Active Ingredients: Algae

Tiffany Ong Beauty Expert
Active Ingredients: Algae

Algae on the skin?

You might be thinking how does algae benefit our skin? The green slimy stuff that you commonly see in oceans, lakes and fish ponds.

Algae are organisms that contain chlorophyll and when topically formulated, are used as thickening agents, water-binding agents and antioxidants as their benefits range from lessening fine lines and pigmentation, detoxing pores, reducing inflammation and retaining moisture.

There are 2 primary types of algae; not all algae variations carry the same benefits

  • Macro = Those you see with the naked eye such as seaweed and kelp.
  • Micro = Those only visible under a microscope, often found in freshwater and marine systems.



Boosting hydration

  • The most notable benefit of algae is to instantly hydrate and condition the skin. Resulting in a more supple, moisturised complexion that’s soft to the touch.
  • Algae is a humectant, meaning that it attracts and retains moisture in the skin. Some actually say that algae works better than hyaluronic acid, but this is entirely up to the user as some ingredients work better compared to others.
  • Those with dry skin concerns should look at products that contain red algae extract. It can produce up to a 128% moisture increase after just one application.
  • Spirulina is a source with cleansing properties and is great in helping the skin retain moisture which is key to maintaining hydrated skin.

Anti-ageing concerns

  • Improves the skin’s elasticity by helping maintain suppleness. Thus, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Be on the lookout for Astaxanthin as this algae variation is 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C.
  • Algae inhibits the enzymes that breaks down collagen from UV exposure and reduces the effects of inflammation.
  • All algae variations have anti-ageing benefits as it is an antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals that can give rise to premature ageing.

Revitalises the skin

  • It detoxifies the skin by drawing out toxins and delivering essential nutrients that helps the skin’s complexion. As a natural ingredient, it is filled with essential amino acids, proteins and vitamins (A,B,C,E) that detoxifies the skin and clears clogged pores. A good alga to target cleansing concerns is chlorella.
  • Algae is also a natural brightening agent that can help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Brown and green algae have high levels of vitamin C, which is known for its brightening properties.

Combats UV damage

  • Algae product mycosporine amino acids that act as added natural UV protection, particularly from brown and red algae.
  • Inflammation caused by UV damage and other environmental factors can be relieved and treated with algae.

Natural acne treatment

  • Look out for red marine algae as it contains beta carotene, the predecessor of vitamin A which is found in anti-acne treatments and ingredients such as retinol.


What to note?

Some algae formulations have resulted in sensitive reactions, so be sure to conduct a patch test.


Products we recommend 

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronic

the ordinary marine hyaluronics

Marine Hyaluronics brings together lightweight marine-derived water reservoirs that attract and hold water like hyaluronic acid (HA) but are lighter than HA in texture and feel. The formula contains exopolysaccharides from skin-friendly marine bacteria, Hawaiian red algae, Glycoproteins from Antarctic marine sources, micro-filtered blue-green algae and several health-supporting amino acids. The total concentration of active ingredients in this formula is 23%. 


The Ordinary B Oil

the ordinary b oil

“B” Oil solubilizes a purified form of micro-algae in a blend of squalane and oils of marula, argan, baobab, pataua, brazil nut, inca inchi, rosehip and borage to support healthy skin defense, to enhance radiance, to quench free radicals and to help balance pro-irritant mediators.


Dr.Jart+ Cryo Rubber Moisturising Mask

dr jart cryo moisturising mask

The two-step system leaves skin fully moisturized and supple all day long with its highly concentrated ampoule gel-like serum packed with actives and  prebiotic complex, as well as a soft, flexible rubber mask made of naturally derived algae and clay to hydrate and soothe the skin for an instant pick-me-up. It contains Hyaluronic Acid to attract moisture from the atmosphere while Kelp Extract boosts moisture retention to prevent water loss and soften dry skin.


Dr. Jart+ Vital Hydra Sleeping Mask

dr jart vital hydra sleeping maskVital Hydra Sleeping Mask revitalizes your skin overnight. It's formulated with Chamaecyparis Obtusa leaf extract to soothe skin, hyaluronic acid, seaweed extract and Micro NMF to hydrate skin and retain moisture in skin. Creating a protective skin barrier without leaving a sticky residue. 


Hada Labo Premium Hydrating Night Cream

hada labo premium hydrating night cream

Premium Hydrating Night Cream contains 5 types of Hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate skin from surface to inner skin layers for significantly soft, smooth and supple skin. It gently wraps skin with moisture to provide hydration all day long. With Algae-derived Sacran which has a high water retention capability to immerse skin with intense moisture.


Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Cream

nature republic super aqua max cream

Super Aqua Max Cream - Moisture Watery Cream (for dry skin) will effectively improve the condition of your skin by giving it an instant boost of moisture and hydration as it is made up of sea water and rich with maritime extracts and fight against environmental pollutants. 


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