The Weirdest, Best Thing for Your Skin Right Now

In the world of high-tech skincare, there's always a groundbreaking new ingredient on the market that you have to try now. The latest? A slimy single-celled organism that lives at the bottom of the ocean, protects itself against harsh environmental stressors, and promises to work wonders for your complexion.

Algae has come under the discerning gaze of the skincare industry lately due to its omega-3s, antioxidants, peptides, and its ability to care for itself in demanding environments such as the deep sea floor, the sun-soaked surface of the ocean, and now, the smoggy, polluted streets of major US cities. Much of this algae craze is coming from seaweed scientists themselves: a company in San Francisco was examining microalgae for its potential renewable energy, when they discovered (and patented) Alguronic Acid, the compound that helps microalgae regenerate and protect itself. They promptly threw it into a skin care line called Algenist, which is garnering rave reviews for its anti-aging and cellular regeneration properties. An Arizona-based algae-technology company is about to expand into the beauty biz as well after witnessing the benefits of algae, and they're teaming up with cosmetics companies like Estée Lauder and Elizabeth Arden to do so.

Seaweed, a type of algae, has been a favorite ingredient of the beauty industry for a while now, from high-priced favorite La Mer to Lancôme's new serum, DreamTone, which contains seaweed extracts to correct dark spots and will be available nationwide on September 1st. You can also order hand-harvested seaweed online for cheap and give yourself a seaweed facial to fight acne, a Mediterranean-inspired seaweed bath, or a DIY seaweed wrap to moisturize, relax, and tone your entire body. (Soy sauce and wasabi not included.)

Interested in hopping on the ocean liner? Here are some algae-rich products to try:

  • And of course, edible raw seaweed to wrap up your sushi — or to eat plain, like the mermaid you are.

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