With more and more skincare brands tapping into the widely untapped benefits of algae and including one of Mother Nature’s best kept, nutrient-dense secrets in their products, we’re diving into all things algae – from what it is to what it does – to help your navigate this current skincare trend. And, maybe even give it the green light in your bathroom cabinet.
To those well-versed in a daily skincare routine, the fact that Mother Nature plays an important part in skincare formulas shouldn’t come as a surprise but, within this context, when we say, “worth its weight in gold” the first thing that springs to mind probably won’t be slimy, slippery, mid-swim-shriek-inducing algae. Well, it should be…
Not only is algae able to weather environmental changes and drastic temperature shifts, making it a resilient, high achiever when incorporated in your skincare routine but it’s fast earning the nickname ‘vitamin sea’ thanks to its impressive brightening and hydrating properties. So, if you’re looking to dial up your skin’s glow and bid farewell to dull, dry skin, carry on reading…
What is Algae?
The term ‘algae’ refers to an expansive family of photosynthetic aquatic organisms, ranging from single cell beings to large kelps often spotted in the background of your #BeachBody holiday snaps. Seaweed (hailed for its strength, vitality and resilience as a skincare ingredient) sits within the algae species and has “a more intricate structure than other types of algae, including stems, leaves and roots.”
What does Algae do for your skin?
Experts agree that – as scientists and aquaculturists have figured out how to extract high amounts of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants from the seaweed – algae has revealed itself to be a gold mine for skin care.
When infused into skincare products, these ingredients not only moisturise and detoxify the skin but protect cells from oxidative damage and boost microcirculation, too. And, it’s been proven to be impressively effective in managing and treating tricky skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.
Algae is also jam-packed with amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids, incredibly important for overall skin health. It also boasts bacteria-balancing properties courtesy of its high concentration on iodine, which help hit the fast-forward button on skin healing as well.
How do you spot algae in your skincare?
Within skincare formulations, you’ll often find macroalgae such as kelp and seaweed, and sometimes the more rare form, microalgae, the kind that can only been seen via a microscope.
Most skincare brands create their algae-infused formulas using four different types of seaweed:
- Serrated Wrack (Fucus Serratus)
Used for hundreds of years in seaweed baths, this plant survives by filtering the ocean for nutrients and as a result contains a high volume of minerals and vitamins.
- Tangleweed (Laminaria Digitata)
Containing an amazing abundance of minerals, this form of seaweed has strong anti-inflammatory properties, protecting the skin from environmental damage and helping to plump up the complexion.
- Bladder Wrack (Fucus Vesiculosus)
When used in hot seawater baths or steamed, Fucus Vesiculosus releases polysaccharides, iodine and other minerals. In the autumn months it is harvested for its high Vitamin C content and, in the summer months, for its high vitamin A content.
- Sea Spaghetti (Himanthalia Elongata)
Predominantly used for those with combination or oily skin, this form of seaweed provides high levels of vitamins and essential amino acids, naturally restoring and balancing the skin’s moisture levels.
Intrigued by ‘the leafy greens of the sea’ and want to look at incorporating this skincare trend into your skincare regime? Well, a practical and cost-effective way to get on the algae bandwagon is to look at adding just one algae-rich product, at least for starters. The beauty of this ingredient is that it can be infused in a serum, cream or mask, and even taken orally, so how you give it a try depends entirely on where (within your morning and night time skincare routine) you feel you’d like to really bring your ‘A’ game.