You've probably done your best to avoid algae at the beach. There’s something sort of creepy about that oddly soft, slimy sensation on your feet or the idea of a patch of kelp growing like some kind of underwater forest. But, algae may actually be your skin’s new best friend. Studies have shown that algae can fight wrinkles and may even have skin-brightening capabilities, making it a kind of unsung hero of the cosmetics world.
“The way I like to look at it is skin nutrition,” says Hillary Peterson, CEO of Marie Veronique Organics, which features a line called Pacific with algae as an active ingredient. Peterson said she likes the aquatic plant for its prevalence of omega 3s, which are known for their anti-aging properties.
But, buyer beware: Tons of products on the market list algae as an ingredient, but there’s a difference between a smidgen of the stuff and the full sea-mineral experience. Peterson recommends looking at the label to make sure there are no harsh preservatives and there’s a high quantity of active algae, and checking to see if a micro-emulsion is used for deeper absorption.
That still leaves us with the problem of the, uh, unique scent. “If you can smell a little bit of where these products come from, it tells you it's authentic and fresh and real,” she says.
Feeling game? Click through for five of our favorite algae-packed products.