Caring for your skin can be challenging if you have eczema, dry skin, or other inflammatory skin conditions such as acne. This is because much of the care you give your skin starts with your diet.
One food called kelp, which is a type of seaweed, has many benefits for the health of your first line of defense-your skin.
Kelp benefits for skin can be seen quickly because it can be used on the inside and out to help improve skin health by nourishing and hydrating at the same time.
In this post, learn about how kelp protects the skin, how to incorporate it into your skin routine, and some products that are useful.
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Table of Contents
What is Kelp?
Kelp are types of plants that grow in the sea that are edible brown algae (Laminariales).
This type of sea vegetable is very concentrated in nutrients and has been used as long as history has been recorded, possibly up to 20,000 years.
Why is Kelp So Nourishing for the Skin?
Kelp contains more nutrients than just about any kind of food out there. Just a little bit of it can give you a lot of the following nutrients:
- Amino acids
- Essential fatty acids
One of the minerals in kelp that help with skin care is called iodine. Kelp happens to be the richest source of iodine of all known foods! Iodine acts as an antioxidant that helps protect the body from toxins, UV radiation, and aging compounds.
Kelp also contains a lot of B vitamins like folate and pantothenic acid. The minerals in kelp consist of much-needed selenium, zinc, copper, and magnesium as well. Combined, these vitamins and minerals support just about every aspect of skin health.
Skincare from kelp is also elevated by its rich source of an antioxidant called fucoidan. This antioxidant has well-known anti-inflammatory actions that may help in the prevention of some types of cancer, arthritis, and viral infections, according to Self Hacked.
Kelp benefits for the skin include supporting a healthy gut. This is because it also contains alginate and agarose, which are types of prebiotics.
The prebiotics in kelp help to support a healthy gut by enhancing the diversity of the microbiome, according to Advances in Food and Nutrition Research.
And, skin health is the window into gut health.
All combined, these nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties for the skin that help protect and reduce signs of early aging.
Kelp Benefits for Skin
A food that is so nourishing to the body is bound to have hair and skincare benefits too. While kelp can enhance the beauty of the skin, it also has some important roles in keeping skin diseases at bay as well.
Here are some examples of how kelp helps the skin.
Skincare routines benefit from compounds like kelp that help hydrate the skin. In my experience, kelp is better than most products out there for this purpose.
The types of fats are primarily omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory for the skin and at the same time, more hydrating than most types of fats.
Containing alginates, kelp brings moisture to the skin as well.
Kelp Benefits for Skin Eczema
Many complementary and alternative remedies are helpful for eczema, including kelp.
Seaweed for eczema is becoming popular. This is because it is a great moisturizer and kelp helps protect the skin from dryness, which is a major problem in most people with eczema.
Green algae called Seaweed fulvescens (SF) may also reduce symptoms of a type of eczema called atopic dermatitis. Kelp even may be as effective as steroids for eczema, according to Phytotherapy Research.
Due to kelp’s anti-inflammatory properties, it may help reduce redness in the skin in conditions such as rosacea.
Rosacea skin tends to be more susceptible to damage and is thinner than healthy skin.
Kelp helps rosacea because it also has polysaccharides which may strengthen the skin barrier, and for this reason, is also good for sensitive skin.
Kelp benefits for the skin are also due to its ability to balance out the germs on the skin by acting as a natural antiviral and natural antibacterial.
By regulating oil production, kelp is great for both combination skin and oily skin as well as dry skin. Balancing the skin by also keeping bacteria and viruses in check is also one of Kelp’s skincare benefits.
Kelp skin benefits include natural exfoliation that doesn’t require an abrasive body scrub. Dull skin is improved immediately by simply taking a bath with seaweed powder in it.
In this way, kelp brightens the skin while nourishing it.
Kelp Benefits for Skin Acne
One of the benefits of kelp is that it may help reduce acne symptoms. This is because kelp reduces inflammation, helps balance hormones, and provides a good dose of many nutrients for acne-prone skin.
The iodine in kelp works to balance thyroid function when used in moderate amounts. However, if you use too much iodine, you can cause the thyroid to be too active. Too much thyroid can throw the skin out of balance too.
So, really, the key is using it moderately in your beauty routine, once or twice a week instead of every day, and eating it in small amounts occasionally as well.
How to Use Kelp for Skin Conditions
Almost every type of skin can benefit from using kelp, so here are some practical tips on how to use it.
In your skincare routine
There are many beauty products on the market that contain kelp or other seaweed ingredients, but it is ideal to keep it simple and pure by using organic dried kelp powder or organic seaweed powder at home like this one.
Using pure, organic kelp is especially important if you have skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, which can react to additives in many beauty products.
A simple way to use kelp to help improve your skin is by adding a tablespoon or two of kelp powder to your bath water and soaking it for 10 to 20 minutes.
I like to make the seaweed powder into a paste and use it as a mask while I do this.
Enjoy a seaweed bath once or twice a week to help keep your skin hydrated and nourished.
For beauty starting on the inside, you can also supplement powdered kelp or kelp capsules once or twice a week. Keep in mind, that it has a taste of the sea, and is a bit fishy perhaps, so you may want to use kelp capsules.
You can also find kelp supplements in multivitamins that are at around 100 percent RDI for iodine, such as the Garden of Life brand, and these are safe to take every day.
It’s important to not overdo kelp supplements because there is a risk of getting too much iodine for some people, which could result in elevated thyroid levels.
However, most people don’t get enough iodine in their diets due to highly processed diets, so there is room to add more seaweed into your diet for most people.
Recommended Kelp Products for Skin
Natural Escentials Organic Kelp Powder is a pound of kelp powder that you can use in cooking and also for my favorite use: bathing and seaweed masks.
Life Extension Sea Iodine is a highly rated kelp and seaweed supplement with bladderwrack too. With 1000 mcg of iodine per capsule, taking this once or twice a week will cover your iodine needs. Life Extension is #1 rated on Consumer Labs as well.
Kelp has health benefits for dogs and cats too. My pup loves the taste of seaweed! A good choice is Life Line Organic Ocean Kelp.
Kelp has vitamin K, so make sure to check with your doctor before taking it as a supplement or eating it if you are on blood-thinning medication like warfarin.
Japanese diets are notorious for being rich in seaweed and are thought to hold some of the long-term health that this culture has.
However, if you are new to seaweed in your diet, make sure to start with a small amount, as some people can have a change in their thyroid levels if they add a lot to their diet all at once.
Allergies to kelp can also occur, so make sure to avoid kelp if you are sensitive or allergic to it.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of the new book Gut Fix and The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.
The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before making changes to your health routine.