The Beauty Secrets Of Seaweed
The Greek goddess of love who arose from the foaming depths of the sea, is said to have owed her beautiful flawless skin and glossy hair to the natural elements she had just emerged from.
Fanciful as it may sound, there is actually much truth in this legend.
Science has now proven that the unique combination of chelated minerals, vitamins, enzymes and amino acids found in seaweed and algae really can beautify the skin and hair. And so the legend becomes reality.
Many species of seaweed have been used as important medicines and food for thousands of years, long before their healing properties had been scientifically proven. The Chinese have been using a seaweed known as bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) externally since ancient times for treating burns and skin complaints, and the Polynesians used it for treating wounds, bruises and inflammation. Taken internally, it is used to treat digestive conditions where a demulcent (soothes inflamed or injured skin) is required such as with gastritis and ulcers.
Iodine was first isolated from bladderwrack in the 18th century, and was used successfully to treat thyroid related illnesses. Over the coming years various types of seaweed were employed in the manufacture of an expanding range of goods including ice cream, beer, toothpaste, stock animal feeds and fertilizers.
During the past 50 years researchers have continued to uncover a veritable treasure trove of health-giving properties hidden within seaweed, and because it is full of lipids, proteins, minerals and vitamins that are easy to absorb, more and more leading skin and hair care manufacturers now use seaweed in their product ranges. We began using bladderwrack in skin care almost 30 years ago after learning of its vast range of benefits, although some customers thought it a bit of an odd thing to include back then!
Now it’s easy to see why products containing algae and seaweeds have become so popular, because these miraculous oceanic plants offer protection against the UV radiation which leads to premature skin aging, they help to stimulate both blood and lymph circulation, and provide a rich harvest of nutrients that replenishes, revitalizes and firms the skin.
This makes it the perfect choice when looking for a natural, active botanical ingredient for use in products that is safe and gentle to the skin. Other species of seaweed that provide fantastic benefits to the skin include Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca), and spirolina (Spirulina maxima).
Out of the blue
Two billion years ago life emerged from the sea as a single-celled seaweed hailing the very first micro-organism on our planet. Through natural evolution there are now more than 10,000 different varieties of seaweed, with some as tiny as a pinhead and others reaching up to 30 metres (90ft) in length.
Seaweeds are simple organisms classified as marine algae, and grow mostly on rocky areas or coral reefs. Unlike plants, they have no vascular system, roots, flowers, leaves or stems, but instead have structures called ‘holdfasts’ and leaf-like fronds that act as shoots to attach themselves to rocks or other sea plants.
Their lack of roots means that they must draw nutrition directly from seawater, which they do with great efficiency. Most species contain 10 times the level of life-giving trace elements normally found in land based plants! Virtually all species of these micro-organisms are photosynthetic and oxygen-evolving.
Anti-aging and vitamin rich
Many species of seaweed contain proteins which help to fight premature ageing of the skin by restructuring collagen and regenerating elastin. This increases the skins suppleness which in turn reduces and softens wrinkles. Due to its iodine and sulphur amino acid content, bladderwrack is stimulating, revitalizing and nourishing to the skin as well as offering antibacterial and skin healing benefits. It helps to protect sensitive skin against sources of irritation hence its use in shaving creams.
This particular type of seaweed also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B12, C, D, E and K, and a wealth of minerals including calcium, copper, chlorine, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. This is why it offers such an amazing wealth of beautifying properties including rehydration, remineralisation, cell regeneration, detoxification, purification and oxygenation.
Apart from the aloe vera plant, there are very few species of natural plant life we know of today that can compete with seaweed for providing such an abundance of health-giving and beautifying properties. Of course this is why we utilize both of them so extensively in our Aroma-botanicals Marinal and Hair Care ranges, and possibly why our Marinal Masque was voted ‘Best Cleansing Face Masque’ in the Natural Health Beauty Awards, 2009.
Together with a host of other active botanicals, seaweeds and algae have proven to be vital ingredients in achieving our goal of producing the finest aromatherapy skin and haircare products that are both highly effective – and safe.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2003. Written by Geoff Lyth