Seaweed (alga) is a hit in the anti-ageing skin care market. Many cosmetics are using seaweed as their star ingredient, attributing it with beneficial properties for enhancing our appearance. Creams and lotions of all kinds are prepared from “seaweed extract”. How genuine is its anti-ageing properties? Or is this a question of misleading advertising?
Many companies, especially from France, Canada, the USA and Australia, sell harvested seaweed extract as an ingredient for personal care products. Their advertising usually emphasizes that the extract is a very useful anti-skin-ageing alternative. Algae are organisms that are simpler than land plants. There are thousands of species worldwide, some used since time immemorial for various purposes (in China they have been used since 5,000 years ago).
From the sea to the face
Seaweed extract is basically used in cosmetics for the following reasons:
It acts as a thickening agent.
It fixes water in mixtures and controls viscosity.
It may have moisturizing, anti-oxidant, photoprotector, anti-bacterial and other properties.
Consequently, using seaweed extract as an ingredient in formulas can be very effective and is practical. Also, as a “natural” product, it is favourably viewed by consumers. It is frequently listed as “seaweed extract” on the label of the products that we buy.
Algae typically found in cosmetics are sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca), brown algae or kelp (Laminaria) and several species of red algae, such as the famous Irish moss (Chondrus crispus).
All kinds of products containing algae are available in the market: oils and lotions, moisturizers, shampoos and soaps, scrubs, makeup and foundations, cleansers, lip balms, hair conditioners, etc. In other words, seaweed is used for almost any kind of cosmetic.
Seaweed’s real effects
All manufacturers logically carry out research looking for alga properties that may have an application in their formulas. And not just for cosmetic products for the skin, but also for nutricosmetic supplements that seek “beauty from within”.
Irish moss has long been used for its emollient and anti-oxidant properties. It contains proteins, vitamin A, sugar, starch, vitamin B1, iron, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and calcium with beneficial effects on the skin.
Brown algae, of which about 1,500 species are known, are rich in polyphenols and fucoidans (polysaccharides), which equip them with strong anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties. A producer of extract of Alaria esculenta, an alga harvested on the north coast of France, insists that this seaweed promotes the formation of collagen and elastin due to its high concentration of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Other claims are that certain algae are useful as free-radical scavengers, helping protect the skin from both intrinsic and environmental damage. Some even highlight seaweed’s ability to stimulate the activity of sirtuins (proteins that regulate the many genes responsible for metabolism and cell repair).
There are many beneficial effects attributed to seaweed extract, described in detail in prestigious scientific journals, for example, its moisturizing action and antiseptic effect against the bacteria that cause acne. Even the photoprotective capacity of certain algae is being used to develop hypoallergenic sunscreens.
Careful with adverts
For all the advantages of seaweed, the claims that it may stop or remove wrinkles, heal skin or provide other amazing benefits need to be interpreted with care. Some adverts claim that seaweed can heal psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis, yet there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.
In conclusion, trust your local supplier and the prestige brands that have conducted thorough research to support claims that a particular seaweed used in their products has any particular effect. Read the labels and, if in doubt, ask before buying.
By Josep Orellana, science journalist
Source: The Healthy Skin
You are 25 but look 35. Blame it on your skin! The skin is the largest organ in the body, and the most exposed. Pollution, ultraviolet rays in the Sun’s light, stress, lack of essential vitamins, all contribute to wear and tear your skin.
Most people don’t take proper care of their skin – either due to hectic work or due to pure ignorance. Lack of proper skin care can result in more skin-related diseases and allergies. Proper skin care is important for avoiding cold sores, spots, and skin cancer. Beauty therapies and skin care lotions are only effective up to a point when it comes to keeping your skin soft and smooth.
Exposure to sunlight causes loss of water in our body which leads to dryness of the skin. This results in the skin losing its elasticity and ‘sagging.’ This loss of elasticity normally happens with ageing. However, changing climatic conditions and atmospheric conditions such as ozone depletion cause the harmful ultraviolet B rays to cause more damage to our skin. This is where nutrition comes in.
In order to get the right skin, it is important to look at the part played by nutrition in skin care. That translates as getting more nutritional food into your diet. Lack of proper nutrition may result in the loss of natural oils present in your skin. Fresh vegetables, fruits, fresh juice, cereals, etc. contain vitamins essential for a healthy skin.
Vitamin E is said to be a skin-care vitamin. Apart from vitamin E, vitamins such as A and C are also essential for a healthy skin. These vitamins contain antioxidants which help the skin to maintain its natural oils. These antioxidants help to reduce the tendency of the skin to age. Ultimately they help fight the punishing effect that the climatic changes have on our skins.
But where do you get the vitamins and nutrients necessary for your skin’s health? Not from your daily diet. For various reasons, people cannot get the right quantity of vitamins and other nutrients into the body through their normal diet. And synthetic vitamins are out.
Enter glyconutrients. Eight essential sugars have been discovered to be the essential building blocks for our body cells recently. There is a lot of research going on about these essential sugars and the larger group of saccharides of which they are a part, called glyconutrients. These eight simple sugars are responsible for cell-to-cell communication necessary for keeping the body’s glands and organs, including the skin, healthy.
Skin care ointments and lotions containing glyconutrients are the best alternative to any beauty therapy. The intake glyconutrients is equally important for health care as well as skin care.
Consult your doctor or dietician, exercise, and drink a lot of water. And give your skin its daily dose of glyconutrients!
Most women expect to have beautiful and glowing skin when they become pregnant. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Since the glow often attributed to pregnancy is due to the hormonal changes a woman’s body undergoes, different reactions are to be expected. Some women may break out during the whole term of their pregnancies while others may have acne only during the first trimester. Some women also experience skin dryness and only a select few start and end their pregnancies all aglow. If you are pregnant and want to maintain great skin throughout your term, it is essential that you have a great skin care routine. The following tips can help you achieve that proverbial pregnant glow:
1. Update your skin care products.
Your skin has different needs compared to your skin before the pregnancy. Since hormonal changes can cause your skin to become oilier or drier, you may need to adjust and change the products you use. Some skin care products may also contain ingredients that are not suitable for pregnant women. Consult your doctor and dermatologist for skin care products that are safe for pregnant women.
2. Switch to moisturizing body washes.
Aside from your facial skin, the skin on your body also needs extra care during the pregnancy. The stress and trauma caused by stretching due to your increasing bulk can make your skin dry and itch. Using soaps can strip your skin off its natural oils and reduce its suppleness. Switch to moisturizing body washes to restore moisture on your skin and prevent itching and dryness.
3. Load up on sun protection.
Your skin’s sensitivity will increase during pregnancy. This means that it can get irritated and damaged easier when exposed to the sun. Avoid skin discolorations, dryness, and irritations by applying sunscreen as part of your daily skin care routine.
4. Pamper your bump.
The skin on your abdominal area experiences continuous stretching throughout the whole term of your pregnancy. This stretching can result to unsightly stretch marks long after you have given birth. Prevent stretch marks by regularly massaging your tummy with a moisturizing pregnancy gel or cream.
5. Pay attention to your breasts.
Your tummy is not the only thing that enlarges during pregnancy. Your breasts also increase in size to prepare for lactation. The skin on your breasts and nipples will be particularly sensitive which can lead to itching and dryness. Applying nipple creams on your breasts can reduce the dryness while wearing cotton maternity bras can help reduce the itching.
6. Go easy on the makeup.
Less is more should be your motto when using makeup during your pregnancy. A foundation stick or concealer, loose powder, and a multipurpose color stick are all you need to put on a polished face. Since skin during pregnancy is sensitive and prone to irritations, choosing moisturizing, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic cosmetics is a must.
Following these tips can help you achieve great skin during your pregnancy. Aside from these, eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercise, and getting sufficient rest are still the most basic things you can do for a good pregnancy and even better skin.
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