Maybe you’ve only encountered seaweed in your favorite sushi restaurant or washed up on the beach, but seaweed has also been an ingredient in skin care throughout history.
A Bit of Background
Across every continent, seaweed has been used in a number of ways to promote health and cure ailments.
In Ireland, for instance, farmers collected seaweed to use as fertilizer for their crops, as early as 1200 AD. Ancient Hawaiians used seaweed for food, medicine, and in their tribal ceremonies.
The Japanese have used seaweed in their diet for centuries, as well, and recent research shows that using kelp in traditional dishes might contribute to the lower rate of cancer in Japanese women.
“Brown kelp seaweed makes up more than 10 percent of the Japanese diet,” said Christine Skibola, assistant research toxicologist at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “Soy has gotten most of the attention, but our study suggests that kelp may also contribute to these reduced cancer rates among Japanese women.”
Seaweed: Vegetables for Your Skin
The nutrients that seaweed provides can benefit our diet, but those same nutrients will also do wonders for your skin.
Seaweeds contain vitamins A, C, and E, and are full of minerals that our bodies love, like iron, potassium, and zinc.
Using seaweed directly on the skin has some amazing detoxifying effects — many spas use seaweed wraps to help diminish the appearance of cellulite and rejuvenate skin.
There are several varieties of seaweed, and can be grouped by color.
Brown algaes include kelp, kombu, and nori. This kind of seaweed is detoxifying and can help reduce cellulite.
Green algaes include wakame. Green algaes are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, and they assist in stimulating collagen production.
Blue-green algaes like spirulina contain amino acids and stimulate cellular metabolism.
Red algaes and white algaes are both known for their soothing properties.
Using Seaweed in Your Own Skin Care Regimen
If you’d like to incorporate seaweed into your beauty routine, there are a number of ways you can include it.
Using seaweed in a facial mask will help to detoxify skin, ease irritation, and moisturize dry skin.
Seaweed has long been praised for its effectiveness in getting rid of cellulite — many spas will offer full body wraps to minimize the appearance of dimpled skin.
Products with seaweed are also especially helpful in treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It’s a natural source of omega-3 fats, which nourish and hydrate, along with amino acids, which help to soothe flaking skin.
Here are a few of our favorite Soap Hope brands that use seaweed!