When you think of caviar, the first thought that comes to mind is likely a luxurious dining situation complete with champagne. Believe it or not, though, caviar also has a place in the skincare world. Also renowned for being luxurious, caviar skincare is often paired with higher price tags and presumable jaw-dropping results. Of course, to know why a heftier price is worth it, one must first understand the basis of caviar skincare.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Michelle Green is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist based in Manhattan.
- Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson is a cosmetic fellowship trained, board-certified, dermatologist with award-winning experience in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology.
To help you learn just that, we chatted with board-certified dermatologists Dr. Michelle Green and Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson. Ahead, discover their take on caviar skincare, including who it benefits, who should steer clear, and which products are most worthy of making room for in your routine.
Type of ingredient: Anti-aging moisturizing agent
Main benefits: Improves overall skin texture, protects against UV rays, prevents breakdown of elastin, boosts collagen production, reduces inflammation
Who should use it: People with dry and/or mature skin.
How often can you use it: Daily. While caviar-infused creams can be used day and night, Green recommends using masks and exfoliants containing the ingredient more sparingly, ideally only one to two times per week.
Works well with: Fellow softening and hydrating ingredients, along with antioxidant-rich ingredients. “When combined with antioxidant ingredients, caviar can boost the function of mitochondria in skin cells,” Green says. “This helps enable products containing caviar extract to firm, lift, and tighten skin and is the reason it is a great anti-aging ingredient to be used on mature skin.”
Don’t use with: Fish and/or shellfish allergies. Even topically, caviar could potentially cause a reaction.
What Is Caviar Skincare?
Caviar is unfertilized fish eggs. When used in skincare, caviar is infused as an extract, explains Robinson. “Caviar extract is an emollient active ingredient primarily benefiting the skin by boosting hydration, moisture levels, and plumping of fine lines, while reducing inflammation and protecting against oxidative damage thanks to its antioxidant properties—notably vitamin E and selenium—she explains.
Benefits of Caviar Skincare
- Improves overall skin texture: Thanks to being formulated with omega-3, amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, Green says that caviar skincare works to address all angles of skin texture.
- Locks in moisture: “Omega-3’s help enhance the skin’s protective barrier, locking in moisture and beneficial ingredients while blocking irritants,” Green says, noting that this plumps the skin and reduces the appearance of dryness and flaking.
- Protects against UV rays: Antioxidants are known to help protect the skin against UV rays. As such, you can consider caviar skincare as an extra layer of protection against the sun. Though, classic SPF is still necessary.
- Prevents breakdown of elastin: Another benefit of being made with antioxidants is that, according to Green, caviar skincare helps prevent the breakdown of elastin, which means more youthful-looking skin in the long run.
- Boosts collagen production: Another reason caviar skincare is considered a great anti-aging ingredient is because it also targets collagen and ceramide production in skin cells. “This helps to firm and lift skin while deeply hydrating it,” Green says.
- Reduces inflammation: According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, ceramides play a major role in the reduction of eczema and atopic dermatitis; particularly in the reduction of redness, making caviar skincare a positive route for folks with sensitive, irritation-prone skin.
- Non-irritating: For the most part, caviar skincare products are non-irritating and safe for use with all skin types. However, if you have a fish or shellfish allergy, it shouldn't be used as an adverse effect is likely.
- Available over-the-counter: While its edible counterpart might be hard-to-find, caviar skincare products are available over-the-counter and beauty and department stores.
Side Effects of Caviar Skincare
While caviar skincare can work wonders for redness-prone skin, the same is not true for folks who have oily or acne-prone skin. That’s because, according to Green, some caviar skincare products can leave behind a greasy residue that doesn’t absorb well into the skin, which can exacerbate the appearance of oiliness. “Caviar has a high content of oil and protein, making it best-suited to tackle problems like dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of elasticity,” she says.
Additionally, Robinson points out that, as with any topical, it’s always possible to develop an adverse reaction when incorporating the new ingredient into your routine. With this in mind, it’s best to try a small test patch on your wrist before slathering it on your face.
Lastly, since caviar is a fish-based extract, it shouldn’t be used if you have a fish or shellfish allergy, as an adverse effect is even more likely.
How to Use It
Caviar extract is available in an array of skincare products, including moisturizers, masks, and serums. According to Green, moisturizers are the most common skincare product including the ingredient. “Adding caviar extract to a moisturizer formula ensures that the powerful properties of caviar are fully absorbed into the skin, continually promoting hydration and a youthful appearance over time,” she explains.
While caviar extract is available in a variety of daytime and nighttime products, Robinson admits that it’s typically best used at night, as it can leave a residue behind that may be too heavy for the daytime. That said, she recommends layering caviar skincare products over retinols and serums to support a healthy skin barrier.
Speaking of layering, Robinson adds that caviar skincare is best used on its own or overtop a retinol in order for the lipids, proteins, and omega fatty acids to actually do their job. “If you layer much else between your skin and it, it won't be able to absorb as well,” she says.
The Best Products With Caviar
“Mario Badescu's Caviar Day Cream is an affordable option best used on dry, sensitive, or mature skin,” Green shares. “Caviar extract and elastin are combined in this cream to enhance the elasticity and hydration of skin. This is an intense moisturizer that will leave skin feeling soft and nourished.”
“Serums will have the highest concentration of active ingredients,” Robinson says. “The Kerstin Florian Caviar Age-Defense Serum formula includes peptides and Caviar protein to plump and nourish the skin and is free of parabens.”
“OxygenCeuitcals Age Defying Caviar Cream's lightweight formula is packed with antiaging and moisturizing ingredients,” Green says, recommending the product. “Niacinamide and adenosine are ingredients that work with the caviar extract to help improve wrinkles and overall skin tone. This cream will help to tighten, lift, and firm the skin and is best used on dull, mature, and dry skin types.”
“La Prairie's Extrait of Skin Caviar Firming Complex can be applied in the morning and evening to the face, neck, and decolletage to enhance elasticity, tone, and overall complexion,” Green shares. “This super-concentrated moisturizer leaves the skin feeling supple and revitalized while providing the best in hydration.”
“The Caviar of Switzerland Cellular Repair Serum has healing properties that benefit skin health both extrinsically and intrinsically by combining caviar extract with ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate and resveratrol,” Green explains. “These ingredients respectively attract and retain moisture in the skin and combat free-radicals in the environment that can cause damage. Skin feels rejuvenated and looks radiant after using this serum.
This leave-in product is formulated to keep hair strong and healthy, infusing strands with vital nutrients to improve vibrancy, elasticity and manageability.
Is caviar skincare beneficial for dry skin?
Yes, as it helps lock in moisture, keeping the skin (and hair) looking plump.
Can caviar skincare be used on sensitive skin?
Those with sensitive, irritation-prone skin will benefit from caviar skincare due to its ceramide content which help reduce redness and soothe troubled skin.
Does caviar skincare require a prescription?
Most caviar skincare products can be purchased at a beauty or department store, or online, and don't require a prescription from a doctor.
Lee K-E, Nho Y-H, Yun SK, Park S-M, Kang S, Yeo H. Caviar extract and its constituent dha inhibits uvb-irradiated skin aging by inducing adiponectin production. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(9):3383.
Draelos ZD, Raymond I. The efficacy of a ceramide-based cream in mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(5):30-32.