Anti-Aging Ingredients from The Sea

The best anti-aging ingredients don't have to come from labs and test tubes. Some of the most powerful weapons against lines, wrinkles, inflammation, and sagging skin come from the sea.

Substances from the ocean have proved tough in surviving the harsh marine environment. "Sea life grows in salt water, withstands the sun and other extreme weather conditions, and yet still maintains hydration," says New York City plastic surgeon Stafford R. Broumand.

We asked the experts which marine ingredients are the best for your skin. Find out why the solutions to your skin problems might lie beneath the sea.


"Seaweed contains vitamins C and E, which help protect the skin from UV damage, boost skin's natural collagen production, and moisturize the skin," says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, codirector of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Surgery, in Washington D.C.

If that doesn't sell you on this plant's powers, you should also know that it contains nutrients that can help calm redness and inflammation — great news for those who suffer from acne and rosacea.

Brown and Red Algae

These unassuming little plants contain a form of sugar that helps improve skin cell function. Algae help reinforce skin cell walls so the cells can retain moisture and block irritants, says Jennifer Linder, MD, an assistant. clinical prof of dermatology at the University of California San Francisco.

Brown algae in particular contains the compound fucosterol, which, according to studies, may help decrease the inflammation caused by the sun's UV rays and increase the production of both collagen and antioxidant enzymes.


This simple green alga, which actually grows in freshwater, is often used as a health supplement, on its own or added to green juices. Chlorella also offers benefits for the skin. According to research on peptides derived from chlorella, they may help prevent damage and premature aging caused by the sun's UVB rays. Chlorella is also a fantastic hydrator. "Although some swear by its so-called firming effects," says Dr. Tanzi, "the best proven quality it has is as a moisturizer."


While consuming caviar on crackers may be benefit enough, there may be advantages in applying this exotic treat to your skin. "Caviar is packed with vitamins and amino acids, which are building blocks for healthy skin cells," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, in New York City. Look for caviar in ultra-rich skin serums, moisturizers, and eye creams — and most recently, in makeup foundations.

Squalene (or Squalane)

This moisturizing ingredient is harvested from sea plants and shark livers, and it helps keep skin supple. It can also be derived from other natural sources, such as olives and sugarcane.

Found in many products, including face primers and anti-aging treatments, squalene, says Tanzi, helps hydrate skin because its lightweight consistency allows it to be absorbed quickly. It also helps skin maintain youthful elasticity. But Tanzi warns the acne sensitive: Steer clear of squalene if you break out easily, as it may clog pores.

Sea Fennel

An edible plant that grows on the coastlines of the Mediterranean, sea fennel is rich in chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant compound that helps scavenge and fight off the free radicals that lead to skin damage and aging. According Dr. Broumand, sea fennel can also lighten areas of excessive pigmentation.

Sea Holly

Sea holly supports and strengthens the epidermal-dermal junction, where your epidermis (or outer skin layer) is connected to the dermis (the deeper skin layer). "This boosts epidermal cell activity, which in turn improves skin texture, hydration, and firmness."

Fish Proteins

Amino acids and peptides derived from fish can help boost the production of collagen in the skin, and strengthen hair and nails as well. Studies have shown that the heightened collagen production these amino acids and peptides stimulate builds skin density, helping stave off such signs of aging as wrinkles and sagging.

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