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Asia researchers look at new ways to harvest seaweed for cosmetics

By Michelle Yeomans+

12-Jun-2014

Although seaweed farming has been in practice for 100's of years in Asia, researchers now say they are focused on a new method that isn’t as labor-intensive to harvest the minerals used in so many cosmetics.

Researchers are looking to mechanize the process for large-scale seaweed production as well as cost-effective renewable energy processes for drying seaweed before overall costs shoot up.

The traditional method of seaweed farming is labor-intensive, where twines have to be impregnated with millimetre-sized seaweed embryos, which are then wound around ropes and left in the water to grow. The seaweed then has to be harvested by hand.

However, small-scale seaweed farms have started operating around the globe to harvest the marine macroalgae in more efficient ways.

The material belongs to one of the many groups of multicellular red, green and brown algae and is widely used to produce vitamin supplements or cosmetics in many parts of the world.

The rise of macro algae in cosmetic formulations 

Seaweed joins the growing number of anti-aging actives claiming to stimulate sirtuin activity, proteins that may play a role in longevity.

Due to its high concentrations of fatty acids, anti-collagenase and anti-elastase activity, some seaweed extracts are positioned as an anti-aging ingredient with skin firming properties.

The presence of omega 3 and omega 6 help reinforce the skin’s hydrolipidic barrier, whilst it protects against collagen and elastin degradation.

In addition, seaweed extracts have good free radical scavenging activity therefore helping to protect the skin from both intrinsic and environmental damage.

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