Meet Seaweed– Your Skin’s New BFF

seaweed for beautyI have to admit  that I was  disappointed to  learn that seaweed had limited  nutritional value as well as a troubling downside.  But I was then  thrilled to discover  that seaweed is a skin care superstar.  Different forms of sea plants  have  long been used in the manufacture of creams, lotions and balms to provide natural thickening  and emulsification ( eg  keeping oil and water together).  In the past  decade, peer reviewed published studies have shown that seaweed varieties can benefit  skin in four  much needed ways:

  1. Seaweed for Super Hydration

    Sea plants helps the skin hold moisture in two ways. The gel-like  properties of seaweed acts like a shield to prevent water evaporation from the  skin– sort of the way plastic wrap  keeps  a sandwich  fresh  and moist. In addition, sea plants  are rich in polysaccharides– and why should you care?  Polysaccharides are natural moisturizing factors that helps the skin both hold onto water as well as  repair itself.  They are important for smooth healthy skin and like  other natural moisturizing factors, hyaluronic acid and ceramides, we  have lower levels of polysaccharides as  we get older.  But unlike  hyaluronic acid and ceramides which are  quite pricey, seaweed is  widely available and  inexpensive. Yea!

  2. UV Protection from the Sea

Different forms of seaplantsoffer  different types of  help.  Red algae can actually absorb UV light offering defense from skin cancer and ski aging. Brown algae comes packed with antioxidants  that can reduce UV  induced skin cell damage. This makes  seaweed enhanced night ceam  a great choice after a day in the sun.

3. Preventing Collagen Destruction

Geek alert! Explaining  how seaweed keeps collagen healthy gets a bit dense but please  stick with me.  Our body  produces MMP’s which trigger production of an enzyme  called collagenase  which is  needed to breakdown old damged collagen fibers.  This is essential to promote healing and keeping the skin strong and healthy. But certain situations  like sunlight and stress  can trigger the over production of MMP’s.  This  leads to  excessive  collagen destruction and   loss of skin elasticity and an increase n  wrinkles.  That’s the bad news.  The good news? Some types of brown algae block production of UV induced MMP’s.  To bottom line it , less MMP means healthier  collagen and smoother  skin.

4. Seaweed for Skin Lightening

We all love an even,  golden tan, but dark patches and splotches make our skin look dull and older than its years. These darkened areas develop when UV rays trigger production of melanin. Agents like hydroquinone and kojic acid have been shown to stop melanin formation. Research is still in the early stages, but studies suggest  that sea plants can be added to the list of  safe and effective skin brightening agents.

Using Seaweed in Your Skin Care Routine 

Seaweed extracts are the key ingredients of the incredibly epensive Creme de Mer skin  care line– $2000 night cream anyone?  You can also find  seaweed enriched  skin care products in both drug and department store shelves.  I  love to make my own sea plant products.  You can buy dried seaweed capsules in the health food stores– 100 large capsules  are $16.00.  Open a capsule, mix with an eg yolk and you’ve got a wonderful face  mask.  One capsule mixed with a teaspoon of simple moisturizer= fabulous night cream. To me there is something so organic about   using a seaweed moisturizer after a day at the beach.



2 thoughts on “Meet Seaweed– Your Skin’s New BFF

  1. I have a love-hate relationship with seaweed. Sometimes the salty taste makes me feel like I am eating fish (doesn’t make sense, I know) which for me as a vegetarian is really confusing, lol.

  2. I agree. As it turns out seaweed is not that great in your diet but is a effective addition to skin care products.

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