Algae-Infused Beauty Products Could Be The Solution To Your Dry Skin Problems

Skincare can get a little... weird sometimes. Vampire facials, bee venom, fresh placenta, and now algae in your jar of moisturizer. But here's a fun fact: algae is not new to your cosmetics. In fact, algae have been used for thousands of years to improve skin texture, thicken and gel cosmetics, and as a lip colorant. And that's not all algae's good for. It turns out it could be the one thing you've been waiting for if you have dry, dehydrated, or damaged skin. But first, what exactly are algae?

According to Microbiology Society, algae are photosynthetic organisms that can exist as single cells, or in groups or chains. You can also tell algae apart by their color. For example, there are red algae with high carotenoid content, blue algae rich in antioxidants, and even green algae, which are used as a thickening agent (per Kate Somerville). Either way, skincare products containing algae boast several excellent benefits, especially for folks with dry skin. Here's how algae-infused beauty products might become your latest favorite addition to your routine.

Algae's amazing humectant action

If you have dry skin and have been through several blogs discussing dry skin, you've probably come across the term transepidermal water loss, or as we conveniently like to call it, TEWL. TEWL is the natural and normal body process through which water evaporates through our skin. The problem is for those with dry skin, the rate of water loss is usually higher than that of skin's water retention. This means that too much TEWL will have water leaving your skin way faster than your skin can replenish it (per CeraVe). Here's where algae come in.

Most algae used in skincare, mainly marine algae, are humectants that hydrate the skin by binding water to it (per Nivea). When applied to your skin, algae attracts water molecules to itself, making your skin plumper, dewy, and moisturized. Algae is such a powerful humectant that some research has shown that brown algae are actually more hydrating than hyaluronic acid (per Kate Somerville).

According to LookFantastic, algae, specifically red algae, also stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid in your skin, which is an important compound that makes up part of your skin's natural moisturizing factor, or NMF. Your skin's natural moisturizing factors keep your moisture barrier strong and non-porous. Replenishing it by using algae-infused skincare means more hydration, smoother skin, and a healthy, moisturized barrier.

Algae brighten and protect against sun damage

The sun is no one's friend, but if you have dry skin, you're at a more significant risk of sun damage. According to Mayo Clinic, the sun's rays increase melanin production and can cause irregular pigmentation. They also encourage water evaporation through the skin, or as previously stated, transepidermal water loss. This means the sun can worsen skin dryness, damage your moisture barrier, and cause dullness and hyperpigmentation.

Thankfully, algae are here to save the day — specifically, red algae. As 100 Percent Pure explains, red algae contain a group of antioxidant amino acids called mycosporine-like amino acids, or MAAs. When applied to your skin, these amino acids absorb UV rays, preventing them from penetrating deeper layers and thus preserving your skin's moisture content. Yon-Ka Paris also states that algae can help brighten dark spots and deal with hyperpigmentation by preventing sun damage. However, red algae are no substitute for sunscreen, so remember to use red algae-infused skincare with adequate sunscreen.

Algae's antioxidant and anti-aging action

With dry skin comes the tendency for the skin to form fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging. Dry skin is also prone to barrier damage which makes the skin vulnerable to faster aging and issues (per SkinKraft Laboratories). But once again, alga's here to help.

Remember our trusty mycosporine-like amino acids or MAAs? Well, according to L'Oréal Paris, these amino acids do not only protect against sun damage, but they also promote barrier function by neutralizing pesky free radicals that are harmful to the skin. In addition, algae are also barrier-strengthening antioxidants that help boost collagen and reduce imperfections (per When Life Gives You Lemons).

Algae-infused beauty products are clearly a great buy for anyone with dry skin, and as always, here are our top picks for some easy shopping. We love the Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream, which features an algae peptide complex and has glowing reviews at Sephora. We're also fans of the REN Clean Skincare Atlantic Kelp & Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Toning Body Oil which contains a mix of red algae extract, magnesium-rich kelp extract, and microalgae oil.