For many people, the association between Seaweed and Beauty is not an obvious one! It is, after all, just a slippery nuisance that attacks your ankles when wading into the sea… However, despite its reputation as a slimy terror it does have a more attractive side. With an abundance of skin-softening, cellulite-treating, deep-moisturising, muscle-soothing, weight-loss-enhancing, hair-shining and anti-ageing properties, it is in fact one of the oldest and greatest natural beauty essentials known to human kind!
In Ireland, Seaweed has long been referred to as ‘The Poor Man’s Doctor’, being a nutrient-rich food used to cure everything from the common cold to a hangover. Seaweed’s skin healing properties are said to have been discovered by farmers who, when handling Seaweed while tending their fields, found that its oils quickly cured any cuts and bruises on their hands.
The Seaweed plant is very tough, having to protect itself from harsh conditions in the sea. It is this resilience and restorative ability that make it so valuable in skincare terms. Some Seaweed has a natural ability to regenerate itself at a rate of up to two feet a day in prime growth seasons. It has a cellulose structure that helps stimulate collagen synthesis, regenerate skin cells and speed up cell renewal. It’s also packed with anti-oxidants and minerals – up to 10 times more than normal vegetables – and amino acids. No wonder it has become a key ingredient in Skincare products – Facial Serums, Eye Creams, Night Creams and Anti-ageing products. Rosacea-prone skin benefits from its strengthening and anti-inflammatory effects and it helps lighten age spots and blotchiness. It protects skin from the environment by fighting off free radicals with its cocktail of anti-oxidants, plus, it contains moisturising Polysaccharides which are great for increasing cellular hydration.
Just as skin drinks in Seaweed’s fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, so does hair. Like a protein shake for your locks, marine extracts help hair to rebuild itself and grow stronger. Apple & Bears use it in their luxury Bodywashes; Natorigin incorporate it into their Skincare, and Moana have based their entire range on New Zealand’s Red Seaweed.
Seaweed is brilliant both internally and externally. It contains more protein than red meat, more calcium than milk and has been used as a super food by the Japanese for thousands of years. Spas have long used Seaweed baths for cleansing and exfoliating qualities. When applied to the body Seaweed draws excess fluid and waste products from the skin. It also acts as a cleanser for dead skin cells and other impurities. Seaweed is also rich in Iodine, which can help boost thyroid functions.
Seaweed baths were popular in Britain and Ireland in Victorian and Edwardian times when bathing in public was not only acceptable, but commonplace. Curiously enough people no longer seek the thrill of communal bathing, but you can still enjoy all the natural benefits of a Seaweed bath in the privacy and comfort of your own home!
The best Seaweeds to use in the bath are the Brown Algae species such as Laminaria Digitata, Fucus Serratus, Fucus Vesiculosus and Ascophyllum Nodosum. These contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D, K, and E as well as the important minerals Iodine, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus. These Brown Algae species also contain the Polysaccharide Fucoidan, which has been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-coagulant properties, to name but a few.
Seaweed baths are effective in softening the skin and evening out skin tone, treating cellulite, improving circulation, detoxifying the body, softening stiff muscles, helping to alleviate the symptoms of acne, eczema and psoriasis and in promoting thyroid health and weight loss.
Simply start by filling your bath. Heat your Seaweed in a pot of water on the hob until the water turns golden-brown. While you’re waiting for the Seaweed to ‘brew’, get yourself ready for an evening of indulgence: dig out your best candles and favourite music tracklist. Your pot of Seaweed should be ready by now, so pour the whole lot, Seaweed and oily water, into your bath, followed shortly by yourself. When sitting in a hot bath, the heat of the water will open up the skin’s pores allowing the natural benefits of the Seaweed to be absorbed by the skin. Lie back, relax, and let the Seaweed work its magic.
Find out more about our guest bloggers – Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed Co. – HERE