When you think of the word kelp, your thoughts probably dive straight into the ocean. I know mine do. And also that it rhymes yelp, whelp, help, robo-help, and rather less effectively chelp (my US friends, yes – it’s a real word).
Whelp, kelp is a type of seaweed that indeed grows in the ocean. And as may be expected, it’s known for its many help (err, health) benefits.

One of its greatest benefits is for the skin. Ah, our old friend, the sea – it solves all our skin and hair problems, don’t you know?

Kelp is mega-rich in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, and as you should know, these are essential for healthy skin. Something you might not know is that it has especially high levels of iodine. Now, a little science for good measure – iodine is vital for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

And our thyroid gland plays a very important role (like the understudy that works every night the show goes on!) in regulating the body’s metabolism, and a healthy metabolism is essential for healthy skin.

Kelp is also rich in antioxidants. Now, remember that antioxidants help to protect the skin from environmental damage. This is particularly important today, where pollution and other environmental toxins can cause a lot of damage to the skin. The antioxidants help to neutralize these toxins and prevent them from causing harm.


green-leafed plant
Kelp on the shoreline – Image by Wolfgang Hasselmann


As well as these skin benefits, kelp is also a fantastic hydration source for your skin. It is full of natural hydrating agents, including sodium alginate and polysaccharides. How it works is kelp helps to lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated. And, of course, this is important for maintaining a healthy, youthful appearance.

Finally, when you thought it couldn’t get any better, kelp is also a natural exfoliant. Can you believe it? Yes, kelp contains enzymes that help to break down dead skin cells and remove them from the skin’s surface. So, using kelp, or products containing kelp, is a great way to keep your skin looking fresh and radiant, all the while preventing clogged pores and other skin problems.

So in case you haven’t noticed yet, kelp is a powerful ingredient for healthy, beautiful skin. It’s rich in essential vitamins and minerals, high in antioxidants, AND hydrating, AND exfoliating. So, getting kelp into your skin care routine can really work wonders to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin.


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Who should be using Kelp?

I’ll say it to you in one word. YOU.
Kelp can be beneficial for you if you want to maintain healthy and youthful-looking skin. Its high concentration of minerals and antioxidants makes it a superb choice for you if you’re looking to improve your skin’s overall health. It’s superfood for your face, really!

And in particular, kelp is definitely for you if you are concerned about environmental damage to your skin.

Kelp is also especially beneficial if you suffer from thyroid problems. As a rich source of iodine, kelp can help to regulate the thyroid gland, which can improve the health of the skin. A healthy thyroid gland is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is essential for healthy skin.

Okay, as well as all of these insanely great benefits, kelp is also rich in other beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E, A, C and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, and iron. These rich nutrients can help to nourish your skin, promote collagen production, and improve your overall skin health.

Overall, kelp is a brilliant choice if you want to improve the health and beauty of your skin. Its powerful combination of antioxidants, minerals, and rich source of vitamins and other nutrients make it a natural and effective way to keep your skin looking and feeling youthful and radiant. So, get some kelp-containing products in rotation, and get swimming in the ocean!


Are there any side effects to using Kelp?

Kelp is a type of seaweed that is known for its various potential benefits. It contains high levels of vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining healthy skin. However, we must touch on the fact that when it’s used topically, kelp can also have some side effects.

One of the most common side effects of using kelp on your skin can be irritation.

Kelp products can cause redness, itching, and even a burning sensation on the skin. This is because kelp contains iodine, which can be irritating to some people. This doesn’t mean it will cause irritation, it has the capacity to do so.

You may also experience allergic reactions to kelp. Some people may be allergic to certain compounds found in kelp, which can lead to rashes, hives, or swelling of the skin.

In addition to these side effects, kelp may also worsen existing skin conditions, like acne or rosacea. Yep, nothing in life is perfect, even kelp. This can happen because kelp can actually stimulate the production of sebum, which can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Nooooooo!

Despite these potential side effects, kelp can still be incredibly beneficial for your skin when used in moderation. It can help to moisturize and hydrate the skin, reduce inflammation, and even improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Okay, you had me at hydrate, but now, we’re onto something!

So I think the main thing to keep in mind is that if (and when!) you are considering using kelp on your skin, be aware of the potential side effects. And if you’re someone who is particularly allergic, sensitive or reactive to beauty products, do a patch test before applying it to larger areas of your skin. And as always, If you experience any discomfort or allergic reactions, stop using your kelp product and consult a healthcare professional.


How to use Kelp as Skincare?

Kelp has been used in skincare well as long as there’s been skincare. Mainly due to its high nutrient content and plentiful benefits for your skin.

To use kelp in your skincare routine, check out these steps to follow.

  1. First, find yourself a high-quality kelp product that is specifically designed for skincare. Look for cosmetic products such as kelp extract, kelp powder, or kelp oil. Look for products that are organic and free from harmful chemicals.

2. Next, you’ll want to do a patch test on a small area of your skin. This way, you can be super sure that you are not allergic to kelp. Apply a dime-sized amount of the product to the inside of your wrist and wait 24 hours. I know that’ll probably feel like forever, but best to know right away if you’re sensitive or allergic before using it. If you experience any redness, itching, or discomfort, do not use the product.

3. Once your patch test is successful, you can start incorporating kelp into your skincare routine. And the great news is that kelp can be used in a variety of ways for your skin. You can use it for a face mask, toner, or serum.


Using Kelp As A Face Mask

To use kelp as a face mask, mix a small amount of your seaweed powder or extract with water until it forms a paste. Apply the kelp paste to your face. Be sure to avoid your eye area, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Go and chill with some gentle music and make a real treatment out of this. Then, rinse off with warm water and pat your face dry.


Using Kelp As A Toner

To use kelp as a toner, you can mix kelp extract with water or even with witch hazel and apply it to your face using a cotton ball or cotton pad. Feel free to leave on the surface of the skin without rinsing.

Why not take this a step further and create a mist or spray that you can refresh your skin with each evening, too? Perfect in the warmer months for extra hydration.


Using Kelp As A Serum

To use kelp as a serum, apply a small amount of kelp oil to your face after cleansing and moisturizing.

One of the other great things about kelp is you can also add it to other skincare products, such as your moisturizers or exfoliators, to enhance their benefits.

And as is the case with any new skincare product, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. And tread with caution when you’re patch testing and getting started.


Best 15 Kelp-Based Skincare Products

As of 2022, there is a plethora of kelp-infused skincare products available on the market, and they all each promise to deliver a radiant, glowing complexion.

So, whether you’re looking for a nourishing face mask or a serum to boost that hydrated glow, incorporating kelp into your skincare regimen can be highly beneficial.


1. The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Control Gel Cream

the body shop seaweed oil-control gel cream

This is a lightweight gel-like cream from The Body Shop (I forgot they were still kicking on!), and it’s perfect if you’ve got oily or combination skin.
The kelp extract inside the cream helps balance your skin’s excess oil production and the hyaluronic acid provides you with hydration as well.

For: oily and combination skin requiring a hydration boost


2. Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream

white plastic jar of night cream

Mario badescu seaweed night cream

This super hydrating night cream is loved by its loyal users. It works while you sleep and is lightweight, fast absorbing, and loaded with bladderwrack extract (a type of seaweed) to work at hydration and nourishment. It also contains collagen and sodium hyaluronate, which will help improve your skin’s firmness, elasticity, and general appearance.

For: aging and dry skin that needs a lightweight hydration boost while you sleep.



3. Osea Ocean Cleansing Mudd

glass cleanser bottle

osea ocean cleansing mudd

From a family-run brand that prides itself on organic, vegan, and plant-based skincare. Osea gives us a cleansing mud filled with natural ingredients that will give your skin a deep clean, all the while soothing irritations, and inflammations and balancing your skin’s ph levels.

For: oily and combination skin types.


4. Eminence Organics Stone Crop Cleansing Oil

brown glass skincare bottle

eminence organics stone crop cleansing oil

This cleansing oil from delicious skincare fave Eminence Organics delivers a gentle cleanse while preserving your skin’s natural oils and moisture.
Made with a vegan, cruelty-free, and environmentally aware ethic, Stonecrop Cleansing Oil is particularly suitable if you suffer from rosacea, psoriasis or eczema as it will soothe and calm the skin surface while reducing redness and irritation.

For: dry, dehydrated, or sensitive skin.


5. La Mer The Renewal Oil

la mer bottle facial oil

la mer the renewal oil

You can use this oil on its own or mix in with other skincare faves of you like. Infused with hand-harvested sea kelp (woohoo!), which delivers both hydration by the bottle load and a highly sought-after radiant glow. Filled with healing properties such as Miracle Broth and marine oils that work together to improve your skin’s tone and texture and reduce the appearance of pores.

For: all skin types, including sensitive.

6. Boscia Mermaid Fire and Ice Cryosea Peel-Off Mask

white tube of facial mask

Boscia mermaid fire and ice cryosea peel-off mask

No, you won’t be stepping into some chamber from a 1960s science-fiction movie when you invest in a tube of this mask. You’ll just reap the benefits of the cryotherapy-inspired marine plants such as red algae, sea kelp extract, sodium hyaluronate, and sea water. All of these marine gems provide your skin with a cooling effect, and a plumping invigoration while the ingredients get to work on your skin. Once the mask has dried and tightened on your face, simply peel it off to reveal smooth and radiant skin underneath.

For: all skin types – anyone facing issues such as dry or oil skin, enlarged pores, dullness or blemishes.


7. Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask

purple packet of sheet masks

tatcha luminous deep hydration lifting mask

This ultra-hydrating facial mask comes packed with a blend of Japanese botanicals, Okinawa red algae, and hyaluronic acid. All combined to deliver your face with a dewy, radiant glow that even J Lo would be proud of.

For: all skin types, including sensitive – if you are looking for a radiant glow and a product that will lift and firm your skin while you’re at it.


8. Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream

green glass jar of eye cream

biossance squalane and Marine algae eye cream

With a unique formulation of squalane and marine algae among its main ingredients, this truly is one gentle eye cream that provides an effective and gentle solution to help combat the signs of aging around your delicate eye area.

For: all skin types looking for effective nourishment and help in reducing the appearance of fine lines, dark circles and puffiness around the eyes. Gentle for sensitive eyes as well.


9. Algenist Elevate Advanced Retinol Serum

thin cylindrical bottle of retinol serum

algenist elevate advance retinol serum

This is one potent serum that will work to improve the texture of your skin, as well as boost collagen production and reduce the signs of aging. Elevate Advanced Retinol Serum combines retinol with green algae and alguronic acid to work wonders on your face. Sign me up!

For: all skin types, but this is specifically to give anti-aging benefits to improve skin’s elasticity and the overall appearance of lines and wrinkles.


10. R.E.N. Clean Skincare Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Cream

bottle with pump lid

r.e.N. Clean skincare Atlantic kelp and magnesium anti-fatigue body cream

This ultra-rich body cream is full of Atlantic kelp, magnesium, and essential oils which soothes your tired and achey muscles, as well as treating your skin. Use this after the gym, or after showering to get the most out of the nourishing ingredients.

For: all skin types – anyone looking for intensely moisturized skin with a youthful glow.


It’s important to note that while kelp can provide numerous benefits for the skin, it’s always best to consult with a skincare professional before incorporating any new products into your routine. And remember, if you suffer from iodine allergies or thyroid conditions of any kind, please be careful when you’re using kelp-based products, as they may make your symptoms worse.

Top 10 FAQs about Kelp for Skincare

Kelp has been gaining popularity in the skincare industry due to its numerous benefits for the skin. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers if you’re still unsure about kelp for skincare.

Q: What is kelp, and how does it benefit the skin?
A: Kelp is a type of seaweed that contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help nourish and protect the skin. Some of the benefits of kelp for your skin include hydration, anti-aging, and reducing inflammation.

Q: How is kelp incorporated into skincare products?
A: Kelp can be found in a variety of skincare products. Products like serums, masks, and moisturizers. It is often extracted and added to products in the form of a powder or oil.

Q: Can kelp help with acne-prone skin?
A: Yes, kelp can help with acne-prone skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains iodine, which has been shown to regulate oil production in the skin and prevent breakouts.

Q: Is kelp safe for all skin types?
A: While kelp is generally safe for most skin types, those with iodine allergies or thyroid conditions should exercise caution when using kelp-based products, as they may exacerbate symptoms. It’s always best to consult with a skincare professional before incorporating any new products into your routine.

Q: How often should I use kelp-based skincare products?
A: The frequency of use depends on the individual product and the needs of your skin. It’s best to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult with a skincare professional.

Q: Are there any negative side effects of using kelp on the skin?
A: While kelp is generally safe for most people, it can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals. It’s important to patch-test any new products before introducing them to your skincare routine.

Q: Can kelp help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles?
A: Yes, kelp can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles due to its antioxidant properties. It can also help improve skin elasticity and firmness.

Q: Does kelp have any other health benefits?
A: Yes, kelp has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including supporting thyroid function, promoting weight loss, and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Q: Can I use kelp-based skincare products during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
A: It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using any new products – especially for pregnant women, or while breastfeeding.Q: Are there any specific kelp species that are better for skincare?
A: There are several species of kelp that can be used in skincare products, but Undaria pinnatifida and Laminaria japonica have been shown to have the most potent anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.


I hope you learned something about how invaluable kelp and seaweed-dreived ingredients can be for your skin. I know I did and I’m definitely aiming to up my kelp intake, for sure! Let me know how you go!

Featured Image by Shane Stagner

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