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The Power of Seaweed in Skin Care

 As the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once pointed out, “How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when it is quite clearly Ocean.” Water covers 70 per cent of our planet’s surface, and the ocean’s inhabitants, specifically, plankton and algae, are estimated to contribute between 50 to 85 per cent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. The practice of going to the ocean for good health has been practiced for thousands of years. Over the past 200 plus years ocean-based health therapies, termed Thalassotherapy, have been the subject of much research and development. The use of ocean water, algaes, ocean mud and marine minerals have been developed to treat rheumatism, arthritis, joint troubles and injuries, as well as to repair, hydrate, soothe and regenerate skin cells.

Algaes and seaweeds are the precursor of land plants. Algae is actually a broad term that refers to different types of organisms that may be found in the ocean. Some species of algae are microscopic and unicellular while other types are much bigger, such as seaweed and giant kelp. They fall into three large varieties that include green algae, red algae, and brown algae.

Algaes lack root systems so rely on a special holdfast to anchor themselves to rocks. From the ocean bottom, they rise up in the water to take in nutrients. For many our first and lasting impression of seaweed can be unpleasant, especially if you are wading into the ocean for a swim, or trying to maintain your footing while scrambling on rocks.  Detached seaweed ends up washing ashore and amassing into smelly decomposing piles. This is not what is used in our seaweed skin care products! The majority of the seaweeds used in our main seaweed brand, Phytomer (means plants of the sea) are carefully grown in a highly specialized lab.  

Understanding the life cycle of seaweeds is much like land plants. In the spring they start to bloom and grow in a staggering varieties and colours. In the fall they fade and die while winter storms flush out these dead seaweeds and leave them as compost on our beaches.

Seaweeds VS Land Plants

Although land plants have many great and varied values in skin care seaweeds have more.

Compared to land plants, (fruits and vegetables) seaweeds have:

  • A richer source of vitamins, minerals and salts
  • Higher levels of vitamins A, E, C and folic acid
  • Higher quality B-complex vitamins, including B12
  • Natural iodine in higher amounts
  • Unique compounds of laminarin, alginate and fucoidan not found in land plants
  • Fat content is lower and differs from land plant oils by having more unsaturated fats
  • Have all the essential amino acids (complete protein)
  • It is extremely rare to be allergic to seaweeds.

The benefits of seaweed

One of the key benefits of seaweeds are that they are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, K, folic acid, alginate, polysaccharides and niacin. They are also an important supply of 60 trace elements and an excellent source of over 12 minerals, especially potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc & manganese.

Their benefits are also varied, ranging from the obvious (they’re rich in minerals) to the lesser known: research from Kyoto University has shown that fibres from brown seaweed lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, inhabitants of Japan’s Okinawa Island—the longest living population, known to have the greatest number of centenarians in the world—eat seaweed daily, with the sea vegetable among the seven to 10 portions of fruits and vegetables they consume every day. But the benefits don’t stop there. These ocean greens have also been used for centuries by seaside cultures as a cure-all for healing wounds, reducing bruising, and relieving skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and sunburn.

In our front yard and on the coast of France is the headquarters for Phytomer, one of the world leaders in R&D for seaweed and other ocean active ingredients for skin and body care for more than 50 years. We are proud to carry this family owned seaweed skin care brand for over 25 years. Along with Phytomer several of our other brands incorporate specialized seaweeds for their skin care benefits.

Similar to land plants, each variety of seaweed has its own unique properties and benefits. Like land plants they have also been categorized into family groups.

Benefits of Specific Types of Seaweed

Phaeophyta Seaweeds (The Great Brown Kelps) They flourish along the coastline to trap and manufacture vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential amino acids. They recharge the body with minerals while encouraging perspiration to stimulate metabolism. This makes them excellent detoxifiers!

Kelps have been shown to shorten the phase by which body cells replace themselves. In other words, kelp seaweeds slow the aging process and wrinkle formation. They increase circulation and blood flow, offer nutritive support, combat the effects of stress and promote overall wellness.

Great brown kelp’s are the most highly mineralized plants on earth. They accumulate minerals directly from the ocean and concentrate them within their plant structures. These kelps provide colloidal minerals that can facilitate the unloading of toxic substances and assist other nutrients, such as vitamins to be utilized and transported to cells.

PROPERTIES

  • Detoxify
  • Antioxidant
  • Nourish and Heal
  • Stimulate and Revitalize
  • Tone and Protect
  • Re-hydrate
  • Antiseptic, Antifungal, Antibacterial and Antiviral

Here are a few Brown Seaweeds used in our skin care products:

Alaria (Wakame) Antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, calming, firming and stimulates collagen production. Moisturizing, detoxifying, firming and maintains skin’s elasticity.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer HydraSea Thirst Relief Rehydrating Mask used in some Signature Sea and Rejuvenating Facials, Phytomer Hydracontinue 12 Hour Moisture Flash Gel 

Laminaria (Sugar Kelp) The outside of this algae has a composition similar to our outermost layer of skin. It is composed of marine sugars, amino acids, minerals, trace elements and essential components of Natural Moisturizing Factor. It is an antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, calming, firming and produces collagen.

PRODUCTS:   Phytomer Gentle Cleansing Milk, Phytomer Vegetal Exfoliant, Phytomer Soothing Oligoforce Serum, Phytomer Oleocreme Ultra Hydrating Body Milk. Phytomer Hydracontinue 12 hour Moisture Flash Gel, Phytomer Oligopur Hydra Matifying Control Cream,  Phytomer Hydra Sea Thirst Relief Rehydrating Mask used in some of our Signature Sea and Rejuvenating Facials. 

 Rhodophyta Seaweeds (The Vital Reds)

These beautiful, intense red/purple seaweeds get their distinctive colour from a pigment called phycoerythrin. In addition to antioxidants, Red Seaweeds are a treasure of concentrates, such as amino acids, Vitamin A, C, zinc, fatty acids, polysaccharides, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium and trace minerals.

PROPERTIES

  • Anti-bacterial, Anti-viral, Anti-fungal, and yeast inhibiting
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Nourishing and moisturizing
  • Speed wound healing

Here is the Red Seaweed used in many of our skin care products

Asparagopsis Armata This algae lives only 50cm under the water surface and is exposed to surface bacteria and heat. Phytomer scientists discovered that it has developed a high performance defense system to environmental stressors because of this and is also very anti-bacterial.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Oligopur Hydra-Matifying Control Cream

Condus Crispus Scientists at Phytomer discovered that this algae is rich in amino and fatty acids. An oily extract of this algae is highly moisturizing and nourishing for the skin.  

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Marine Scrub

Corallina Officinalis Rich in marine calcium which is 100 times more effective than mineral calcium. It improves cellular respiration, increases skin’s resilience and restores radiance.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Velvet Soothing Cream, Phytomer Accept Neutralizing Cream

Delesseria Sanguinea This unique algae has an anti-inflammatory and drainage action on skin tissue. Great for dark under eye circles.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Youth Contour Eye and Lip Care

Dilsea Carnosa Highly effective in collagen and elastin repair and wrinkle depth reduction.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Youth Contour Eye and Lip Care

Furellaria Lumbricalis Phytomer creates a hydrating compound from this algae that has a faster and more effective hydrating plumping effect than hyaluronic acid.

Products: Phytomer Nutritionelle Dry Skin Rescue Cream 

Porphyra Conchocelis This algae secretes an acid that has an exfoliating effect on the skin. These totally natural marine AHA’s have a high skin tolerance while ensuring maximum effectiveness.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Emergence, Phytomer Resurfacing Peel (professional only) used in  some of our Signature Sea and Rejuvenating Facials.

 

Chlorophyta Seaweeds (The Lush Greens)

Their characteristic forest-green colour comes from two high quality chlorophylls. They are rich in vitamins and minerals. They promote collagen and elastin production and healthy mucus membranes. The chlorophyll helps prevent wrinkles, skin aging and increases protein synthesis and cell regeneration.

PROPERTIES:

  • Astringent and toning
  • Oxygenating
  • Anti bacterial and cleansing
  • Stimulates collagen and elastin production
  • Cooling
  • UV protective properties that are currently being researched.

Here is the Green Seaweed we use in many of our skin care products:

Chlorella Vulgaris High in peptides and amino acids naturally present in the dermis. It is exceptional for firming and toning the skin.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Youth Contour Eye and Lip Care

 

Processing seaweed for successful skin treatments

Similar to land plants how we process seaweed to protect their vital nutrients is key to successful skin treatments. Many seaweed brands use seaweed extracts which in the processing lose many of their valuable nutrients.  Phytomer, in contrast, has very high tech processes that have evolved over its 40 years by producing many of their seaweeds in highly specialized growing conditions in a high tech laboratory. With ocean environments succumbing to pollution in many areas this insures the highest quality by growing and specializing in micro algae.

Other Ocean Secrets in Skin Care

Ocean Water  The mineral elements of ocean water exist in almost exact proportion to that of our biological internal fluids. This similar chemistry between ocean water and human blood creates a seamless gateway for detoxification, re-mineralization, and hydration.

We have chosen Phytomer Skin Care due to its incorporation of Oligomer in almost all of their products and treatments. Oligomer is their patented processing of ocean water to maintain the integrity of the minerals, nutrients and vital elements. 

BENEFITS -  balances and helps repair  the skins functions, hydrates, balances oil, strengthens the skins natural barrier.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Rosee Visage Cleansing/Toning Lotion, Phytomer Marine Scrub, Phytomer Oligoforce Soothing Serum.

Marine Spring Water  Discovered by the scientists at Phytomer, marine spring water is harvested from inland seawater springs. It has exceptional mineral quality and purity particularly rich in calcium, magnesium and manganese. With a similar PH to the skin it is an excellent soothing treatment for skin redness and irritations.

BENEFITS: Soothing, strengthening, repairing.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Velvety Soothing Cream

Ocean Mud Nature’s perfect sphere, making it the perfect exfoliator for our skin.  It also efficiently retains moisture and heat, while favouring the passage of minerals into the body.

BENEFITS:  Cleanses and removes dead skin cells, impurities and toxins. Accelerates and improves blood circulation while balancing pH levels. Assists in cell regeneration and tightens skin.

PRODUCTS: Phytomer Marine Scrub

MORE ABOUT PHYTOMER

As a pioneer of marine skincare, Phytomer represents a story of three impassioned generations and their dedication for over 50 years to the cultivation of the purest sea ingredients from the picturesque French seaside town of Saint-Malo, in Brittany. Check out this video about the history of Phytomer -  https://youtu.be/lfMblZgdayg They are one of the only skincare companies in the world that has mastered marine biotechnologies, which is the use of marine micro-organisms to produce new, totally unprecedented, natural active ingredients. This new high-tech biochemistry, derived from the medical and pharmeceutical industries, paves the way for increasingly effective and sensorial formulas with a reduced impact on the environment. Backed by unique biotechnological know-how, PHYTOMER’s Advanced Research team has created a new generation of active ingredients.

 Unleash the ocean’s deepest secrets