Seaweed concentrate? Green algae peptides? Caviar extract? Now more than ever, scientists are turning to marine-based ingredients to create cosmeceuticals that are making a splash in the beauty aisle.

marine ingredients creativeWhy the deep-dive? For starters, researchers have found ways to use vitamin-and-mineral-rich marine extracts to fight signs of aging and treat and repair many types of problem skin conditions. For instance, a peptide extracted from the single-celled green algae Chlorella vulgaris stimulates production of four types of dermal collagen and elastin. Another seaweed, Laminaria digitata, retains water in its plant tissue—much like the skin’s epidermis holds water—ensuring it stays plump and moisturized, even in low tide.

And it doesn’t stop at plant life. Scientists are also fishing for anti-aging breakthroughs by studying the skin of various aquatic creatures, such as salmon for example. Collagen derived from salmon binds water up to 30 times its molecular weight.  When used as a key ingredient in topical creams, it can deliver superior hydration to the skin, without causing irritation or allergic reaction.

As Dr. Rabkin notes in the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the harvesting and preserving of marine ingredients has become highly sophisticated over the past several decades, leading to a slew of effective—as well as more environmentally friendly—skincare products and spa treatments. Some of our favorites are Algenist Algae Brightening Mask ($59), which harnesses a rich composition of both micro and macro algae to brighten and even out skin tone; TimeSlip Solution’s RG-Cell Concentrated Restorative Skin Serum ($99), which combines extracts of caviar and blue-green algae to help boost the skin’s natural production of collagen; RoeZen’s skin-perfecting Beauty Mask ($500), which harnesses the many benefits of luxurious caviar, and Esthetica MD Marine Collagen Serum ($95), which is formulated with 99% collagen extracted from the skin of arctic salmon.

Mom Skin Woes: Solved!

It isn’t just on our tummy area where us new moms experience post-baby bumps—oftentimes, it’s on our face too! Dark spots, pimples, sensitivity—what the heck, are we 14 again? Don’t worry, mama, we’ve got the 411 on getting that glow back—STAT!

new mom skin

Lighten Up

Pregnancy causes an increase of hormone production in the body, which, in many women, can cause discolorations—a.k.a. melasma—to appear on the cheeks and forehead. While these spots typically diminish on their own post-pregnancy, once estrogen levels have tapered off, there are several steps you can take to minimize these marks and speed up recovery time. The easiest think you can do is stay out of the sun and wear a physical sun block such as Kiss My Face SPF 30, which can be used daily and is safe for babies, too. It’s also a good idea to switch out those exfoliating cleansers and face creams, which can make your skin more vulnerable to UV damage, with ones containing brown-spot-busting vitamin C. We love Avalon Organics’ Vitamin C Renewal Cleansing Milk, Vitality Serum, and Vitamin C Cream.

If you’re not breastfeeding and aren’t planning to get pregnant again soon, reach for over-the-counter topical treatments containing vitamin A, retinol, glycolic acid, or all-natural licorice and arbutin extracts, all of which have proven highly effective at safely lightening dark spots and evening out skin tone. Better yet, once you’ve hit the six-week mark of motherhood, head to your dermatologist or spa esthetician for a series of professional microdermabrasion treatments. 

Give Pimples The Pow!

Wondering why that amazing glow you had during your pregnancy has been replaced by pimples you haven’t seen since puberty? It’s called post-gestational acne, and once again, hormones are to blame. The good news is that these breakouts are generally short-lived and can be easily combated by adding a few targeted products to your at-home skincare arsenal and eliminating products that are a no-no for new moms (the use of  leave-on acne treatments and/or any sort of acid peel should be discussed with your doctor). First up is Mama Mio Gorgeous Glow Balancing Face Wash, a sulphate-free cleanser that fights acne with all-natural tea tree oil. Follow with a witch-hazel-based toner such as Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Pads and Image Skincare matte moisturizer with SPF 30, which won’t clog pores and contains oil-absorbing zinc. Finally, exfoliate once a week with a Kaolin clay mask. Or, if you have the resources, book a facial and have a professional extract your pores.

Don’t Be So Sensitive

Thanks to fluctuating hormone levels and your decision to breastfeed, you might have noticed your skin is drier and more sensitive than ever after giving birth. You also may have noticed your usual go-to products are no longer doing the trick. It’s important to cleanse and hydrate the skin with fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and soap-free products.  We recommend the one-two punch of Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser and Daily Moisture Cream, which contain emollient jojoba esters, cooling aloe, and soothing rice and cotton extracts that ease redness. OTC treatments containing papaya enzymes and soothing algae masks can also be done every 4 to 6 weeks to help keep skin balanced and hydrated.