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When you think of beauty products, seaweed probably isn’t the first ingredient to come to mind. The messy tangles that wrap around your ankles when you go to the beach are the last thing you want to put on your face!
But seaweed has massive potential for skincare, and seaweed moisturizing face masks are in vogue for a reason. Not only can seaweed help with signs of aging, but this seemingly all-powerful plant also helps with everything from uneven skin tone to unwanted blemishes.
So, before you buy your next face mask, you should learn about seaweed’s skincare potential. This nourishing, protective, antioxidant-filled plant is a true beauty-boosting powerhouse.
The Benefits of Seaweed Moisturizing Face Masks
Putting raw, slimy green seaweed on your face would be weird, but in a facial mask, it makes perfect sense. Seaweed is ideal for skin hydration in a few ways.
For one thing, seaweed, kelp, and algae all have an affinity for the skin. You can think about it like this, Seawood drifts through ocean currents collecting and concentrating minerals and nutrients it needs to survive.
In many ways, that process is similar to the way our skin cells collect nutrients from the plasma in our blood. And, believe it or not, saltwater and human plasma are chemically adjacent.
The somewhat strange similarities between seaweed and our skin make seaweed safe for all skin types. And, it means that seaweed face masks are able to balance, nourish, and protect skin in multiple ways. So, whether you have aging skin, acne-prone skin, dry skin, or redness, seaweed can help correct it.
Seaweed does this in part thanks to specific polysaccharides (those are long-chain sugars, but nothing like what you spoon into your coffee cup). These polysaccharides pull water in and boost hydration.
But this ocean plant is rich in other vitamins and minerals too. For example, seaweed contains niacin which is good for brightening and treating hyperpigmentation. It’s also rich in vitamin C, which has a whole host of skincare benefits, like brightening skin and speeding natural exfoliation.
Plus, seaweed is loaded with amino acids and phytohormones which can combat the effects of aging. Phytohormones, by the way, are simply plant molecules that occur in extremely low concentrations, which may have a positive effect on human cells.
Beyond that, seaweed has lots of vitamin A which improves cell turnover. When cells turn over more efficiently, you end up with smoother and brighter skin. Vitamin A also promotes the production of collagen, which can improve skin elasticity and reduce fine lines. And if that wasn’t enough, the vitamin A in seaweed is also a powerful acne fighter.
Both vitamins A and C are antioxidants too. They, along with certain flavonoids found in seaweed, can help reduce inflammation.
When you think of inflammation and skincare, you probably think of redness or swelling, but inflammation is more than that. It plays a role in many skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. So, reducing it isn’t simply a beauty hack; it’s good for your health overall!
Seaweed Face Masks and Hyaluronic Acid: A Winning Combo
It’s clear that seaweed in a face mask can do a lot of good, but it’s rare to find seaweed on its own. Typically, when it comes to skincare, manufacturers combine seaweed and other powerful hydration ingredients.
One of those ingredients is hyaluronic acid, which you’ve probably heard of before. Hyaluronic acid is found in seaweed naturally, but skincare creators often add more to their seaweed-based products. That’s because hyaluronic acid is one mighty molecule!
Hyaluronic acid is technically a sugar molecule, and you’ll find it in many plants. We also need it in our skin. Hyaluronic acid is responsible for binding collagen and water molecules. When collagen and water combine, your skin ends up looking plumper and more youthful.
Both collagen and hyaluronic acid decline naturally as we age, but this magic molecule isn’t just for people over thirty. Hyaluronic acid benefits dehydrated skin in general, and dehydration in the skin can have many culprits.
Harsh weather, the use of heaters or air conditioners, and certain skincare products can quickly dehydrate our skin. Some makeups and medications can also wreak havoc on skin hydration. For example, Salicylic acid, a common acne medication, can also make skin dry and flaky. But hyaluronic acid, especially in something like a seaweed face mask, can help fix that.
The same is true for those who suffer from mild to moderate eczema. Hyaluronic acid combined with seaweed extracts can be extremely helpful, and users tend to find it more enjoyable to apply than thick and heavy creams.
Typical Seaweed Face Mask Ingredients
Every seaweed face mask is different, and what you need will depend on your skin type. In general, though, they all contain a mix of potent dry ingredients along with a specific seaweed type.
The type of seaweed matters because where and when manufacturers harvest it determines what nutrients the seaweed will contain.
As far as other dry ingredients, the list of possibilities is seemingly endless. For example, some masks include clays to help absorb excess oil and control shine. Others use activated charcoal to help purify the skin. Still, others add in rose powder to help keep moisture in.
You might also find ingredients like ylang-ylang oil, oatmeal, or even ground almonds. Ylang-ylang has antiseptic properties that help clear blemishes, while oatmeal and ground almonds soothe and polish textured skin.
Most seaweed face masks also contain aloe vera. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties; it also makes an excellent liquid base for face masks, though botanical extracts, like lime or chamomile, work well too.
Many also contain olive oil or jojoba oil, both of which are wonderful moisturizers. They’re great at penetrating skin cells, and olive oil, specifically, promotes cell turnover. So in cold, dry weather, it’s an excellent ingredient to find in a facial sheet mask.
Finally, seaweed face masks often have starches in them. In part, the starches provide the texture you want in a mask, but they have a purpose beyond that. Potato starches, for example, can help smooth wrinkles and brighten skin tone. Conversely, cornstarch can soothe redness and irritation.
Ingredients to Avoid
Seaweed face masks are safe for all skin types, and allergies to seaweed are nearly unheard of. However, some ingredients pop up in face masks you may want to avoid. Parabens are one of them.
Parabens are preservatives that keep the potions in your bathroom cabinet usable for years. Unfortunately, they’re easily absorbed through our skin. Once we absorb parabens into our bodies, it’s thought that they mimic estrogen. Unfortunately, scientists have linked too much estrogen to severe diseases, like breast cancers.
You’ll also want to look out for synthetic fragrances. They might smell amazing, but they’re full of unknown ingredients. Manufacturers tend to list them as one thing, but if you see “artificial fragrance” on a label, it should raise a red flag. There could be hundreds of components within any given synthetic scent, and it’s hard to say whether any of them are good for your skin.
How to Choose The Right Seaweed Face Mask For Your Skin
Now that you have some insight on seaweed face masks in general, let’s get personal. As we mentioned above, every seaweed skincare product is different because every type of seaweed has unique properties.
Seaweed nutrients vary based on type, as well as where and when the seaweed is harvested. That means some are best for oily skin while others work better for redness and irritation.
Below, we discuss which seaweed works best for each skin type and why. We also touch on other ingredients your skin type might like.
If you have sensitive skin, you might be hesitant to try a new product because you never know what’s going to make your skin go haywire! For you, it’s best to look for a mask that contains calming and hydrating ingredients.
Look for something containing aloe vera, chamomile, or green tea. And, when it comes to types of seaweed, your best bet is a mask that contains Giant Kelp. Giant Kelp is high in a polysaccharide called fucoidan, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It will soothe skin and may be helpful with common conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Sea spaghetti, or Himanthalia Elongata, is the best type of seaweed for oily skin. This is because it has high levels of amino acids and vitamins. Together, they’ll help regulate your skin’s pH level.
See, everyone’s skin has what scientists and doctors call, an acid mantle. Acid mantles are a series of amino acids, lactic acids, and oils that protect our skin. If it becomes too acidic, though, your skin may overproduce sebum, leading to shine and minor breakouts. Using a face mask with sea spaghetti can help bring things back to base level.
If you’re prone to acne and blemishes, look for a mask with Bladder Wrack or Fucus Vesiculosus. It’s exceptionally high in vitamin A which promotes cell turnover and helps to heal blemishes.
Bonus points if your mask of choice includes witch hazel or tea tree. Both have antiseptic properties that can help clear breakouts up, but neither of them are overly harsh.
If fine lines, wrinkles, and lack of plumpness are your concern, Oarweed or Laminaria Digitata is what you should look for. Oarweed is a type of seaweed packed with antioxidants and vitamin B3. B3 minimizes dark spots, while the antioxidants reduce signs of aging.
You should also look for something with added hyaluronic acid and rose petals or rose extract. Both will keep your skin hydrated which reduces the appearance of fine lines.
Redness and Irritation
This might sound odd, but for redness or irritation, you should look for Red Algae in your next face mask. Adding something red to rid redness is counterintuitive, but Red Algae, or Chrondus Crispis, is ideal for relieving inflammation due to environmental pollutants.
While you’re at it, chamomile and aloe vera are also soothing ingredients. If you can find them with Red Algae in a facemask, you should snatch that mask up. It’s almost sure to provide relief from skin irritation, giving you back a healthy glow.
How to Use a Seaweed Face Mask
Using a seaweed face mask is no different from other masks. In general, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. That said, below, we give a few tips for making the most of your face mask experience.
With any mask, you want to start with clean skin. So take off any makeup, and cleanse your face thoroughly. Make sure you wash your hands too! Dirty fingers easily transfer oil and bacteria onto your face.
Alternatively, you could opt for a sheet mask that helps you avoid touching your own skin. Or, you can use a clean foundation brush to apply the mask.
When applying your face mask, it’s all too tempting to use a lot. More is better, right? Wrong. A thick application won’t penetrate your skin any better than a smooth, thin layer. All it will do is waste products, and that gets expensive!
Once the mask is on, make sure to follow the instructions regarding timing. Again, it’s easy to believe that leaving a mask on longer will yield better results. But, in truth, it will probably just dry your skin out.
After that, it’s essential to remove the mask thoroughly. Cleanse your skin with cool water, and always apply a moisturizer after masking. Moisturizing is key to keep your freshly masked skin from drying out.
And one more thing, beauty fiends are notorious for constantly switching up their skincare routine. Ideally, though, you’ll use the same mask at least a few times in a regular rotation. That will give you the best effects. Using a mask once is great, but using it weekly is a far better bet.
Similar Treatments To Try
Seaweed masks aren’t the only way to generate great skin. Seaweed is trendy right now, but other tried and true products yield many of the same results. If you want to improve hydration in your skin, look for anything with hyaluronic acid or retinoids.
Retinol is a type of retinoid, which is a derivative of Vitamin A. As we mentioned, vitamin A improves cell turnover, which minimizes the effects of aging and can help with blemishes. It’s often available in prescription form from your dermatologist.
Prescription retinoids come with serious side effects, though, because they’re so powerful. They can cause redness, flaking, and even burning sensations. That’s why many turn to non-prescription retinol instead. Non-prescription retinol takes longer to work, but the side effects are minimal.
Something like Admire My Skin’s Clinically Effective Retinol Cream is ideal. It combines the magic of hyaluronic acid, retinol, and plant stem cells to improve skin tone and texture. But it’s not as harsh as the stuff you’d get with a prescription.
We’ll be honest, we never thought seaweed would be on top of the beauty scene, but there’s no denying this ocean plant’s potency in skincare Kelp, algae and the many other types of ocean grass all have major beauty benefits.
Whether you need to get rid of redness, wrinkles, or acne, seaweed could be the key. But no one’s saying you should replace your washcloth with a slimy green leaf. That would be disgusting!
It’s far better to use this fantastic plant in mask form. A seaweed face mask can provide incredible hydration, all while fighting blemishes and minimizing signs of aging skin. Thanks to potent antioxidants and nourishing vitamins, seaweed might be your new beauty best friend.