. Swiss skin-care formulators have long prioritized things that beauty brands in the U.S. have only recently begun to think about en masse, like natural ingredients and sustainable development, so it’s no surprise that many brands have turned to their technology.
“People love Switzerland for its chocolate, but it’s also famous for its beauty ingredients,” says Jacqueline Piotaz, founder of Jacqueline Piotaz skin care. “Swiss women are looking for products with a combination of natural ingredients and technology, and our cosmetics are created at the intersection of those two things.”
The nation is rich in natural resources, and scientists are constantly turning to the mountains and lakes in search of skin-benefitting ingredients. Below, four of the best that may already be in your routine (and will satisfy your wanderlust while at home).
Switzerland is known for its beautifully snowy winters, and the Alpine Rose has become famous for its ability to survive them. Scientists noticed that the plant was able to flourish in the mountains through even the iciest temperatures thanks to a moisturizing, protective layer on its leaves, and they were able to harness its powers to do the same for skin. The plant helps improve skin barrier function, making it more resistant to external stressors like changes in climate. It also adds moisture, which is why it’s become a common fixture in moisturizers from Switzerland and beyond.
Shop Alpine Rose
The edelweiss flower is known for being small and white (and clean, and bright), but what you may not realize is that it’s got some powerful skin-care benefits, too. “Edelweiss is a great antioxidant, which is important for every organ in your body—not just for your skin,” says Piotaz. “Because we get a lot of pollution from the environment, we need something to protect us, and edelweiss does that while also working as a free-radical scavenger.” It’s also been scientifically proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory, so will leave skin calm.
Shop edelweiss skin care
Green apple stem cells
Switzerland’s green apples are of a totally different variety than the one’s you’d pop into your bag in the produce section at Whole Foods. Thanks to their high acidity, they’re able to stay fresh and moist for months after they fall off of the tree, and scientists realized that they could reproduce this for skin by way of lab-generated stem cells. “It gives the skin more vitalization and moisturizes it,” says Piotaz. “It acts as an activator and protector for skin stem cells, which helps them to produce more healthy skin cells.” It also reduces lines and wrinkles by promoting cell regeneration.
Swiss apple stem cells
Shop glacier water skin care
Water is the main ingredient in most skin-care products—in many cases, it makes up 70 percent of what you’re using—and Swiss formulators have realized that the type of water you’re using matters. Swiss glacier water, which comes from the mountains, is more than just your usual H2O. “Dense in minerals and nutrients, this precious water has been enriched beneath Swiss glaciers for millennia,” says Piotaz, adding that this boosts hydration for skin.
Switzerland is hardly the only place we’re stealing beauty secrets from. Here’s why one esthetician calls Italian ingredients “the Mediterranean diet for your face,” and why we’re loading up on Scandinavian skin care, too.