Is the ocean the answer to all your skincare woes?

From seaweed and algae to salts and caviar, these star ingredients have evolved to be the most resilient, multifunctional and prolific skin helpers around, thanks to the hostile conditions from which they originate
Beauty, Minerals, Skincare, Spa

While 97 per cent of the world's oceans may remain unexplored, the other three per cent have become the beauty world’s latest playground. From seaweed and algae to salts and caviar, these star ingredients have evolved to be the most resilient, multifunctional and prolific skin helpers around, thanks to the hostile conditions from which they originate. These mineral-rich ingredients stimulate natural processes within the cells, creating ‘healthy’ skin.

La Mer The Cleansing Gel Dhs360

The therapeutic benefits of the sea are already well known, with a 2016 study in New Zealand finding that residents who had sea views on tap were happier than their landlocked counterparts. The sound of the waves has also been shown to lull the body into a relaxed state, and meditation apps like Calm use sounds such as “coastline at sunset” to induce a state of, well, calm. Formulators have long understood the mind and body connection, too.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask Dhs315

“There’s no denying that if we were all to spend a few mornings swimming in the sea each week, our skin, health and moods would be much improved,” says Dom Bridges of Margate-based brand Haeckels, which he started after noticing an abundance of seaweed on his local beach. “Many products you see on the pharmacy shelves are 70 per cent water,” he explains. The foundation of his range is a seaweed broth, packed full of minerals (including anti-inflammatory magnesium, and healing zinc and calcium to promote skin regeneration), practically a whole alphabet of vitamins (A, B, C, D and E) and alginates, which help restore hydration. “People who had skin conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis were coming into the shop and saying it had cured their skin,” says Dom.

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics Dhs30

A study carried out by seaweed and algae-centric brand Voya found that the underwater greenery in their products boosts collagen production in skin by over 200 per cent and has antibacterial, antiviral, anticarcinogenic and anti-UV properties. Big beauty brands like Estée Lauder, Elemis and La Mer have also cottoned on to the value of the deep blue. Last year, Estée Lauder launched the Nutritious Micro-Algae range containing brown algae to detoxify and help clear congested skin (the Pore Minimizing Shake Tonic is particularly good for daily oil absorption), while one Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream sells every nine seconds – maybe due to the Mediterranean algae that firm, hydrate and fortify skin. Meanwhile, La Mer has gained a cult following thanks to Miracle Broth-infused products like The Cleansing Gel. Miracle Broth contains hand-harvested sea kelp that has been fermented then left to marinade under special pulsating sounds that mimic the ebb and flow of the waves. The new Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream, available as of March, also contains kelp gel, which is especially good at nourishing reactive skin.

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum Dhs375

But it’s not just about topical products. Facialist Sarah Chapman points out “you achieve great skin quicker if you combine the external with the internal”. She recommends omega 3 fish oil supplements to help keep cells intact and your skin’s barrier at full function.

Haeckels Seaweed And Carrot Seed Face Serum Dhs330

Collagen is also a key player in supple skin. Liquid supplement brand Skinade utilises collagen peptides from fish skin to boost levels of the elusive protein, while Macacha’s new superfood-packed Beauty Blend uses kelp to regulate  and balance the body’s hormones. The deep sea is clearly your skin’s newest secret weapon.

Peter Thomas Roth Blue Marine Algae Mask Dhs201


  • Detox Cleansing Ritual, Dhs585 for 80 minutes, The Heavenly Spa, The Westin Dubai. Be cocooned in eucalyptus and seaweed to regulate the body’s metabolism.
  • Top-to-toe Spa Detox Ritual, Dhs1,500 for 150 minutes at The Spa, Palace Downtown. Surrender to ultimate bliss as fresh seaweed, sourced from the depths of the Atlantic, and a hot stone drainage massage work together to enhance tightening and slimming results.
  • Flotation in Saltwater Pool, Dhs370 for 60 minutes at Talise Spa, Jumeirah Emirates Towers. You’ll see a real boost in mood, with aches and pains relieved after an hour of floating.

Photos: Sam Hendel and Marco Vittur