Seaweed-Based Molecules and Their Potential Biological Activities: An Eco-Sustainable Cosmetics

Molecules. 2021 Sep 1;26(17):5313. doi: 10.3390/molecules26175313.


Amongst the countless marine organisms, seaweeds are considered as one of the richest sources of biologically active ingredients having powerful biological activities. Seaweeds or marine macroalgae are macroscopic multicellular eukaryotic photosynthetic organisms and have the potential to produce a large number of valuable compounds, such as proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, amino acids, phenolic compounds, pigments, etc. Since it is a prominent source of bioactive constituents, it finds diversified industrial applications viz food and dairy, pharmaceuticals, medicinal, cosmeceutical, nutraceutical, etc. Moreover, seaweed-based cosmetic products are risen up in their demands by the consumers, as they see them as a promising alternative to synthetic cosmetics. Normally it contains purified biologically active compounds or extracts with several compounds. Several seaweed ingredients that are useful in cosmeceuticals are known to be effective alternatives with significant benefits. Many seaweeds' species demonstrated skin beneficial activities, such as antioxidant, anti-melanogenesis, antiaging, photoprotection, anti-wrinkle, moisturizer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant properties, as well as certain antimicrobial activities, such as antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities. This review presents applications of bioactive molecules derived from marine algae as a potential substitute for its current applications in the cosmetic industry. The biological activities of carbohydrates, proteins, phenolic compounds and pigments are discussed as safe sources of ingredients for the consumer and cosmetic industry.

Keywords: biological activities; cosmeceuticals; marine macroalgae; seaweeds; skin cosmetics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cosmeceuticals / chemistry
  • Cosmeceuticals / pharmacology*
  • Cosmetics / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Seaweed / chemistry


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cosmeceuticals
  • Cosmetics