Seaweed becomes latest cosmeceutical fad

Aug 11, 2014, 4:00am

Seaweed and oceanic extracts are the ingredients of the moment. Why? Because raw material suppliers have decided to put their efforts towards growth in this area.

Q. Why is seaweed placed in some cosmeceutical formulations?

A. Seaweed and oceanic extracts are the ingredients of the moment. Why? Because raw material suppliers have decided to put their efforts toward growth in this area. One, sea derived materials are new. Two, sea materials are potentially renewable speaking to the current mantra of using only sustainable ingredients in cosmetics. And three, the sea evokes a positive consumer response in contrast to a new anti-aging ingredient derived from crushed cockroaches. I have examined several currently popular seaweed containing moisturizers to examine the rationale for use of this ingredient.

There are many seaweed extracts currently available for purchase. One seaweed extract - known as Fucus vesiculosis - is known in the Orient for its anticoagulant properties. It is also thought to enhance fibroblast expression of integrins, which increase collagen thickness. This ingredient is used to support claims of improved wrinkle appearance and improved skin firmness. Note that wrinkle appearance and skin firmness have no medical meaning. Seaweed extract is also showing up in many cellulite creams because the increased collagen thickness is thought to prevent fat herniation into the dermis from the subcutaneous compartment.

Another cellulite cream contains an extract from red colored seaweed rich in k-carrageenan, which can intereact with spermine and spermidine. These polyamines are thought to trigger the accumulation of fat. If they are inhibited perhaps the accumulation of fat is also inhibited decreasing cellulite.

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