Seaweed suffers no deficiencies and is rich in the vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, and trace elements that the body needs to maintain proper balance and function. It is known that there are seaweeds which are hydrating, healing, detoxifying, restorative, defends against anti-aging, protects against ultraviolet lights, and helps to prevent acne. Seaweed can also aid in cell proliferation due to its high level of antioxidants.
Dive Deeper: Sea Ingredients 101
Over 40,000 species of seaweed worldwide is just the beginning…
Seaweed:Nature's perfect substance, is classified by color. Each of the four colors feature unique functions and benefits as follows:
- Brown: Staples in the world of skin care like Laminaria digitata, Ascophyllum nodosum, and Fucus vesiculosus are found in the upper middle section of the ocean and provide essential fatty acids needed for maintaining skin barrier. Extremely rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, brown seaweeds are characterized by their hydrating and nourishing abilities and high levels of antioxidants.
- Red: Seaweeds like Ahnfeltia concinna and Corallina officinalis thrive in the deepest level of the ocean. Benefits include soothing and repairing, hydrating, nourishing, natural UV protection; and they are antioxidant-rich.
- Blue/Green: Moisture locking Codium tomentosum balances and repairs skin barrier; protein-rich Ulva lactuca acts to stimulate synthesis of collagen and elastin fibers to increase vitality and brightness of skin, while hydrating and nourishing;. Enteromorpha compressa features soothing anti-inflammatory properties, helps to increase circulation, and reduces the desquamation process of the skin.
- Micro/Macro Algaes: Porprhyridium cruentum is a red unicellular micro algae with no cell wall which is known for its richness eyefacein essential fatty acids, high levels of vitamins B and C, and its ability to protect skin again of pathogenic microorganisms; Spirulina is one of the highest known sources of protein with a high concentration of GLAs, essential fatty acids, and omegas making it a powerful antioxidant.
Sea Mud: When used in body treatments, mud works as a great anti-inflammatory and detoxifier. In skin care, particularly face care, sea mud, especially the sulfur-rich sea mud originating from the Dead Sea, is known to refine pores by drawing out imperfections and has a deep cleansing effect on the skin. Some muds can be used to tighten and firm. Similar to seaweed, high quality sea mud will retain the nutrient-rich make up of the sea.
Sea Salt: All salts originate from the sea. As an ingredient in a bath, it is known for its ability to relieve muscle tension and aches, provides body detoxification, and tones. As an exfoliant, sea salt is skin softening. The richness in minerals, which is retained in quality salts, helps to recreate the therapeutic aspects of bathing in the sea at home.
Sea Stones: Sea Stones are natural conductors of cold and heat. Composed primarily of basalt and granite with high iron content, sea stones are known to store heat and are used in massage therapy to trigger pressure points. Hot sea stone therapy is a way to release endorphins, soothe tense muscles, and increase circulation. Cold stones have been known to provide relief from migraines and tension as well as decreasing redness, making an ideal addition for sensitive skin treatments.
Deep Sea Thermus Thermophilus: This ferment is derived from deep sea hydro thermal vents and has the unique ability to help protect DNA. Thermus thermophilus provides self adjusting enzyme activity, fibroblast protection, and cell membrane protection while acting to combat free radical damage.
Of course, not all seaweed is created equal. When selecting a line of sea based products, aestheticians should research the following key pieces of information:
- Investigate the origination and harvesting method of seaweed when choosing a product line. Source seaweeds from fresh, unpolluted waters. The quality of seaweed originating from the Brittany Coast of France is unparalleled. The cold waters of the Brittany Coast are strictly regulated by the French government, ensuring protection and renewability of this natural resource. Be sure the seaweed is deep sea harvested seaweed rather than shore or wreck seaweed.
- Seaweed processing is another important aspect that will help to judge quality. Heat and oven drying methods change the molecular structure of seaweed plants and leave it deficient in nutrients. Look for seaweed that is processed with a cold method that retains all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
- Choose a reputable company that understands skin care formulations based on seaweed. Look for a company that is made in the U.S., and houses their own research and development rather than using private label. If you are not sure, ask a company representative where their laboratories are and where they manufacture.
- Check the ingredient list on all products you are considering. Be sure that seaweed is listed as one of the top ingredients. The closer to the top of the list, the better.
Contraindications? Be cautious when using heated stones on pregnant women. Remember – if you love swimming in the ocean, seaweed is a perfect ingredient for you.