Sea moss has become a very popular skincare ingredient, but you definitely need to know what you’re getting yourself into before trying it.
Everyone from beauty bloggers to celebrities are singing the praises of sea moss, but the side effects can be serious if not properly monitored.
In this post, I am going to help you understand what sea moss is, how it can be beneficial, and all the risks associated with helping you make an informed decision before adding this in any of its forms.
Sea moss is a type of red algae that grows on rocks, logs, and other hard surfaces in the Arctic, Antarctic, and Northern parts of the Pacific Ocean.
It’s also known by other names such as Irish Moss, Irish Seaweed, or if you’re looking at an ingredient list, Chondrus Crispus.
Forms of sea moss
Sea moss is a versatile substance and can be used in a variety of ways.
You can take it as a supplement in a tablet, capsule, or gummy. You can brew it into teas or tinctures (alcohol-based extracts) and can apply it topically to your skin. It is worth noting that sea moss supplements are not approved by the U.S. FDA.
You may find it at your local grocery store or health food store dried and ground into powder or flakes. Some brands may even sell it as an oil.
Sea moss in skincare
For centuries, sea moss has been used in skincare. While sea moss is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-aging, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties, more research is needed to prove its efficacy in skin health.
However, there are some dermatologists and experts that swear by this powerful ingredient.
Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, it’s great for helping with acne or eczema. You should always consult with your doctor before trying something new, though.
What are the benefits of sea moss?
Sea moss has been touted as having a good deal of health, hair, and skin benefits, and they are as follows:
- Natural source of iodine, which supports thyroid health
- Rich in fiber and live bacteria, which supports gut and immune health
- Contains a rich variety of amino acids that help maintain collagen production and support muscle and energy recovery
- Good source of zinc and magnesium which helps maintain blood sugar levels by supporting a healthy insulin response
- Contains a component called fucoxanthin which may help increase fat metabolism to help support a healthy weight
- Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which support heart health
- Rich in sulfur, which improves fingernail, skin, and other tissue health
- Good source of iron to help grow, develop, and produce red blood cells to help protect against anemia
- High in calcium to maintain strong bones
- Silicon-rich to help skin’s elasticity
- Can help improve joint health because of its anti-inflammatory properties
- Has shown to have antidepressant effects because of its high levels of zinc and selenium
- Rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage and improve skin and hair health
- High amounts of fucoidan which help prevent damaged hair and skin from UV radiation
- Carrageenan in sea moss helps hair with natural hydration
What are the side effects of sea moss?
While there are many benefits to taking sea moss in supplement form or including it in your diet and it is considered generally safe, there are some side effects you should be aware of. This is especially true if you consume too much.
The recommended dose of sea moss daily is 500-2000mg or if you are eating it, one to two servings or 2-4 tablespoons.
You should talk to your doctor before starting anything new.
The side effects associated with overconsuming sea moss are as follows:
- High levels of iodine can cause thyroid problems, such as goiters, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and iodine poisoning.
- Eating too much can cause an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- It has anticoagulant effects so people on blood thinners should not consume sea moss.
- May contain toxic metals such as mercury, arsenic, and lead.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume sea moss.
- Some sea moss may contain poligeenan (degraded carrageenan) which may cause intestinal inflammation, and stomach ulcers, or may lead to stomach and bowel cancer.
- When you first take sea moss, you may feel gassy or bloated which usually goes away once your body gets used to it.
- When applied topically, skin reactions such as itching or redness are possible.
- Although allergies are rare, they are still possible.
Who should not take sea moss?
Once again, even though sea moss is generally safe for most people, there are some who should not consume it.
1. Those with thyroid issues- Because of the high iodine content, it can impact thyroid function. It can also interfere with thyroid meds.
2. Pregnant or breastfeeding women- There’s not enough research to see how it impacts this group of people.
3. Taking blood thinners or blood pressure meds- Although it is beneficial for heart health, it can interfere with these meds and increase the risk of bleeding.
4. Intolerance to iodine- Although rare, it can lead to anaphylactic shock.
5. Babies, children, and toddlers- Even though it can be beneficial, the dosage would need to be adjusted.
How to avoid side effects of sea moss
Most of the side effects that come with supplements of sea moss or including it in your diet come down to either taking too much or choosing poor-quality products.
There are ways to keep from experiencing the pesky side effects that may come with starting sea moss.
1. Don’t exceed recommended daily dosage- The recommended amount is 500mg – 2000mg, one to two servings, or 2 to 4 tablespoons.
2. Start with a low dose- Give your body time to get used to it then increase the dose gradually.
3. Consume only high-quality sea moss- Make sure it has been tested for heavy metals and avoid fake pool-grown sea moss.
4. Avoid raw or dehydrated sea moss- Sea moss gel or capsules are easier to digest.
5. Take it at night if it makes you nauseous.
6. Perform a patch test- If you are using it topically, test it first to be sure you won’t have a skin reaction.
Which sea moss supplements should you try?
When it comes to sea moss supplements, there are a ton of them out there. However, not all are created equally.
So, I scoured the internet to see which ones came most recommended, which are organic, which have the most nutritional value and are absorbed easily, and which have the best manufacturing practices.
Here is what I found:
Clinical Effects Sea Moss- This supplement not only contains the nutrient-rich sea moss but also bladderwrack for immune support and maintaining soft, supple skin, burdock root for breaking down fat tissue, and Bioperine for brain function and nutrient absorption.
This supplement is organic, cruelty-free, and contains high-quality targeted ingredients.
Akasha Superfoods Sea Moss- Certified organic with bladderwrack, burdock root, and Bioperine for digestive, thyroid, immune, and skin health.
Also made with the highest manufacturing standards.
I hope you have learned a lot about this unique ingredient and its potential benefits for your health, hair, and skin. It’s important to remember that while sea moss may be good for you, it can also have some side effects.
Be sure to check with your doctor before trying any new products containing sea moss.
References: webmd.com, organicsnature.com, healthline.com