Seaweed has been used for generations in Asia and parts of Europe to battle itchy, dry, distressed skin. But the founder of Austin-based The Seaweed Bath Co., Adam Grossman, stumbled across it almost by accident.
He was looking for a more natural treatment for his own psoriasis. He discovered spending time in the ocean helped. Trying to recreate an ocean environment, he began researching the soothing effects of seaweed.
Grossman literally started as his kitchen table, mixing seaweed with other natural ingredients, like argan oil from Morocco, Dead Sea salts, and soothing scents like lavender and eucalyptus. His skin irritations began improving dramatically. So he sought help from a lab to create his full line of bath powders, body creams, lotions and hair care products, getting them to the marketplace just over a year ago.
Seaweed Bath Co. products are free of dyes, parabens and harsh chemicals. They’re gently scented, and I love the way the creams and body butters massage so easily and smoothly into the skin. These are good products for anyone with dry, scaly, or distressed skin.
But what really is interesting to me about this company is the seaweed component. Unlike many other natural products utilizing seaweed, Seaweed Bath Co. sources a particularly hard-to-harvest type of seaweed called bladderwrack.
Bladderwrack contains fucoidan, a natural anti-inflammatory agent which contain essential amino acids, nutrients and vitamins that soothe and hydrate the skin. These amino acids help alleviate the flaking, scaling, and redness experienced by those with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Bladderwrack also contains iodine, which offers many of the same benefits. (Kelp, which is the kind of seaweed often used in other products, has a higher level of iodine, so one must be careful about how much kelp one uses.)
Bladderwrack is also a highly sustainable type of seaweed. Grossman sources his bladderwrack seaweed off the coast of Maine – helping to create jobs in an economically depressed area, and avoiding the high carbon footprint created when importing seaweed from Europe.
Grossman is careful to note there are no true cures for conditions like psoriasis. But he’s his company’s own best testimonial: In the three years he’s been using seaweed-based products, he has stopped using any other prescribed topical medications like steroids. He now manages his skin condition with just seaweed products and a gluten-free diet.