When you hear the word “algae” you probably picture an unkempt fish tank or a pond covered in growths of fluffy green plant matter. While algae may look like a plant, it is actually a group of photosynthetic eukaryotic microorganisms belonging to the taxonomical kingdom Protista.
Algae often gets a bad rap, particularly when it starts to grow out of control, but it isn’t all bad. In fact, certain types of algae can be quite beneficial for the human body. Algae is commonly found in dietary supplements for immune health and it can be a valuable source of protein and fiber.
Where you might not expect to find algae is in your skincare products. The truth is algae offers a wide variety of skin-supporting benefits when used correctly. Here’s what you need to know.
The algae you find in dietary supplements and skincare products is generally marine algae, also known as seaweed. Though seaweed may look like a plant, they aren’t. Like plants, however, marine algae engage in the biological process known as photosynthesis which uses sunlight to synthesize energy from carbon dioxide and water. This process generally involves the green pigment chlorophyll, but marine algae derive its coloration from several other pigments as well.
Here are the three primary color groups of algae:
The algae typically found in aquariums is generally blue-green algae or Cyanobacteria which is sometimes considered a form of seaweed. All types of algae lack the root and internal vascular systems seen in plants – neither do they produce seeds or flowers.
The natural world is full of substances that can be beneficial for the human body, but some are more surprising than others. It may come as a surprise, for example, that a plant-like organism often viewed as a nuisance could be a superfood for your skin. Algae has become quite popular in skincare, valued for its toning, hydrating, and revitalizing properties.
Here are some of the ways algae can benefit your skin:
When it comes to algae in skincare products, manufacturers often make a distinction between micro algae and macro algae. Macro algae is large enough to be seen by the human eye while micro algae can only be seen under a microscope. Both macro and micro algae can be very beneficial for the skin, rich in carbohydrates, protein, lipids, amino acids, and essential minerals.
Algae is a versatile skincare ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of products. It can be applied topically as a mask or infused in a serum, cream, or spot treatment. It works well on any skin type, though it’s always a good idea to do a test patch when trying a new product to check for reactivity. French skincare brand Yon-Ka Paris uses algae in many of their professional and retail products.
Here are some of the species of algae you’ll find in Yon-Ka products:
To learn more about the benefits of algae and to explore Yon-Ka’s algae-rich skincare products, shop online or stop in to your local Yon-Ka Partner Spa. Receive complementary shipping when you spend $45 or more and receive a free trial size kit with orders over $75.
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