It’s a climate regulator and a monumental source of oxygen. It has provided us with medicinal ingredients, food sources and highly effective skincare ingredients. Yes, we’re talking about none other than our (invaluable) oceans.
From the sea salt we use in body scrubs to nourishing muds, from luxe caviar to various forms of algae, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a second to thank the ocean for everything it has provided the skincare community. One of our favorite marine secrets? Red Algae. Today, with help from a board-certified dermatologist, we’re focusing how it’s sourced and why this brilliant skincare ingredient is the secret hydration hero behind a makeup product you may already love.
What is Red Algae, Exactly?
The first thing you might notice about Red Algae is that it’s, well, red. This is in contrast to the green color we typically associate with algae, and there’s a very distinct reason why it’s this hue.
“Red Algae gets its color from the pigments phycoerythrin and phycocyanin. These pigments mask the other pigments, such as chlorophyll, which would make the algae green,” explains Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Red Algae can live in much deeper, warmer water than other algae, which need to live near the surface of the water in order to absorb more light.”
There are around 7,000 different species of Red Algae, which are particularly common in coral reefs. When sourced for skincare, they are typically dried and then distilled in order to preserve the numerous beneficial properties.
The Skincare Benefits of Red Algae
Red Algae are known to produce amino acid derivatives that are exceptionally good at blocking UVA rays from the sun. In other words, Red Algae is said to act as mild, all-natural SPF. And Dr. Jaliman says there’s even more good news. “Red Algae are rich in protein, vitamins and antioxidants, and are used in skincare to help clarify and clean the skin,” she notes. “[The ingredient also] has outstanding moisture-retaining properties and promotes a healthier skin barrier and helps replenish the skin’s natural hydration.” According to Dr. Jaliman, pretty much all skin types benefit from Red Algae, but dry, sensitive, or mature skin types can particularly reap the rewards of this marine gem.
How We Use Red Algae
Red Algae is a star ingredient in our COMPLEXION RESCUE Hydrating Stick Foundation. Surprised? Yes, we’ve been talking about skincare, but this water-based stick foundation is a true hybrid of coverage and care. And it should come as no surprise that it’s super hydrating — thanks to a certain marine skincare superhero.