Seaweed: the unlikely skincare hero you need right now?

Ingested or applied to skin, it seems seaweed might be the key to keeping angry winter skin happy. Madeleine Spencer looks into it...

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Yan Krukau
Madeleine Spencer17 January 2024

Every winter without fail, psoriasis takes up residence on my skin, presenting as red patches dotted at random across my limbs — and then every summer when I dip my form in the ocean, it disappears. I had attributed this to the effects of the sun and maybe the other attendant benefits of being away, such as lowered stress. But a chat with clinical aesthetician Pam Marshall made me reconsider. “Don’t forget that seaweed is rich in minerals and specifically vitamins A, B12, and C, which can create the calming effect to our stratum corneum (the outer layer of our skin) you experience.”

It makes sense. Seaweed is a powerful antioxidant, and is packed with all that other goodness, so why wouldn’t it follow that some of that might benefit skin when applied or encountered topically? Tim Van Berkel, co-founder of The Cornish Seaweed Company, certainly believes it does. “seaweed polysaccharides help prevent eczema and have an overall hydrating effect on the skin. They may also speed up wound recovery and reduce inflammation,” he says. Sounds about right, based on my experience.

That said, Pam was quick to issue a warning about considering seaweed to be a wonder cure-all. “Our skin sits at a pH of around 5.5, while bodies of water containing seaweed both fresh and salt are alkaline, which, in the short term, i.e. on holiday, can be a positive — but regular exposure can cause problems and disrupt the skin, unless in a very well-formulated product. On that note, remember that a product talking about containing seaweed might mean it just a smidge of it, which may actually be a good thing because great products sit in the Venn diagram of clever formula and quality ingredients.”

Determined to incorporate a little seaweed into my skincare to see if my psoriasis might kindly consider sodding off a little earlier this year, I have taken to dotting Oskia’s Super 16 Serum (£94, It contains a host of vitamins and minerals alongside seaweed extract. So far, so good: the redness has definitely diminished. 

I’ve taken things a step further and have included a seaweed supplement into my daily routine. Van Berkel recommends ingesting seaweed. “The thing that makes seaweeds slimy is polysaccharides, which are known to prevent a range of diseases, as well as being antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumoral — and seaweed overall delivers a wide range of vitamins (A, D, C, E, B) and minerals, including iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and iodine.” 

If you want to give seaweed a whirl for skin that's playing up, here are some of the top products on my radar:

Pure Organic Seaweed

Doctor Seaweed

This brand made a plethora of seaweed supplements, but I take this one, which contains Organic Hebridean Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed powder, daily for maximum seaweedy pay off.

Buy now£14, Doctor seaweed

Super 16 Serum


A blend of, as the name suggests, 16 powerhouse ingredients including seaweed, this serum is hydrating and soothing, making skin feel and look healthy and smooth and less inflamed.

Buy now£93.99, Cult Beauty

Organic Seaweed Sea Salt

The Cornish Seaweed Company

A clever and efficient idea, combining organic salt crystals with a mix of organic red, green and red Cornish seaweeds for a quick boost of minerals and antioxidants atop your meal.

Buy now£3.40, The Cornish Seaweed Company