The sushi ingredient to add to your skincare routine stat
What do celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian-West and Victoria Beckham all have in common? Well, aside from the obvious (fame, beauty and abundance of wealth), these A-listers all share a love for the humble seaweed – and no, we don’t mean the kind that’s wrapped around sushi rolls, either.
We’re talking good old-fashioned slimy seaweed – which, despite its not-so-popular status with beach dwellers, is actually one of the most highly beneficial ingredients for the skin.
Jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, it’s no surprise that this marine-sourced ingredient is having a moment in the beauty realm.
From seaweed facials to seaweed-based creams, serums and scrubs – we’re giving you the lowdown on why everyone is going gaga for the algae.
But first, what even is seaweed?
Seaweed is the name given to a class of marine plants and algae that can be found in our oceans, rivers and lakes. It is one of the fastest growing organisms in the planet, which is why it is so abundantly available.
Aside from sheltering organisms, it also acts as a natural filtration system for the sea and comes in a variety of colours, textures and tastes.
Is it really beneficial for the skin?
The short answer would be; yes. Yes, it is. Due to how seaweed naturally interacts with the ocean, it is extremely absorbent making it a potent source of skin-loving nutrients and minerals.
What does it actually do for the skin?
With over tens and thousands of varieties in the world, (and over 900 in New Zealand alone) seaweed is one of the most ubiquitous marine ingredients in skincare. Below, we narrow down five main benefits you can expect to reap from this hardworking ocean crop.
1. Oil control
Thanks to the natural components of proteins, vitamins and minerals in seaweed, applying it to the skin can help regulate sebaceous gland activity. This ensures the skin is properly hydrated without being too greasy or oily.
bh loves: The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Balancing Mask; $37.95, L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Anti-Blemish Mask; $19.99
Being one of the highest sources of antioxidants and amino acids, seaweed protects the skin from free radicals and helps promote collagen production. The result is younger-looking skin, with less visible appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Jennifer Lopez is an alleged fan of the algae’s anti-ageing powers. According to Racked, the superstar’s favourite treatment consists of a mix of placenta, stem cell and, ofcourse, seaweed.
3. Soothing properties
People who suffer from rosacea, acne or sensitive skin can also use seaweed-enriched products as part of their skincare routine.
The brown and leathery Laminaria Digitata, for example, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and unique compounds that help soothe, calm and replenish the skin.
Believers of the underwater plant’s healing properties include Kim Kardashian-West, who has admitted to using seaweed-based products to treat her psoriasis.
When applied to the body, seaweed helps draw out toxins and impurities from the skin. It also acts as a natural cleanser and exfoliant for dead skin cells, which help renew and replenish the dermis.
5. Moisturises the skin
Seaweed is full of natural hydrators like essential fatty acids and vitamin E that help lock moisture into our skin. What’s more, it has a high mineral content which helps strengthen and maintain the skin’s epidermal barrier for a plumper-looking dermis.
bh loves: Syrene AquaLight Moisture Gel Lotion; $99.99, Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream; $39
Is it harmful to the ecosystem?
Not if it’s done under strict regulations. While there are a few regional restrictions in New Zealand for harvesting seaweed, places like Canada, the U.S. and Europe follow strict federal rules that ensure an environmentally mindful approach to the practice. This includes cutting seaweed at the root and never yanking, which prevents it from growing back.
Meanwhile companies who buy from contracted harvesters screen suppliers carefully, or alternatively grow the ingredients in their lab.
What do you think of seaweed as an ingredient in skincare? Have you tried any products enriched with it?