Why would anyone want to put seaweed on themselves? What if it helped get rid of cellulite? If seaweed could make cellulite melt away, we'd all be down by the ocean rolling around in the kelp.
Specific types of seaweed have long been thought to aid in reducing fat and cellulite. But how does simple seaweed measure up to today's miracle ingredients? Read on to learn more.
Seaweed is a term used to describe a wide variety of marine plant life, including algae. The specific types of seaweed most frequently used in anti-cellulite preparations are bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus, pictured to the right) and Atlantic kelp (Laminaria digitata). Neither type of seaweed is rare or endangered. Bladderwrack is a familiar site on Atlantic beaches, washed up after storms out at sea.
Both types of seaweed contain a variety of interesting compounds. Polyglycosides, fucose polymers, ursolic acid, amino acids and even collagen are found in seaweeds, along with iodine and mineral salts.
But what does seaweed have to do with cellulite?
Topical application of seaweed is the preferred method of application. Bladderwrack has been used for over 100 years as an additive in baths because it displays fat absorbing properties. The theory is that, when placed on the skin, bladderwrack literally absorbs fat from under the surface of the skin and diminishes cellulite in that fashion.
There are a couple of problems with this theory. First, seaweed can't differentiate between the fat that you want absorbed and whatever it's closest to. For instance, if you put seaweed on your skin, it would absorb whatever lipids are on or near the surface of the skin. This would consist primarily of sebum (the oil that keeps our skin smooth and supple) rather than subcutaneous fats like cellulite.
Atlantic kelp stimulates blood flow and aids the body in shedding excess fluids. In this way, seaweed can reduce the appearance of cellulite, but not the cellulite itself.
Probably not. Although the claims for seaweed are relatively small, there have been no clinical studies linking any type of seaweed and cellulite reduction. Seaweed is a great source for many cosmetic compounds but no amount of bladderwrack is going to make your cellulite melt away.
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