When you think of algae, it’s totally normal to imagine the slimy, green sludge that gets wrapped around your legs when you’re wading through murky seas. But what if we told you that icky goo is actually insanely good for your skin, especially if you suffer with dryness? Yep, you heard us right. The collective term for aquatic plants (including thousands of seaweeds) that lack any sort of stem, leaves or roots, algae has the ability to act as a powerful skincare antioxidant all while delivering serious levels of hydration to help save your post-summer dry skin.
In fact, while seaweed has been used in skincare regimes as a natural moisture booster for years, now more specific types of algae are being used to supercharge the results. Joel Rubin, Senior Vice President of R&D at DCL explains: “A combination of oxygen and carbon dioxide, algae develops into a macro and micro form which has an extraordinary ability to absorb water. These two forms can then quickly transfer water to the various layers of skin and act as a powerful hydrator.”
And we’re not just talking about your bog-standard seaweed either. The latest algae-infused formulas contain rare forms from some of the purest and most untouched parts of the ocean to promise added skincare benefits. “[Algae] is rich in amino-acids, proteins and a variety of vitamins. The contents will condition and make skin super supple,” reveals Joel.
So what exactly are the other benefits of using algae skincare? Simply put, each different type of algae contains different benefits on top of its hydrating properties. For example, some forms are packed with anti-oxidants as a way to protect themselves against external aggravators while your skin uses it to fight against free radicals. Some, on the other hand, have anti-microbial properties which can help to keep breakouts at bay.
But what does this new trend mean for our oceans we hear you ask? Well, that’s a very good question. Surely extracting tonnes of seaweed and algae from our already troubled oceans can’t be good news? And the truth is, it wouldn’t be. But, if you’re imagining large boats roaming the oceans, clearing our precious waters of its algae and seaweed, you’d better think again. When it comes to collecting algae to use in our skincare, you’d be surprised how sustainable it is. Cultivated mostly by the brands themselves, algae products are a remarkably sustainable skincare choice – especially considering that often the energy produced by the algae growth can be utilised.
Luckily, reaping the benefits of algae doesn’t have to involve having to actually touch the stuff, as some of our favourite brands have found ways to incorporate algae into our favourite skincare products. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Here’s our pick of the best algae-infused skincare products out there…