Laponie ingredients: Algae-derived silica

Silica has been used in cosmetics for a long time, as an absorbing agent and a mattifier. It’s found in in sandstone, clay and granite, plants and animals, but the one we use in our Clarifying Treatment is derived from the silica shells of a Swedish micro-algal group called diatoms and comes with one major additional benefit: cleansing and hydration in one go.

When we met Sofie Allert from the Swedish Algae Factory some two years ago and she introduced us to “Algica” (i.e algae-derived silica), we knew straight-away we wanted to use it. Not only are diatoms mesmerising to look at, but they solve two major skincare issues in one go: moisturising and cleansing. Algica absorbs impurities and bacteria and improves skin's moisture retention by its ability to bind water, in a manner similar to hyaluronic acid. We felt it was a perfect ingredient for our Clarifying Treatment – something to purify skin, while adding hydration. And yeah, we also slapped in our faces as soon as we could.

We also love how the Swedish Algae Factory is focused on sustainability. The company cultivates their own algae, based on a circular economic mindset where carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus emissions are converted into valuable products. Through a controlled algae bloom in the company’s factory, nitrogen and phosphorus are prevented from overfertilising seas and oceans. In the process, the company also cleans water and produces a shell material that can be utilised to for example enhance the efficiency of solar panels. The organic biomass can be used as more sustainably produced feed and fertilisers.

The algae’s unique porous shell has evolved for millions of years to ensure survival. The shell is naturally designed for uptake and release of chemical substances such as nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The abundance of hydroxyl groups, comparable to hyaluronic acid, also helps the algae to efficiently regulate moisture and water levels.

Diatom shells originate from the sea and are thereby completely safe for oceans and sea life.