Seaweed & the skin microbiome

We use four types of brown seaweed here at ishga, each one contains Fucoidan which is a type of polysaccharide (a biomolecule) found naturally in the algae.  Polysaccharides assist with healthy maintenance of the skins structure to help nutrients to pass through the skin barrier and into the deeper layers of the skin.  

We talk a lot about the many wonderful ways in which seaweed is beneficial for the skin, one of which is how it can support the skins microbiome.  

What is the skin microbiome?  

Our skin is our largest organ, and the surface contains billions of billions of microorganisms such as good bacteria that interact with skin cells and immune cells to promote healthy skin and a healthy immune system. The bacteria present in your skins microbiome determines its condition and contributes to whether you have dry skin, oily skin or suffer from inflammatory skin conditions.* Collectively, they are known as the skin microbiome, which is also known as ‘skin flora’, and it plays an important role in your overall health.     

What is the role of the skin microbiome?  

The main purpose of the microbiome is to protect you. It:  

  • Works with your immune system – Acting as an alarm system, the microbes can alert your immune system to harmful viruses and bacteria.  
  • Fights bad bacteria – The microbes work to keep the skin slightly acidic; this helps to keep moisture in and the germs out.   
  • Regulates inflammation – It can send signals to the immune system. This ability helps it to control inflammation and heal the skin.  

Skin microbiome graphic

What factors can affect how the microbiome works?  

  • Diet  
  • Genes  
  • Exposure to UV light  
  • Pollution  
  • Environment   

Dysbiosis and the skin microbiome  

When there is an imbalance on the microbiome, beneficial bacteria are reduced while harmful bacteria increase. This imbalance is called dysbiosis and causes impaired function of the skin barrier, leading to a higher likelihood of developing skin conditions such as:  

  • Eczema 
  • Psoriasis  
  • Acne  
  • Rosacea    

How does seaweed support the skin microbiome?  

Research has shown how fucoidan extracts have the potential to support a healthy skin barrier and assist in keeping the skin microbiome in optimal health, balancing the good and bad bacteria. Research has suggested how fucoidan can restore the balance of bacteria on skin for those suffering from eczema and acne. The same study also concluded that the expressions of genes usually associated with wound healing and skin barrier function were positively altered.    

How to protect your skin microbiome  

Choose skincare products that are gentle on your skin. Our Active Cleansing Lotion will effectively cleanse your skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Our natural Shampoo & Body Bar combines our unique seaweed extract with soothing aloe vera and spring water.   

For your hands (this is the only place you need antimicrobial protection), our award-winning Sanitiser contains a high organic ethanol content to destroy any viruses or bacteria, alongside our potent Hebridean seaweed extract and high-quality essential oils to nourish skin.  



 * Regina Fölster-Holst (2022). The role of the skin microbiome in atopic dermatitis – correlations and consequences. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 20(5):571-577