In celebration of National Marine Week – which runs from July 25th to August 9th – we’re taking a closer look at the benefits of ocean plants and bacteria, which are aplenty! Not only is algae rather tasty to eat (read our recipe for seaweed spaghetti here) and have a host of health benefits, but topically, they do great things for skin too. Brands like Creme de La Mer have of course popularised the use of sea ingredients in skincare, but you can also find some of the best in natural skincare too.
Just as algae and seaweed are able to protect themselves from discolouration despite the exposure to the sun, the highly antioxidant bio-active compounds they contain, also help protect the skin in the same way and double as effective skin lighteners too.
Use of the oceans plants isn’t new. The Greek tradition of Thalassotherapy – a term, which encompasses using seawater, sea plants and sea air as a form of therapy - has been part of wellbeing rituals for centuries. We think a day at the beach is on a par with a “spa day” for recreating a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing and you can recreate that feeling of seaside bliss at home with a few of our favourite products:
Japanese Wakame: The longest living population, the Okinawans, eat wakame daily as part of their 7-10 portions of fruit and vegetables. The result? Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, says a Kyoto University study. The Okinawans have also been using seaweed for centuries as a ‘cure all’ – as it’s packed with vitamins A, C and E. Topical uses include healing bruises and wounds, relieving eczema, as well as to protecting the skin from UV rays and soothing sunburn. It is also thought to delay wrinkles. Get your fill in Kahina’s Brightening Serum.
Norwegian Kelp & Sea Fern: Norwegian Kelp is one of our favourite ingredients for targeting hyper-pigmentation as it boosts the skin’s melanin elimination process. Meanwhile, Sea Fern helps to prevent skin discolouration and reduce the appearance of dark spots by targeting the transfer process of melanin to pigmentation. You can find both the ingredients in the Tata Harper’s Concentrated Brightening Serum and the Norwegian Kelp in Amala’s Brightening Corrective Concentrate.
Laminara Ochroleuca aka brown algae is great for summer skin as it’s super hydrating and calming. If you suffer from sun damage try the S5 Skincare’s illuminate Serum. Clinical trials show that this seaweed extract helps to protect from damage caused by sun exposure, by reducing inflammation and immune-related ageing. You can also find brown algae complex in the Intelligent Nutrients Nourishing Tonic, which is great for imbalanced skin.
Thermus Thermophilus is a super clever heat-loving bacteria from the bottom of the ocean which mops up free radicals. It protects against age spots, wrinkles and blemishes, by protecting fibroblasts against free radical damage. Get you dose of good bacteria in the Absolution La Creme Du Teint.
Marine Algae Sugar Complex found in Intelligent Nutrients products contains a sebum regulator, which assists in purifying skin, removing excess oil and encouraging cell-renewal. If you want a evenly toned complexion, try the Purifying Cleansing Gel or for a more intense exfoliating treatment, the Refining Micro Polish.
Chlorella: This blue-green algae is rich in amino acids and antioxidants including vitamin C, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and fibre. So whether you consume it internally as a supplement like Pure Synergy or topically, it is known to help improve skin firmness and fight against glycation - a phenomenon preventing the renewal of collagen and elastin fibres. Case in point? Absolution Les Soin Regard Eye Cream, which actually contains Chlorella for its firming factor.
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