Thanks to sushi and the current - fully Alder New York endorsed- poke trend, seaweed, a staple of many Asian diets, has started to feel familiar to us westerners. We're starting to see dishes and drinks that include kelp, spiralina, nori, and many other species of seaweed for a flavor boost. And it turns out that not only is this sea lettuce absolutely delicious, it also has incredible skin benefits when applied topically. When we learned how effective seaweed (aka algae or rockweed) is at rejuvenating skin, we knew we had to include it in our Hydrating Face Mask. Read on to learn why this underwater plant is basically the holy grail ingredient of skincare.
Ready for this Gelly
Seaweed is unique from other plants because it doesn’t have a vascular tissue to hold its cells together. Instead, it uses a gel-like substance that scientists are finding has incredible human-cell regenerating properties. This same gel that has allowed seaweed to survive and thrive in varying underwater conditions for millennia also makes it an incredibly potent skin treatment; the ancient Romans actually used seaweed to treat wounds, burns, and rashes.
Plump it Up
Seaweed's unique blend of minerals, amino acids, and essential vitamins actually makes it possible for it to increase our skins' elasticity and collagen production. Seaweed is naturally high in Omega 3 fatty acids- a very important nutrient that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Fatty acids are responsible for the health of our skin membrane, the outer layer of our skin that, when strong and healthy, holds unto water and nutrients and effectively flushes out waste.
As we age our skin cells become thinner and less "sticky." This makes our cell membrane far less effective as a barrier, and less able to hold unto moisture. That's when our skin start to look dry, lose elasticity, and wrinkle.
This is where Omega-3s save the day: they boost the membrane, bringing it back to it's best self. Then our skin is plumper, smoother, and blemish free. Seaweed is that shot of Omega-3s we're always looking for. To put it in perspective, one sheet of nori has the same amount of Omega-3s as two avocados. OMG! (or should I say OMeGa!)
Speaking of aging, as we get older, our skin is in a constant battle with free radicals that cause visible damage and aging. Free radicals are produced when our skin is exposed to smoke, sun, UV rays, pollution, and a host of other things that come with living on planet earth.
Seaweed is incredibly rich in the compound fucoxanthin, an antioxidant which can prevent cell damage and enhance the survival rate of cells that are already damaged. By preventing free radical damage from escalating, seaweed can slow down and even reverse the signs of aging.
In addition to its potent anti-aging properties, seaweed's high levels of vitamin B12, eicosapentaenoic acid, folate, phlorotannins, and vitamin K all work together to make it uniquely suited to treat inflammation. One of our customers' most common skin issues, acne, occurs when our skin’s natural oils are trapped in our pores, leading to inflammation.
Rosacea, another common skin issue our customers deal with, is also caused by skin inflammation. Seaweed's anti-inflammatory effects reduce the pooling of blood under the skin, helping to reducing both rosacea and acne.
After all of this, is it any wonder we included seaweed, in the form of spiralina, as an ingredient in our new Hydrating Face Mask? In addition to basically fixing every skin issue out there, seaweed is also what gives our mask its pretty green color. So there you have it: seaweed- it's not just for poke bowls anymore!