The buzzy, unexpected ingredient you might not be implementing into your skincare routine yet (but should) can actually be found, well, under the sea.
Two of my favorite things about a day at the beach are the natural glow I get from being in the sun, and when my stick-straight blonde hair transforms into perfect natural waves thanks to the salt water. Things I don’t necessarily love about the ocean? Sunburns, jellyfish, and having slimy seaweed brush against my leg in the murky water (*panics and swims to shore*). Well, I’ve recently discovered that we just might want to embrace (metaphorically speaking) that rogue seaweed in the water, since marine-sourced ingredients are actually miracle workers for skin.
Seaweed, algae, and kelp are rich in antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamin C, meaning they hydrate, minimize fine lines, promote collagen production, boost radiance, and help treat hyperpigmentation in skin, Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells Health. Studies show that marine algae can even relieve inflammation and aging in skin due to environmental aggressors like pollution, points out Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
On top of being ultra-hydrating and an anti-aging holy grail, seaweed is safe for all skin types. Prone to breakouts? This little plant is ideal for those with acne and rosacea, since it possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, explains. If you do have sensitive skin or acne, look for products with seaweed that are light and oil-free, adds Dr. Nazarian.
While you probably don’t want to scoop seaweed from the ocean and rub it on your face (although we’re not stopping you), there are skincare products you can purchase to reap the benefits of seaweed that won’t leave you with a sticky residue. Cult-favorite La Mer is certainly one of them, although the steep price tag is enough to make us want to cry. Fortunately, there are other affordable seaweed-infused products (La Mer dupes, yay!) that can give you similar results. Here, dermatologists share their top picks–from serums to moisturizers to masks—for luminous skin.