Packed with minerals and vitamins essential in maintaining healthy and youthful skin, seaweed has been touted as a healthy food as well as a skin nourishing ingredient. The beauty industry is no stranger to the use of seaweed, and over the past decade more and more products are adding seaweed to their list of ingredients.
Many spas now offer seaweed body wrap treatments, while several health supplement companies offer seaweed extracts as a health booster, a weight management product or a detoxifier.
Naturally, this marine wonder draws its nutrients from the environment, and while doing that, it also absorbs pollution in the water. This absorbent property makes it an ideal ingredient for cleansing the skin, removing impurities and environmental pollutants. This alone is already excellent for the skin, as pollutants increase skin ageing and myriad undesirable conditions from acne to cellulite.
However, don't just go to the sea and grab any seaweed that you lay your eyes on. According to Lydia Sarfati, founder and CEO of the first company to bring seaweed-based skincare treatments and cosmetics to fruition in the US market, there are more than 4,000 kinds of seaweed in the world. Not all seaweeds are edible and not all of them make good skincare products. Some contain irritating acids that render them both inedible and hazardous to the skin.
"We have been in this business for about 20 years, sourcing the right seaweeds for our products, and it wasn't easy. While seaweed products are good for any skin type, not just any seaweed can be used. There are over 4,000 kinds and each of them has different pros and cons. Only a handful are good for human skin and can be put into skincare products," Sarfati said.
Since there are so many kinds, sometimes they are mentioned under other names, not just as seaweed. Seaweed is actually marine algae, so sometimes the term algae is used.
Sea kelp is also a kind of seaweed. Sometimes they go by a more specific name, such as Laminaria (a genus of brown algae), and wakame (the edible seaweed), among others.
Most of them share detoxifying properties, but not all are the same. However, do not let the "natural" ingredient fool you - just because it contains something from nature does not mean the product is natural or organic.
It is best to do some research about the type of seaweed listed on a product. Is the label clear enough about exactly what type of seaweed goes into the bottle or is it just an unconvincingly generic term like "seaweed"? Is it from a credible brand? Is it really the name of an existing, verified seaweed, or just new jargon created for the product? Is there research to back up the claims? You can never ask too many questions when it comes to choosing the right product for your skin, for what's at stake is your health and beauty.
Biotherm Pure-Fect Skin Anti-Shine Gentle Scrub Soap boasts five potent active ingredients, including Laminaria digita, a marine algae that produces powerful purifying antibacterial protection on the skin.
H2O Plus Eye Oasis Instant Hydrating Eye Stick delivers moisture to the delicate skin around the eyes with hydrating effects of wakame, sea fennel and sea lettuce.
Repechage Biolight range contains a Laminaria complex to battle the skin’s ageing process.
Oriflame Swedish Spa Stimulating Shower Gel is a reinvigorating gel with an uplifting marine fragrance, enriched with softening Hydracare+, invigorating sea algae extracts, and tiny, stimulating pearls.
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About the author
- Writer: Napamon Roongwitoo
Position: Outlook Writer