Are All Seaweed Skin Care Products Created Equal?

Seaweed has gained popularity in the skincare industry around the world. From seaweed based, marine based, seaweed extracts and more, but what is the difference? Is there a difference? In this blog, we’re going to break down some key difference. What do “seaweed based”, “marine based” and “seaweed extract” really mean? And which one is the most beneficial for your skin?

In fact, some seaweed skincare products may have very little of this nutrient dense super plant. Seaflora prides themselves on the fact that our products contain 50% or more raw, wild, sustainably hand-harvested seaweed. As far as we know, we are still the only company that can boast this as the truth!

Build collagen, protect elastin and nourish your cells with Sea Therapy Facial Cleanser.

Marine Based vs. Seaweed Extract

Marine based sounds like that product should get the majority of its ingredients from the ocean, right? Wrong. The truth is, most marine based products only contain a small amount of marine elements. “Marine based” also doesn’t always mean it includes seaweed! Some marine based formulations only contain minerals or other ingredients that are sourced from the ocean. This can be a powder or extract on ingredient lists, but won’t be a main ingredient in the product.

As a general rule of thumb, the first five ingredients listed will be the majority of the contents of the product. So, if “Organic seaweed” is not one of the first ingredients, it’s most likely that the product is mainly just using the sea-to-skin trend as a marketing tool. When an ingredients is listed with “-extract” at the end, it is likely that its been overly processed. Meaning, it will be a less effective version.

Watch Seaflora’s formulation process – Small Batch by Hand on Youtube!

Are Refined Seaweeds Less Effective?

Seaweeds can be dried, without losing their nutritional content. In nature, seaweeds dry as the tide goes out and rehydrates as it comes back in. However, when the seaweed components are chemically extracted, or bleached, they no longer offer the same health benefits that raw seaweed does.

Every algal extract technique has it’s own purpose. Some extracts are just meant to isolate a unique compound of the seaweed. Other extracts are meant to isolate the proteins. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method. However, these obtained seaweeds extracts are biodegradable, nontoxic, nonpolluting, and nonhazardous to humans, animals, and birds. Therefore, these can be useful to different industries.

What Is Seaweed Used For?

Seaweeds filter the ocean and worldwide algae populations produce more oxygen for our earth than all the forests on land combined! Seaweeds help clean the water where they live in and act as eco-engineers. They bathe in mineral rich waters that make them the most highly mineralized plant on Earth. It’s no wonder why seaweed extract when used as a fertilizer can boosts crop yields, improve resistance of plants to frost and disease, increase uptake of inorganic constituents from the soil, bolster resistance to stress conditions, and reduce storage losses of fruit.

There are many ways to extract seaweeds such as refining, cooking, baking, and bleaching. They can then be added as a powder or extract in different industries such as plastic replacement packaging, thickening agents, fertilizer, pet food, in building materials and much more. Seaweed really is the future, as it can be safely used for such an endless variety of applications and is a sustainable option due to its quick growth rates.

Figure 2 Alginates processing scheme with potential applications.

Always Check Ingredient Lists

Making sure you know the source of the seaweeds used in your skincare is important if you will be eating or applying it. We believe in sea-to-skin, much like the farm to plate movement. It’s never lost on us just how blessed we are to be located where we are and to have access to such a rich, sustainable, natural resource. Not all companies are so lucky and in fact, some companies boasting Seaweed products have no seaweed in there products at all!

For example, popular nail brand Bio Seaweed Gel, don’t actually use any seaweed! We were curious, so we asked them about this. They said that since people see seaweed as healthy, they thought it would be good for their marketing to incorporate it in the name. Unfortunately, many nail clients and technicians don’t realize this. You really never know what you will find (or not find) in ingredient lists!

Seaflora; Industry Leader in Seaweed Skin Care

Seaflora believes in the benefits of eating and applying raw, wild, organic, sustainably harvested seaweeds. With no fillers, or harmful preservatives, Seaflora is the ultimate choice for anyone looking for a healthy skincare line. Focused on the preservation of our beautiful coastal environment, we sustainably hand-harvest local seaweeds. This also means our carbon emissions are lowered by sourcing local. Want to learn more about our harvesting values and environmental practices? Take a look at our website!

Seaweed farming is a growing practice, and we absolutely support the growing of seaweed! Not everyone has access to such an abundance or variety of seaweed as we do, let alone to have such clean ocean to harvest them from on top of that. We are licensed to harvest 9 species of local seaweeds over the 75km between Sooke and Port Renfrew. We like to say, “Vancouver Island is a gift, wrapped in seaweed!”