FInd out why so many anti-aging ingredients are sourced from the sea.

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Cosmetic companies are always looking for new ways to tap into Earth’s natural resources to create simpler, more effective anti-aging ingredients, which is likely how the trend of using seaweed, algae, sea salt and other ingredients found in the world’s oceans in skincare products started.

But what do some of these ingredients do and how are they used? Not to mention, if we’re harvesting these ingredients from the sea, how is it affecting our marine ecosystems, and what are companies doing to ensure that these resources are being replenished?

We chatted with Jeff Brown, North American Product Trainer from LUSH, to get the background information on some of these marine-derived ingredients and why they’re becoming increasingly popular in the beauty world.

The earth-friendly company LUSH has always had a soft spot for natural ingredients, and a few products in their lineup incorporate various kinds of seaweed and sea salts. For Brown, “Recipes and ingredients with traditional and historical uses have always inspired us, and long before modern advances in cosmetic science, people were effectively using seaweeds and salts to care for [their] skin.” It was a natural move for a brand like LUSH to start incorporate these ingredients into their lineup.

As for what these two ingredients do, sea salt is “an effective natural exfoliator and an ethical alternative to the plastic beads all to often found in scrubs.” It makes sense that the use of sea salts gives skin a smooth and polished finish, since every time you go swimming in the ocean, your skin always looks so fresh and glowing.

When it comes to seaweed, there are many species that are used in skincare products, but they all have one common benefit: they are fantastic for boosting hydration. “Seaweeds are some of the most nutritionally complex and vitamin-rich plants on the planet and are high in Vitamins A, C and E—antioxidants that protect the health of the skin and also help the skin maintain its elasticity as we age,” explains Brown. LUSH harvests several kinds of seaweed and uses them in different ways for various products: some are for the anti-inflammatory properties of seaweed, while others calm sensitive skin by softening it and refining the texture of the skin.

The bonus? Since both seaweed and sea salts are natural ingredients, there are very few risks of allergic reaction on the skin and are good to use on many skin types.

When it comes to harvesting these natural ingredients, it’s important to think about replenishing them—especially if we want to keep using such fantastic resources for as long as possible. For LUSH, their main supplier of one particular species of seaweed is situated close to Vancouver in a small coastal town, where the seaweed is harvested by hand from the rocks, but the plants themselves are left behind so they can grow back—which usually takes about a year—making it a very sustainable way to keep our skin looking young and hydrated.