SEP 11, 2023 8:28 AM PDT

The Secrets of Seaweed: Sargassum's Role in Skin Pigmentation

WRITTEN BY: Greta Anne

When we think of seaweed, it often conjures images of underwater landscapes and marine life. However, recent research published in Cosmetics, a renown scientific skincare journal, has unveiled the hidden potential of a specific genus of brown seaweed known as Sargassum. This unassuming marine plant is making waves in the fields of cosmetics, biofuel, agriculture, and beyond. This plant possesses a remarkable ability to enhance melanin production in human skin, offering exciting possibilities for everything from treating skin conditions to addressing age-related hair greying.

Sargassum is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with a variety of natural antioxidant compounds. These include polyphenols, carotenoids, meroterpenoids, and plant sterols. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the color of our skin, hair, and eyes. Recent studies have shed light on the role of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in regulating melanin production. Elevated cAMP levels trigger a cascade of events, ultimately resulting in increased melanin synthesis—a natural defense mechanism against harmful UV radiation.

Researchers investigated the effects of Sargassum fusiforme extract (SFE) on melanin content and tyrosinase activity in human epidermal melanocytes. SFE increased melanin content and tyrosinase activity - it did so without causing any harm to the melanocytes. Even when the cells were subjected to oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide, SFE was able to repair this damage, restoring melanin content and cell viability.

This finding opens up exciting possibilities in the world of cosmetics. SFE could be used to develop products that enhance pigmentation in the skin and hair, addressing concerns related to depigmentation and even conditions like vitiligo. Having a natural, effective solution for those seeking to restore their hair's color or even out their skin tone will be of value for many patients. Additionally, SFE's protective properties against oxidative stress could have broader applications in skincare and health. It might find its way into products designed to shield our skin and hair from the damaging effects of the environment.

Sargassum fusiforme extract has emerged as a fascinating player in the world of pigmentation and skin health. Its unique ability to promote melanin production without harm and protect against oxidative stress holds tremendous potential for cosmetic and therapeutic applications. 


Sources: CosmeticsInternational Journal of Molecular Science

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Greta is currently a writer at Labroots and a 3rd year Doctor of Pharmacy student, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Innovation is her passion, especially when it comes to pharma, entrepreneurship, science, and art. She is hoping to pursue a career in pharma while also fostering her creative initiatives.
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