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Benefits of seaweed

Seaweeds have been used for food, medicine, and fertilizer for centuries. However, just recently scientists have started collecting data on beneficial and medicinal properties of seaweeds and their components. There are numerous examples of why the seaweeds have beneficial properties when used in cosmetic products.
 
Moisturizing agent - Ascophylum nodosum
Acidic polysaccharides found in most seaweed when applied on the skin, prevent moisture loss. Ascophylum nodosum is a brown alga that contains large amounts of fuciodan, a polysaccharide that retains moisture. Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) is a red alga rich in polysaccharides known as carrageenan, which also contains minerals such as iodine and sulfur. This alga is used for its jelling properties. 
 
Immunostimulatory activity - Ulva rigida
It has been shown that acidic polysaccharides from the alga Ulva rigida, stimulate the activity of macrophages1. Macrophages are the white blood cells responsible for ingestion and elimination of pathogenic microorganisms and therefore they play a significant role in our immune response.
Detoxifying activity
Polysaccharides are produced by many different seaweeds. These are sugar-based compounds that absorb and retain various toxins, and therefore can be used as efficient detoxifying agents. 
Whitening agent - Palmaria palmata
The red alga Palmaria palmata is said to have skin whitening properties. The active compound from this alga is responsible for the lightening of brown spots on the skin caused by sunlight. The extract from this seaweed was shown to be effective antioxidant7.
 
Antioxidative activity
Antioxidants are routinely used in cosmetic products since they are known to reduce the damage and aging of the skin. Seaweeds such as Gelidium amansii, Gloiosiphonia capillaris, Polysiphonia urceolata, Sargassum kjellmanianum, Desmarestia viridis, and Rhodomela teresare shown to have antioxidative activity3 and their use in cosmetic applications is becoming more and more popular.
 
Antibacterial agent - Sargassum sp.
Antibacterial activity4 was demonstrated in a number of seaweeds. Specifically, brown alga Sargassum sp. is effective against Propionobacterium acnes5, which is the causative agent of acne. Together with its anti-inflammatory properties, this alga has a beneficial effect against acne and dandruff.
 
 

Refernces

1. Leiro, J.M., Castro, R., Arranz, J.A., Lamas, J. 2007Immunomodulating activities of acidic sulphated polysaccharides obtained from the seaweed Ulva rigida C. Agardh. International Immunopharmacology, 7: 879-888.  

3. Xiaojun Yan, X., Nagata, T., Xiao Fan, X. 1998. Antioxidative activities in some common seaweeds. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 52: 253-262.

4.Vallinayagam, K., Arumugam, R., Ragupathi Raja Kannan, Thirumaran, G., Anantharaman, P. Antibacterial Activity of Some Selected Seaweeds

from Pudumadam Coastal Regions.Global Journal of Pharmacology 3: 50-52.   

5. Kubo  I., Himejima M., Tsujimoto K., Muroi H., Ichikawa N. 1992. Antibacterial activity of crinitol and its potentiation. Journal of natural products, 55780-785.  

6. Rozas, E. and  Freitas, J. C. 2007. Anti-inflammatory activity of the apolar extract from the seaweed galaxaura marginata (Rhodophyta, Nemaliales). J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis. V.13, n.2, p.544-548.

7. Yuan, Y.V., Carrington, M.F., Walsh, N.A. 2005. Extracts from dulse (Palmaria palmata) are effective antioxidants and inhibitors of cell proliferation in vitro. Food Chem Toxicol. 43:1073-81.