New research suggests that a concentrated form of seawater containing all of the minerals and vitamins needed for life, sea algae rejuvenates, hydrates and brightens the skin with its natural properties. It could be ideal for skin and hair products because of the protective cells they use to shield themselves from the harmful effects of the sun. It has also been found by researchers that algae produces fatty acids that can treat acne. Scientists in Scotland believe marine algae could help fight spots. They discovered that fatty acids produced by algae have cleansing qualities.
Marine algae or seaweeds can be divided into red algae, brown algae, blue-green algae and green algae. In cosmetic you will find mostly red and brown algae.
According to The New York Times, there are more than 100 algae-derived ingredients used in cosmetics worldwide.
Algae extract is rich in a compound called Alguronic Acid, shown to increase cell regeneration and the synthesis of elastin. Elastin is a protein in the skin’s underlying layers that give it firmness and elasticity. As skin ages, it begins to lose its elastin fibers. The thinning and deterioration of elastin over time causes wrinkles, ‘laugh’ lines, expression marks, sagging and rippled skin. The decrease in elastin physically changes the skin’s structure, leaving it weaker and more susceptible to tears. Aging skin loses Elastin at the rate of about one percent each year– even faster if exposed to constant sunlight. The loss of elastin combined with gravity and the natural slackening of facial muscles, contribute to sagging, droopy, wrinkled skin.
Some algae contain Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), a bacterial microphyte that stimulates skin cell movement and production and is proven to be more abundant in proteins and minerals than a mother’s milk. Algae is also full of enzymes, chlorophyll, amino acids, nucleic acids, fatty acids, and DHA. Amino acids in algae firm and renew tissue while the fatty acids fight against inflammation, leaving the skin even, soft and supple. Due to the algae’s nutritious, soft cell wall, all of these nutrients are easily absorbed in the skin.
Benefits of Using Algae
- A good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Regulates the production of sebum for the skin to be moisturized and thereby prevent dehydration of the skin.
- Algae helps fight free radicals and also helps aid in the production of collagen and elastin, which are essential to having firmer skin.
- Offers rejuvenation with essential minerals and vitamins to prevent the aging process while also repairing skin damage.
- Marine algae, Corallina pilulifera contains components that prevent UV-induced oxidative skin damage. Its main mechanism of action is deactivating of some enzymes (called matrix metalloproteinases or MMP) that are responsible for destruction of skin matrix after excessive UV-radiation. No destruction – no wrinkles.
- Brown algae, Eisenia arborea contains components that inhibit itching and can provide relief for atopic dermatitis.
- Algal culture has been found to be in supportive in building a healthy cholesterol balance, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism. The algal fractions and isolates were shown to have a preventative beneficial effect against the negative effects of the high-fat diet on the animal’s plasma cholesterol levels. Specifically, the extracts significantly increased high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, aka “good” cholesterol), and reduced non-HDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and the ratio of total cholesterol/HDL-C, despite the ongoing consumption of high fat food.
Take note that in order to be effective in cosmetics, seaweeds should be present in sufficient amount. Many cosmetic products contain seaweeds in such minor quantities that their biological activity is negligible.