Beauty Ingredient Spotlight: Seaweed
By Alix Turoff
Seaweed is the glue that holds sushi together. So, obviously, we’re big fans.
But what you might not know is that seaweed is actually a really potent beauty ingredient!
Scientists were first clued in to the beauty benefits of seaweed because of the sea vegetable’s incredible ability to survive even the harshest of conditions and to adapt quickly to a changing environment. They continued to delve deeper and found that seaweed is full of essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, making it the perfect ingredient for cosmetics and skin care products.
Korean beauty products started the seaweed trend (as usual!) but the rest of the world quickly caught on to the amazing benefits of seaweed.
How does it work, you ask? Well firstly, seaweed is full of anti-inflammatory compounds which can help to soothe irritated skin and reduce puffiness by draining excess fluid. Its antioxidant content helps to prevent damage to the membranes of skin cells and even works to reverse pre-existing signs of aging by repairing already damaged cells. Seaweed also works great as an exfoliant and hydrator, as it simultaneously sloughs away dead cells while adding back moisture. Depending on the type of seaweed extract you use, it can even work to lighten dark spots, as some extracts are tyrosinase inhibitors which prevent melanin production.
Check out our favorite seaweed based beauty products– you’re going to want to add them to your routine faster than you can say the word “nori”!
For Acne Prone Skin: Stacked Skincare Deep Sea Mineral Peel ($150)
This organic peel works to even out skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation and even decrease oil production and the appearance of large pores. With willow bark extract, a natural source of salicylic acid that kills acne-causing bacteria and bladderwrack seaweed extract, which helps to purify the skin of toxins that cause dryness, wrinkles, and fluid retention, this peel is especially great for older acne-prone skin.
For Dry Skin: Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream ($22)
If you’re looking for a new overnight cream that will provide some major hydration without any pore-clogging ingredients, you have to check this one out. The bladderwrack seaweed extract based cream contains tons of minerals which add life and moisture back to dehydrated skin. Further, this cream contains hyaluronic acid and collagen to lock in natural moisture too, making it essential for summer skincare!
For Sensitive Skin: Lush USA BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask ($7.95)
Each batch of Lush’s BB Seaweed mask is packed with seven pounds of locally-harvested seaweed to nourish the skin! Add to that finely ground almonds to exfoliate, a generous amount of aloe vera gel and rose to calm sensitive spots, and both honey and olive oil to moisturize and this mask sounds good enough to eat!
For The Eyes: Sea Flora Sea Therapy Contour Gel For Eyes ($55)
The eye area deserves extra special attention since the skin is thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face. This contour gel, with its blend of wild seaweeds (including a new protein seaweed which packs in amino acids to strengthen the skin and maintain elasticity of tissues) gives your eyes just the TLC they need. The gel also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, co-enzyme Q-10 to provide antioxidants and encourage cellular repair and an AHA fruit acid system to promote collagen production and maintain the beauty of eyes, well into older age.
For The Body: Espa Detoxifying Seaweed Bath ($50)
If you ever thought about bathing in your miso soup, this is about as close as you can get – in the best way possible! This detoxifying bath soak helps to cleanse and refine your skin, and is especially good for skin prone to cellulite or fluid retention. The blend also contains laminaria digitata which stimulates the lymphatic system and mandarin and orange oils which replenish the skin with moisture, giving it a smoother, firmer texture.