Hoki Dokey: NZ fish skin facemasks to launch in China

It‘s not quite a slap in the face with a wet fish but hoki skins, once destined for pet food, are now in a facemask and going on sale in China this month.

Hoki fish. Photo: jackf/123RF

Sanfords fishing group and Auckland science company Revolution Fibres have teamed up to produce a skincare range, which they claim can reduce wrinkles by up to 31.5 percent.

Revolution Fibres recently created a product called a nanofibre, which is a particle 500 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Research manager Bhuvana Kannan said the fibre was then weaved together with a chemical or nutrient and placed on the skin.

Because the nanofibre was smaller than a skin‘s pore, nutrients could be absorbed deeply and quickly.

Dr Kannan said the fish collagen worked effectively on human skin.

“Inside our body we have various types of collagen from type one to type six. So some are found in bones, tendons, teeth or skin. So the collagen we have extracted from the hoki fish is type one and type two which is found in human skin so it‘s very similar.”

She said it was far more effective than taking collagen capsules orally.

“One way to take collagen is by capsule, but by the time it goes into the blood and reaches the target area, it might not work. Taking it this way is taking the long way.”

“Because the collagen [this way] is in nanofibre form it‘s 100 times smaller than the skin pores and can easily penetrate.”

Sanfords, in conjunction with the organisation Plant and Food in Nelson took the skins and converted them to a liquid. They were then dried into “pure white marine collagen”, which could then be spun into the nanofibre.

Sanfords business development manager Adrian Grey said hoki skins were previously sent to make pet food or fish meal.

He said other fish collagen could be used, but hoki was the best.

“The hoki is unique because it has a relatively low melt point, meaning it can dissolve at a lower temperature which makes it perfect for human use. Other fish won‘t have the same dissolve-on-your-skin properties.”

The product is launching as a face mask at the China Beauty Fair this week.

Once a market was established there, it would be on shelves in New Zealand.

Mr Grey said he hoped New Zealand consumers wouldn‘t be put off.

“We make sure we get rid of the odour, any smell or look, in terms of the liquid we produce prior to it getting dried so by the time it becomes a nanofibre you wouldn‘t know it was a fish skin. But there‘s still that mental hurdle to get over.”

Revolution Fibres chief executive Iain Hosie said this new method of delivering nutrients and chemicals could extend beyond beauty products.

He hoped the nanofibre would also be used in the future for applying medicines, particularly for patients with burns, skin lesions or acne.