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A Sea-Change in Skin Protection with Red Algae

Red Algae

The Little Mermaid’s best-kept beauty secret is out. Red algae is moving out of the ocean and into dynamic skincare formulations that help consumers protect their skin against environmental stressors and the aging process.

Thank to red algae’s adaptability and active shield, this tiny, ancient organism can not naturally provide protection from UV rays, oxidation, bacteria, andpollution but also serve as one of the most efficacious anti-aging natural claims ingredients.


Red algae, or porphyridium cruentum, is one of the oldest known types of algae in the world and is composed of thin protoplasmic connections that link its cells. The algae’s brilliant red hue is due to the organism’s masked chlorophyll, occurring from the phycobilin pigments, phycoerythrin and phycocyanin.

Red algae are classified as one of the most adaptable organisms on the planet, thanks to their living in constantly changing, often extreme environments: rocky, coastal areas. The often volatile nature of these areas and the nonstop changes in oxidation, temperature, available nutrients, salinity, UV rays, bacteria, and pollution have made red algae exceptionally hardy, adaptable, and able to prevent harm from environmental stressors like toxins.

Red algae are exceptionally hardy, adaptable, and able to prevent harm from environmental stressors.

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An active shield

Thanks to the adaptability of red algae, this unique marine organism has the ability to generate its own shielding capabilities to protect itself from harsh tidal stressors like oxidation, sun, and bacteria.

“These photosynthetic organisms are exposed to a combination of high oxygen concentrations and sunlight, which induce the formation of free radicals and other reactive oxygen species. The absence of structural damage in algae implies that these organisms are able to generate natural antioxidants including polyphenols, vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids,” according to a new study, Antioxidant properties of the red alga Asparagopsis taxiformis collected on the North West Algerian coast, by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

And, luckily for consumers, the protective shield red algae created for its own survival can also be used to create a cellular shield on their skin, when topically applied in a skin care formulation.

Skincare formulations harnessing the power of red algae can not only help provide a literal shield of protection on the face against dirt, pollution, toxins, and UV rays, but also inhibit the activity of skin-degrading enzymes, hyaluronidase, elastase, and collagenase.

It’s no fluke: the adaptability of red algae, and its protective shield make this algae a critical component to protective skincare formulations.

The antioxidant powerhouse

Additionally, red algae is great for anti-aging or anti-pollution skincare formulations because it is simply chockablock of antioxidants that can benefit and improve the skin.

Red algae naturally contains high quantities of peptides, carotenoids, fatty acids, and carrageenan, all of which can help consumers protect against the ravages of time, pollution, and environmental toxins like cigarette smoke.

“Lightweight algae is wonderful for holding potent antioxidants against the skin to help fight the production of free radicals, which can lead to cell death and signs of aging,” said skincare expert Sean Patrick Harrington in an interview with beauty website Refinery29.

Red algae also contains high quantities of vitamins C and E, which are critical for protecting the skin from UV damage and for boosting the skin’s natural collagen production.

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A breakthrough in natural, multi-functional skin protection.

Going green by going red

While the buzzwords in today’s beauty lexicon might skew green, the powerful active shield and antioxidants red algae can lend to anti-aging and preventative skincare products will have consumers going all-in on more beauty products using the natural powers of the deep blue sea.