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While superfood fads come and go, people have trawled the health benefits of seaweed for millennia. The ancients incorporated seaweed in medicinal treatments. In Japan, Korea and China, it’s long been a dietary staple. The Irish deployed it to fertilise farms, while the early Hawaiians cultivated kelp to use for food, medicine and ceremonies.
In more recent times, seaweed has been hailed by chefs for its versatility and umami flavour, by environmentalists for its sustainability, and by wellness warriors for its nutrient density. Now, beauty companies are tapping the skin benefits offered by a wide range of marine plants. Summer, naturally, is the perfect moment to take the plunge.
Seaweed is a rich dietary source of micro and macro nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. When applied topically, marine algae has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-ageing effects. Studies suggest seaweed can help prevent collagen degradation, improve elasticity and hydration, and reverse the damage caused by oxidative stress and UV exposure.
Here are some ways you can start reaping the benefits of marine plants.
Take a dip: Total immersion is the best way to soak up the restorative effects of vitamin sea. When you can’t experience the real thing, Ren’s Atlantic Kelp and Microalgae Bath Oil is your next best bet. It contains a blend of nourishing marine extracts, including kelp and plankton (aka whale food). According to Blue Mind by marine biologist Dr Wallace J. Nichols, floating in water puts us in a slowed state of consciousness, so we use less of our pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain that governs cognitive thoughts).
Mask like a mermaid: When you don’t have time to dive into a bath or the ocean, a mask allows your complexion to swim in sea minerals. Perricone MD Chloro Plasma is a powerful anti-ageing treatment that includes chlorophyll-rich blue green algae for deep detoxification and purification plus skin-smoothing and pore-minimising benefits. Massage onto cleansed skin until the colour becomes a fetching jade green.
Feast your eyes: For an instant eye lift, Elemis Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks are infused with a fast-acting gel containing plankton extract, brown algae extract padina pavonic, and hyaluronic acid to soften lines and wrinkles. For puffy under-eyes, try Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Dew It All Eye Gel, which contains caffeine to reduce puffiness and elasticity-building Japanese algae to plump and fill your fine lines.
Anoint your face: The queen of all sea creams is La Mer’s Crème de la Mer thanks to its legendary Miracle Broth. The broth uses hand-harvested kelp that’s fermented and then infused with light and sound. Warm it between your fingers and press gently into skin.
Mist it on: Grown Alchemist’s Detox Toner contains hydrolised algin derived from kelp to remove toxins from skin and prevent cell membrane damage. It also helps to reverse damage caused by free radicals and environmental aggressors, which accelerate the ageing process. Mist, press and feel revived.
Drench dry lips: Skyn Iceland’s Berry Lip Fix is powered by a red algae that helps repair the skin barrier both above and below the surface. The velvet-like treatment restores lost moisture and leaves lips soft and lush.
Create some waves: Marine ingredients are a natural fit with texture-boosting hair products. Playa’s Endless Summer Spray contains sea salt, Hawaiian red algae, kelp and marine collagen for beachy waves and surfer-girl authenticity.
Words by Jody ScottDecember 2018
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