Why is marine algae such an important component in high end skincare products?
The use of marine ingredients in formulating face and body skin care products has become one of the most popular and innovative developments in advanced and professional skin care. The use of marine biotechnology provides the skin care industry with highly-potent ingredients that cannot be obtained from traditional sources of raw materials used in skin care. For billions of years, algae have been growing, adapting, and evolving. Through the evolutionary process, most forms of algae have developed unique self-protection mechanisms that could also provide protection and other benefits to human skin.
In nature, minerals and trace elements act as important catalysts to all cell functions. Maintaining an optimal level of minerals in the body is critical for preventing cellular imbalances and boosting cell functions, such as cell growth and repair. On a regular basis, the human body requires a replenishment of vital minerals, which can be found naturally within seawater.
Not only can seawater provide a balanced way to supplement minerals needed by the human body, it also provides a nutrient-rich environment in which algae can grow and flourish. As marine plants grow in an abundant mineral-rich medium, they absorb and concentrate various nutrients which are beneficial to human cells. Depending on the environment in which algae grows, it can develop various defense mechanisms to protect itself from environmental aggressors. This is especially true for algae that grow in areas with large tidal fluctuations, such as in the northwest coastal region of France. With the second-highest tide fluctuations in the world, the span of distance between high tide and low tide can reach great lengths in this area, which provides a highly suitable environment for native marine plants to adapt. At different times of the day, the seaweeds that grow here are being protected by cold, mineral-rich seawater. During low tide, these same plants are exposed to UV rays, airborne pollutants, wind, and bacteria—which are the same aggressors to which our skin is exposed. To combat these aggressors, the seaweed develop many “skin-like” qualities that help maintain hydration levels, protect them from UV-induced free radical formation, and help them withstand cold temperatures.
Research has discovered many similarities between human skin and various marine algae species, and we have uncovered ways to use marine extracts to improve many different types of skin conditions. In nature, microscopic algae produce various molecules, such as polymers, enzymes, pigments, and peptides. In the laboratory, scientists are not only capable of cultivating these algae, but they can also naturally stimulate the algae’s production of these beneficial molecules. Marine biotechnology uses micro-algae as “manufacturers” of cosmetic raw materials that provide powerful results. An example of this is an exopolysaccharide (EPS), or complex sugar that is excreted by a microorganism, and it is an ingredient that can be produced for skin care products using this science. In nature, the micro-algae produces the EPS as a biofilm to help it adhere to surfaces when conditions get aggressive. This biofilm, made of a complex structure of sugars, provides both immediate and long-term results. Only minutes after applying a product containing EPS, wrinkles are often visibly smoother and skin is lifted. After one month of daily use, the EPS improves the production of collagen and elastin in the skin to help restore a youthful appearance.
New research has validated what some cultures have known for thousands of years: ocean plants contain chemicals that provide anti-aging and other benefits for healthy skin. The superb skin hydration and volumizing effects of marine collagen-based products have led to their rapidly-growing popularity in Europe. As more and more American consumers experience the remarkable results achievable with marine based products, the demand for these products will, without a doubt, only continue to grow throughout the US.