Elements from the sea seem to show up on an awful lot of beauty product labels. From very high-end lines like La Mer to more budget-friendly options, ingredients like marine extracts, sea algae, seaweed, marine algae, and microalgae are everywhere. So what exactly are marine extracts and what do they do?
The use of ingredients from the sea for cosmetic purposes is called thalassotherapy. It’s not a new concept; sea elements have been used for skincare for thousands of years. However, new discoveries and benefits are constantly being unearthed – sometimes by scientists who stumble upon skin-perfecting organisms accidentally.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the marine environment is a rich source of chemical elements offering a variety of health benefits. Studies show that its resources have diverse bioactive compounds that may promote beauty when taken internally or applied externally.
Marine algae, in particular, are widely used in skincare products. There are at least 28,000 species varying from single cell organisms to plant-like structures called seaweed. Each variety has its own properties and benefits but in general, algae from the ocean is very high in minerals like copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It’s also rich in vitamins especially A, B-vitamins, C, D, E, and K. Algae moisturizes skin, strengthens skin tissues by promoting elastin and collagen production, and balances moisture for a hydrated, oil-controlled complexion.
There are over 100 algae-derived ingredients used in cosmetics. Some other attributes include preventing UV damage, lightening dark spots by suppressing the enzyme that creates melanin, and treating acne and rosacea due to its anti-inflammatory properties. When used in haircare, seaweed hydrates and softens locks while nourishing the scalp.
Wondering where to find rejuvenating, anti-aging sea algae? Visit my roundup of 25 amazing products with marine extracts.