Can Skincare Help Fight Climate Change?
The beauty industry has a reputation for negatively contributing to the health of our environment. Skincare and beauty product packaging tends to be small and quickly consumed, single use, and primarily made of plastic - which finds its way into our waste streams, waterways, shorelines, and animals. Ingredients are often petroleum-derived, and filled with preservatives and chemicals that can pollute our waters.
It’s a challenging line to walk as both a consumer and producer of skincare products striving to be conscious of how the items we make and consume will leave their mark on our planet, and I’m always researching, testing, and seeking ways to lessen our environmental footprint while creating a beneficial and effective product that will help our customers nourish and care for their bodies.
All of which has led me to focus more intently on one key ingredient that could not only *reduce* impacts to the environment, but can actually tip the scales toward making a positive impact in helping to combat climate change as it is produced.
This magic ingredient is Kelp.
Kelp grows wild just off the rocky shorelines of Alaska’s abundant coast. It anchors itself to rocks on the seashore and reaches up toward the light at the surface at a remarkable growth rate of up to 2 feet per day during peak summer daylight. Kelp’s “stem” - called a stipe - can reach several feet in length, with an air bladder bulb at the top that keeps its lengthy fronds afloat at the surface to drink in the long hours of sunlight through the summer.
How does kelp combat climate change?
Kelp carries out its rapid growth by feeding only on sunlight and marine nutrients found in seawater - including carbon dioxide and nitrogen. In fact, kelp absorbs 5 times more carbon than most land-based plants. This makes kelp a powerful ally in the fight against climate change; with the ability to remove excess carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by way of our oceans, and helping to reduce ocean acidification in the process.
And while wild kelp beds have been thriving off the coasts of Alaska since time immemorial, Alaskan fishermen and researchers have begun to develop methods of “farming” this incredible seaweed in a truly regenerative way that requires no pesticides, fertilizers, or arable land. Kelp farmers create anchored, floating kelp “beds” that use the same natural processes as wild kelp beds to transform sunlight and seawater into a nutritious, delicious, skin-loving, carbon-absorbing crop.
These regenerative kelp farms are carefully developed to ensure that they do not negatively impact the health or vitality of wild kelp beds throughout the region.
So, what does this have to do with my skincare?
Like most seaweeds, kelp is rich in essential nutrients that feed and nourish our bodies - both inside and out. Amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants present in kelp help to support the skin’s natural restorative and protective abilities. And its mucilaginous quality - that slippery fish-like texture you feel when your leg brushes a patch of seaweed while swimming - is highly emollient and moisturizing to your skin, similar to the beneficial properties you’d find in aloe vera.
To share these incredible natural benefits with your skin, I’ve formulated a line of products utilizing locally grown and harvested Alaskan kelp.
Incorporating this amazing nutrient-rich seaweed into our skincare means we’re investing in the development of Alaska’s regenerative kelp farming industry, amplifying its climate change-fighting impacts, and keeping our ingredient chain and carbon footprint as small and local as possible.
It also means we’re helping to keep you connected to the health and restorative magic of our oceans - one of the most important ecosystems for sustained, balanced life on earth.
Every kelp-infused, ocean-inspired body care product we create is formulated to invite you in to experience the cool, blue, wild waters of our coastal Alaska home. And each product is packaged with mindful attention to materials that are compostable, recyclable, and plastic-free to keep our waters healthy, vibrant, and thriving for centuries to come.