Is algae good for your skin? A deep dive into the world of algae skincare and the hydrating benefits

Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, algae is the latest ingredient taking up space in the skincare space and for good reason...

A close up of a green face mask, to represent algae skincare, smeared on a white background/ in a olive-green textured template with pink gradients
(Image credit: Getty Images/SMedia)

Offering unparalleled nutrients and hydration, algae skincare is the gift that keeps on giving and in case you're unacquainted, we've quizzed the experts on what exactly the aquatic ingredients are and the many benefits they boast...

Ever wondered what lies beneath the ocean's vast depths? Answer: skin-loving, vitamin-packed algae, the likes of which you can probably find in many of your best moisturisers - and could give even the best hyaluronic acid serums a run for their money in the hydration department. And while the term 'algae' might now have you envisaging rubbing a pulverised dollop of green, salty seaweed onto your face, we can assure you it's nothing of the sort - and actually encapsulates many multifaceted skin-loving ingredients.

So, allow us to take you on a deep dive (oceanic pun intended) into the realm of algae skincare, as the experts explain what is it, how to identify it and the many benefits it possesses...

What is algae skincare?

As the name suggests, algae skincare refers to products that feature or star a form of algae in their ingredient lineup. As Dr Magnus Lynch, Consultant Dermatologist and Surgeon explains: "Algae skincare products are derived from various types of algae including seaweed, kelp, spirulina, and marine algae."

And why are we interested in algae-enriched products? Well, it turns out the sea has been cultivating some serious skincare powerhouses below its surface. "These ingredients are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids, which provide nourishment and hydration to the skin," says Dr Lynch.

What are the benefits of algae skincare?

Now the big question, is algae good for your skin? The short answer is yes, very much so.

Dr Lynch says: "Algae extracts are often used in skincare formulations such as cleansers, masks, serums, and moisturisers to harness their beneficial properties for healthy and radiant skin, offering hydration, anti-ageing properties and supporting skin detoxification."

Amanda Azzopardi, Advanced Aesthetic Nurse and founder of Amanda Azzopardi Aesthetics, adds that the benefits of algae in skincare are numerous, citing that, "algae are known to have hydrating properties, helping to moisturise the skin and improve its overall hydration levels. They also contain antioxidants that can help protect the skin from environmental damage and premature ageing.

"Additionally, algae are believed to have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, making them beneficial for calming irritated or sensitive skin."

Faye Purcell, Head of Research and Development at Q+A (dubbed one of the best British skincare brands by w&h) also notes that algae, with its high antioxidant and mineral content, "can help repair damage caused by free radicals and target inflammation for soothed and soft skin."

What skin issues can algae specifically benefit?

  • Suitable for all but especially acne-prone, dry and mature skin types...

Dr Lynch cites that algae can be used to address, "dryness, dullness and can help control excess oil production - making it suitable for both dry and oily skin types."

Azzopardi adds: "Different types of algae may target specific skin issues. For example, brown algae are often used in skincare products for their hydrating and anti-ageing properties, making them suitable for dry or mature skin.

"Red algae, on the other hand, are known for their brightening and firming effects, making them suitable for dull or sagging skin," and finally green algae is, "rich in antioxidants and can help protect the skin from environmental damage, making them suitable for all skin types." So, there's an algae to suit most skin complainants and target areas.

"Those with acne and stressed-out skin can benefit from introducing algae into their regime and it can help to gently detoxify, " Purcell adds and again, recommends algae-infused products for mature skin.

How to incorporate algae into your routine?

As mentioned, algae can be found in many formulations, from cleansers to detoxifying masks and ultra-hydrating moisturisers so it's actually very easy to add an algae-rich step to your regime.

Dr Lynch though, recommends, "starting with a cleanser or mask, then follow with a consistent skincare routine using serum or moisturiser containing algae extracts."

Our algae skincare recommendations

In case you're unsure of where to start with algae skincare, we've rounded up a few, easy-to-incorporate products, including a facial oil, a moisturising cream and a serum.

Naomi Jamieson
Digital Beauty Writer

Naomi is a Digital Beauty Writer from woman&home, where she covers everything from skincare to fragrance but specialises, particularly, in makeup and nail trends. Through her work, Naomi gets to share her trend expertise and share her own shopping recommendations and product reviews. Previously, she worked as a Lifestyle News Writer for My Imperfect Life magazine, where she used her savvy for TikTok to bring readers the latest beauty buzzwords, fashion movements and must-have products. 

Before that, Naomi split her time between both GoodTo and My Imperfect Life, whilst training for her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ, for which she earned a Distinction. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but leapt into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing. Now, when she isn’t reporting on the best perfumes and latest beauty releases, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping...