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Got Acne? Stay Away From Seaweed

Have you been wondering what is so great about spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae, kelp, and seaweed? They are part of a huge family of organisms classified as “algae” that range in size from microscopic (spirulina and chlorella) to 180 feet long (seaweed).

In food form, algae is eaten raw (such as sushi nori), dried (kelp and seaweed snacks), soups (miso), made into drops that are placed under the tongue, or made into powders (spirulina, chlorella, kelp, bladderwrack, dulse and spanish moss) that are commonly added to smoothies and supplements or sprinkled on salads. While touted as “super foods,” these ingredients contain very high amounts of the mineral iodine, but the body needs only trace amounts of the mineral. We literally “sweat” out the excess, which irritates the pores in the process. The result? Angry, inflamed acne and a red skin tone.

The National Institutes of Health recommends adults get 150 mcg daily. Chances are you’re getting enough iodine already if you have a well-rounded diet. Good sources include eggs, potatoes, beef, beans and seafood like tuna, shellfish, lobsters, and sardines. To put things in perspective: 1 gram of kelp equals a whopping 2500/mcg of iodine. No wonder my clients break out the instant they eat a sushi roll!

Powders and Supplements Containing Pore-inflaming Algae Include:

  • Irish Moss
  • Iceland Moss
  • Blue-Green Algae
  • Bladderwrack
  • Dulse
  • Sea Kelp
  • Red Marine Algae
  • Chlorella
  • Spirulina

In skin care products, algae is often used in spa treatments–put on the body as seaweed mud and on the face in alginate masks. While touted for their detoxifying effects, topical algae is highly pore-clogging, literally causing skin cells inside the pore to bind together and form a plug.

Skin Care Products Containing Pore-clogging Algae Include:

  • Algae Extract
  • Algin
  • Alginate Mask
  • Red Algae
  • Seaweed
  • Laminaria
  • Fucus
  • Ulva Lactuca
  • Spirulina
  • Sea Rocket

 

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