Algae Skin Care

This post is about marine products for skin care. A lot of brands are out there and I’m not aware of how many or how all of them work, or if they work. One brand, Algenist (available at Sephora), from the company Solazyme uses an active ingredient from algae with a powerful anti-aging benefits, Alguronic Acid. This natural product from algae (according to BE Magazine) is better than Hyaluronic Acid, the active ingredient in Restylane. I love the fact that the demand for more natural and botanical products are growing and that the marine products such as algae, sea water, marine collagen, plankton etc  takes a prominent place. Read more about these active ingredients below:
From the sea to the skin

An abundant diversity

Among the multiplicity of marine actives there are substances of animal origin like marine collagen, very rich in amino acids, that penetrates quickly in the skin, marine elastin, a protein found in connective tissues of certain fish species, that provides elasticity to tissues and helps slow down their ageing, marine DNA, extracted from salmon milt, that plays an active role in the synthesis of protein in the basal layer of the epidermis and which is a perfect moisturiser and cell repairer.

The sea also offers many mineral actives, starting with seawater, which has astringent and tonic properties thanks to its content in minerals and trace elements. Sea salt, also, offers an incomparable richness in trace elements and can enter in the composition of various cosmetic products, particularly in those with an exfoliating action or products recommended for peeling.

Extracted from seawater, marine magnesium is known to boost skin tone, helping to regulate and optimize the energy capacity of cells. The skin has a renewed tonicity and strength. It is nourished and protected, sustainably.

On the side of plant actives, algae are getting increasing attention. Species diversity and a high available biomass across the oceans make it a huge resource.

Algae, a promising resource

Where does their richness come from? Algae have the particularity of experiencing similar stresses to those of the skin, in often much higher proportions: regular dehydration (tides), attacks from UV radiations, thermal stress (air/water), oxidation, bacterial attacks (wetland), the change in seasons, and shocks against rocks (mechanical protection / healing). The study of algae’s protection strategies opens up a vast field of research in the area of cosmetic actives.

Algae contain 75% of organic matter among which mineral salts and trace elements. Among the most valuable: anti-infective sulphur, slimming iodine… On the side of vitamins, they contain vitamins A, D and E, not to mention their high content in proteins and amino acids. The singular advantage of algae, in particular of macroalgae, compared to other natural cosmetic raw materials stands in their “skin-compatibility”. They do not, indeed, present any specific dermal toxicity and are perfectly compatible with skin tissues.

Another plus, algae can also meet demand for organic cosmetics. Under certain conditions, including water quality and harvest sustainability wild algae harvested in their natural environment can claim in Europe, to organic certification.

What application in cosmetics?

In the past thirty years, algal ingredients have boomed in cosmetics. The richness of these algae in polysaccharides of various structures, the multitude of molecules derived from the polymerization of these macromolecules are paving the way for new original actives. To only name a few, the most commonly used are:

  • Phycolloïdes, who have quickly conquered the market: thanks to their texturing properties they are excellent gelling agents, thickeners and formula stabilizers.
  • Algal polysaccharides, highly appreciated for their rheological properties.

Algae thereby find their place in topical daily skin care applications, cosmetic institutes and spas. Driven by the craze for naturalness and the search for sustainable industries, a bright future undoubtedly lies ahead of algae and other marine ingredients, in the cosmetic industry.


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