Seaweed and skincare with ishga

Seaweed and skincare with ishga

There are over 12,000 species of seaweed in the world, in the UK alone there are over 600 dotted around our rugged coastlines. A common sight along shores and beaches, at some point most of us will have encountered seaweed and not given it much of a second thought. 
What if we told you this very unassuming marine algae is a powerhouse of a plant that delivers scientifically proven results in skincare? As part of our newly launched partnership with ishga skincare, we’re taking a look at the role seaweed can play in a healthy, nourished complexion.  

Don't forget you can use code ISHGAWW15 for 15% off ishga's range, for a limited time only.

Let’s talk about seaweed 

Another name for seaweed is macro algae - the term scientists use to refer to plant life in the sea that can be seen with the naked eye. It comes in lots of different varieties, and its complex biological structure cleverly absorbs all the nutrients that support life in the ocean. 

There are three main types, red (Rhodophyta), brown (Phaeophyceae) and green (Chlorophyta). The smallest seaweeds are just a few millimetres in size, and the largest can grow up to 50 metres. Sometimes they’re attached to the seabed, sometimes not.  

As a marine plant, seaweed does not need soil, fresh water or fertiliser to grow; it is completely self-sufficient, nutrient-dense and grows rapidly year-round. It's a perfectly sustainable ingredient for nutrition and skincare products, that packs a powerful punch of natural benefits. 

ishga, an organic seaweed skincare brand from the Isle of Lewis, delivers the wonders of seaweed to our skin through their award-winning range. The team hand-harvest nutrient-rich Hebridean seaweed, rotating the locations visited carefully to give nature a chance to replenish her stocks properly. 

 Let’s talk about science 

Seaweed is bursting at the seams with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Scientific research has looked extensively at the remarkable power of antioxidants and how beneficial they are in skincare. Traditionally, seaweed can have a particular odour after it’s been harvested. Founder and lead scientist Malcolm MacRae designed a process to extract all the goodness from the seaweed, but without any smell. This extract is the foundation of the ishga range. Scientifically proven, the seaweed extracts used in ishga have been independently tested and were found to contain high levels of polyphenol antioxidants, alginates, fucoidan, fucoxanthin, and a range of minerals and vitamins which are all recognised as being beneficial to the skin.  

10 key benefits of seaweed in skincare  

1. It regenerates skin cells  

Studies show that brown seaweed accelerates skin cell regeneration. Fucoidan found in the cell walls of seaweeds have demonstrated the ability to support wound healing and the formation of skin tissue. This means skin blemishes and marks can fade more effectively when the seaweed extract found across ishga products is applied.  

2. It supports collagen  

Studies show that fucoidan rich seaweed increases collagen production, playing an essential part in the repair and regeneration of the skin. After around the age of 25, collagen production reduces about 1-2% per year and is broken down quicker by an enzyme called collagenase. This can cause wrinkles and reduced elasticity of the skin. Seaweed’s that we hand harvest from the mineral rich waters of the Hebrides have been found to contain bioactive compounds which block this enzyme, resulting in higher levels of collagen, preventing visible signs of ageing.  

3. It has detoxifying effects  

Vitamin rich Hebridean seaweed contains high levels of polysaccharides, such as alginates and fucoidan. These molecules bind to harmful metal components such as mercury, lead and cobalt that can be found in small amounts in the skin. This reduces the damaging effects they can have, and results in reduced inflammation and improved elasticity of the skin.  

4. It's a potent source of antioxidants  

Hebridean seaweed contains high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidant compounds provide protection against environmental damage to the skin by neutralising free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that exist all around us which can cause inflammation of the skin and accelerate signs of ageing. ishga's unique seaweed extracts are used across our skincare range, featuring water-soluble antioxidant molecules to penetrate the skin barrier more effectively, resulting in the prevention of skin blemishes and fine lines.  

5. It promotes Hyaluronic Acid (HA)  

Hyaluronic acid plays an important role in the epidermal barrier function, helping to limit water loss, reduce damaging chemical absorption and preventing infection. It also hydrates and increases the rate of skin cell regeneration and healing. Seaweed extracts are known to stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid and inhibit the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of it, called hyaluronidase.  

6. It's a naturally powerful hydrator  

Seaweed is full of humectants that draw in moisture from the environment. It contains high levels of essential fatty acids and polysaccharides such as alginic acid, which help to protect our skin barrier and lock in moisture. Cellulose is also found in the cell wall of seaweed and is known as the most abundant and renewable organic polymer in the world. It has a high moisture content, making it an ideal carrier to deliver hydrating compounds to the skin. Amino acids found in seaweeds are also hydrating as they prevent water loss in the skin and therefore retain moisture.  

 7. It delivers results for all skin types  

As a powerful hydrator, seaweed is perfect for adding moisture to dry skin. It also offers excellent benefits for ageing skin, with its antioxidant, collagen and hyaluronic acid stimulatory properties helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. For acne-prone skin, seaweed is effective as it contains natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Lastly, it can also benefit oily skin with its ability to control sebum levels, avoiding over-production of oil in the skin.  

8. Our skin recognises its beneficial components  

Seaweed is a natural marine substance (70 - 90% of it is water, depending on species), and our bodies are around 60% water, which means we recognise and work together with similar natural substances better than synthetic. Polysaccharides, molecules found in both our skin and seaweed, are good for moisture retention and hydration. The polysaccharides in our skin are similar in structure to those found in seaweed which allows our skin to form a stronger bond with these molecules compared to other moisturising agents.  

9. It's extremely resilient  

As a marine plant, seaweed is extremely resilient as it naturally faces sun, wind and water exposure and varying environmental factors. It is naturally rich in antioxidant polyphenols, which protect against free-radicals in the environment. What makes Hebridean seaweed extract so special though? Well, studies have found that seaweed from cold water environments contains higher levels of fucoxanthin and omega 3-fatty acids than seaweed from warmer climates. The Outer Hebrides also has some of the cleanest waters in the world, allowing seaweed to flourish in an unpolluted, mineral rich environment.  

10. It's sustainable  

We allow nature to replenish her stocks by rotating our hand-harvesting locations and only taking what we need. Our team carries out weekly trips to local shorelines to freshly collect four types of seaweed that are vital to our results-driven skincare. As a marine plant, seaweed does not need soil, fresh water or fertiliser to grow; it is completely self-sufficient, nutrient-dense and grows rapidly year-round.  

You can shop organic seaweed skincare from the award-winning ishga range here. For a limited time only, you can enjoy 15% off at ishga using code ISHGAWW15.

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