Skin Restoration from the Sea; Dr. Ansul Noor

Posted by JaVae Anderson

Skin Restoration from the Sea


Dr. Ansul Noor
MD/MBBS, DDSc (Dermatology, UK), MSc (Dermatological Sciences, UK), Anti-Aging (Paris)

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The use of seawater for therapeutic purposes dates back to ancient civilizations. Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, detailed the medical benefits of using seawater for curative purposes in 400BC. He instructed his patients to take seawater baths to heal wounds and ailments such as arthritis. He theorized that the sea’s medicinal properties came from the naturally occurring minerals and elements in seawater.

Today’s researchers have shown Hippocrates theories about these minerals was correct.  The human body needs replenishment of calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, and sulfur on a daily basis for optimal restoration and healing.  These naturally occurring trace elements and minerals found in seawater and seaweed help prevent cellular imbalances and improve cell function.

The Science

Today the direct use of seawater, seaweeds and marine elements as active ingredients is growing rapidly in the fields of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, medicine and biochemistry. Many spas throughout the world, most notably in Europe, have adopted thalasso (from the Greek word, thalassa, meaning sea) techniques and focus their treatments entirely on the restorative benefits of the sea.

The ocean is the ideal environment for growth and harvesting of marine algae. Nutrients and minerals in seawater are absorbed and concentrated by seaweed as it grows, making it a protein and vitamin-rich resource and ideal for use in advanced skin care products.  Seaweed also has a natural ability to protect itself from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation.  Micro-algae like spirulina and chlorella contain astaxanthin; a powerful carotenoid that helps protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Seaweed extracts and astaxanthin are now powerful active ingredients used to improve the skin’s health and vitality. 

Marine Ingredients

Marine sourced ingredients such as seaweeds, also known as Marine macroalgae, have become key active ingredients in the cosmeceutical industry. Seaweed contains innately curative and bioactive rich compounds that exhibit diverse therapeutic, rejuvenative and healing actions. It is due to these curative benefits that skin care companies are selecting seaweed as a main active ingredient in their premier formulations. Marine Algae (MA) are a safe, natural and efficacious alternate to more conventional toxin laden ingredients or artificial synthetic compounds. Science has consistently shown the positive effects of marine actives on all the compartments of the skin, both epidermal and dermal. MA are teeming with essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, sugars and trace elements along with other unique compounds (mainly phlorotannins, sulfated polysaccharides and tyrosinase inhibitors) that are not found in any other bio-source on the planet. The four main classifications of algae are:

  • Red Algae
  • Brown Algae
  • Blue-Green Algae
  • Green Algae

Each algae group exhibits distinct biological actions that result in dramatic restoration and rejuvenation of skin functionality, physical appearance, luminosity and immunity. In addition to these curative benefits, MA have also been shown to display cyto-protective, photo-protective and anti-irritant abilities making them ideal candidates for luxury skin care formulations.

Highlighted below are few of the more commonly used marine algae that are being incorporated into topical cosmetic preparations.

  • Laminaria digitata: This brown algae is rich in trace elements, amino acids and vitamins. When used as an active ingredient in topical creams, the level of skin hydration is improved through prevention of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and enhanced water retaining capability of the epidermis. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-irritant actions. Laminaria digitata mobilizes toxic metabolites and flushes them out, hence forming an effective way to manage cellulite.
  • Chlorella vulgaris: A restorative and regenerative peptide extracted from green algae, Chlorella vulgaris, stimulates collagen and elastin formation by inhibiting MMP’s (Matrix Metallo-proteinases are enzymes activated by UV exposure or inflammation) and other degradative enzymes, fortifies the extracellular dermal matrix and decreases micro-inflammation, making it especially beneficial for mature and photo-damaged skin. It is a natural anti-aging elixir that battles extrinsic aging unlike any other natural known compound.
  • Spirulina maxima: This microscopic blue-green algae is known for its high content of vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin E, calcium, iron and phosphorus. It increases epidermal transit time and is a potent scavenger of reactive oxygen species (ROS) thereby preventing further oxidative damage to tissue. The bioactive compounds in this type of algae are highly beneficial for managing the cardinal signs of extrinsic aging, improving overall skin health and enhancing skin functionality.
  • Porphyra red algae: Compounds found in Porphyra red algae have hydro regulating, softening and moisturizing properties. The body relies heavily on the innate immune functions of the skin. Red algae compounds have shown immune-protective benefits, hence resulting in better policing of external pathogens and increased general health.
  • Lithothamnium calcareum:  Lithothamnium calcareum is a red algae that contains a whopping 32 rare oligo-minerals and elements (mainly iodine, selenium, zinc, copper, and chromium), phytohormones, vitamins and amino acids. Compounds found in this type of algae have demonstrated rich emollient and hydrating qualities. Using this algae in topical formulations will result in an intensely moisturized epidermis, nutritionally balanced and functional skin with an optimal skin surface pH.

The Future

The use of seawater and seaweeds for therapeutic benefits has been around for thousands of years.  Today’s advancements in the field of marine biotechnology is creating sophisticated cosmetic ingredients that are making meaningful improvements in the science of skin care. Marine biotechnology is the chemistry of the future, providing highly potent ingredients that are extremely effective and superior in their class.

About Ocean Rescue Spa Products

Ocean Rescue’s premium spa products are based on decades of research specifically designed to bring the benefits of the unique properties of seaweed and other marine-based ingredients to individuals and professionals seeking natural solutions to skin care.  The sea is an active element in all Ocean Rescue products – not just merely additives to our proprietary formulas.

For links to all the papers used to research this article, and to other ocean and marine-based white papers, including The World of Algae, please visit


About Dr. Noor

Dr. Ansul Noor has always believed in public health education and the age-old philosophy that ’prevention is better than the cure.’  These beliefs have left an acute mark upon her conscience since her early days of training as a medical physician. After completing her formal education as a medical doctor, she completed her Post Graduate Degree (MSc) in Dermatological Sciences successfully from the prestigious Welsh Institute of Dermatology (UK), known for their pioneering work in the science of Dermatology and Genetic Dermatology. Her research work also includes the history and evolution of Pox Viruses and the Clinical Applications of IPL – A Comparative Study.

Her main interests are Laser Dermatology, non-invasive IPL systems and holistic skin care. She has lectured at various medical institutions and her thesis has received wide acclaim for its bold new look at the future of non-invasive light based technology in the treatment of skin diseases, cosmetic defects and other novel applications. Her book, Skin Sensibility – A New Approach to Skincare has received rave reviews and is a simple and practical guide to maintaining your skin health proactively.

Please visit her website at