Undaria pinnatifida (algae) extract

Undaria pinnatifida, also known as brown algae, is a type of seaweed that’s also edible. As with most seaweeds, it’s a rich source of nutrients, and those benefit skin when applied topically. Among the benefits from applying brown algae to skin are antioxidant from its polyphenols, hydration from its polysaccharides, and soothing, thanks to a compound known as fucoidan.

In vitro (test tube) research has shown this type of algae plays a disruptive role in the pathway melanin (skin pigment) takes to make it to skin’s surface. In theory, topical use may keep discolorations at bay.

Some research indicates brown algae has more antioxidants than red or green algae, but topically, all of them can thwart the cascade of damage common airborne pollutants can trigger on skin.

References for this information:

Marine Drugs, November 2018, ePublication
Cosmetics, February 2018, ePublication; and April 2015, pages 66-81
Oncotarget, March 2017, pages 17,887–17,896
Interdisciplinary Toxicology, May 2014, pages 89-92

See algae

Back to Ingredient Dictionary

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!