We often talk about the health benefits of adding seaweed into your diet, but did you know that seaweed also makes an excellent natural cosmetic? The benefits of seaweed for skin and hair are well documented. Packed with abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids, seaweed is already used in many mainstream cosmetic products. Check the back of your favourite facial serum, eye cream or moisturiser – if you spot algin, alginate or alginic acid, then you’re already enjoying the cosmetic benefits of seaweed! Read on to discover exactly what seaweed does for your skin and hair…
Seaweed has evolved to grow in an environment that is constantly changing. Changes in temperature, PH levels, moisture levels, UV radiation levels, pollutants and salinity are all in a day’s work for the humble ocean vegetable! This means that seaweed has developed a strong natural resistance to environmental stressors, producing natural antioxidants that bind and neutralise damaging free radicals (earning them the nickname ‘free radical scavengers’). Free radicals are highly reactive atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and ageing. Products that contain seaweed offer natural protection from these nasty pollutants, leaving your skin bright and hair smooth.
Seaweed is rich in nearly all vitamins, including Vitamin C. Topically-applied Vitamin C is one of the most highly recommended, scientifically-backed skin treatments out there. It helps to slow the signs of early ageing, improving the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. When used in conjunction with sunscreen, Vitamin C has been shown to offer improved protection against harmful ultraviolet rays. It also helps to regulate the production of oil (sebum) which can help to prevent breakouts. Vitamin C can also help fight bacteria on the scalp, reducing dryness and itchiness, and encouraging new hair growth.
Packed with Vitamin E and fatty acids, seaweed is a famously efficient moisturiser. It draws moisture to skin and hair cells, locking it in to leave a silky smooth finish. When used on the hair, the added moisture has a detangling effect, and is effective at warding off dandruff. Seaweed is a great source of hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring acid that can bind an astonishing 1,000 times its weight in water.
The high mineral content of seaweed encourages the production of collagen – the protein that serves as one of the main building blocks for our bones, skin, hair, muscles and ligaments. Collagen is what makes our skin plump and soft, and our hair thick and lustrous. As we age, our collagen production gradually slows, but seaweed can give it a natural boost, encouraging a youthful appearance for longer. Our skin is made up of about 75% collagen – its importance as an anti-ageing substance really can’t be overstated!
Seaweed has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a fantastic soothing treatment for skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Kelp and seaweed contain the complex carbohydrate fucoidan, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent known to calm swelling and sensitive skin. Fucoidan is also thought to have antiviral and anti-cancer properties, with more studies on the subject appearing every year.
Certain species of seaweed contain a staggering ten times as much calcium as milk! Calcium is a mineral that helps to preserve that healthy skin glow. It’s stored in the epidermis – the outermost layer of skin – so the effects of this micronutrient are most noticeable to the naked eye. Calcium helps to stimulate oil (sebum) production, which keeps skin hydrated and free from dryness, irritation and eczema. Calcium also stimulates the enzymes responsible for strong, glossy hair.
So there you have it – our top 6 benefits of seaweed for skin and hair! If you’d like to try it yourself, why not treat yourself to a bar of our seaweed soap – with invigorating ginger, energising lemongrass and organic winged kelp from Lofoten.