Algae & Acne Connection - Beach Beauty Bar and Acne Clinic

Algae & Acne Connection

There’s an alarming number of people who believe consuming seaweed paper and algae products like spirulina are good for their skin. But don’t be fooled. Acne & algae go hand in hand.

There are many misconceptions about acne that we’re constantly reeducating our clients about the dangers every day products and seemingly healthy food has on their acne breakouts.

Do you want clear skin?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for acne and algae, like seaweed and kelp, are the perfect example of that. 

There are so many skincare professionals and products that tout the miracle of algae for skin but those people have not helped thousands of people get clear. Because if they had, they would have seen firsthand just how acne-triggering marine plants like algae can be. 

Are You A Salt-O-Holic?

Iodine is a trace element found in coastal waters and soil. In the 1800’s, it was discovered to be a micronutrient required for thyroid hormone production. Companies began fortifying salt with iodine in the 1920’s to help decrease the iodine deficiency in the US.

Food like iodides including iodized salt, soy products, seaweed, and shellfish are all on the list to annex if you are acne prone. Seaweed paper or nori paper is a staple amongst sushi lovers but the algae will have your acne flaring up almost immediately.

But what happens if you eat too much salt? Because sometimes we indulge when we know we shouldn’t!

Iodine and Acne

Too much salt = too much iodine in your body.

Too much iodine in your body = ACNE breakouts.

Iodine is essential for the production of hormones by the thyroid gland. These hormones control the body’s metabolism and many other important functions. When there’s more iodine than the body can use, the excess is excreted through the sweat glands. This is where the problem stems from.

Why is Algae Triggering for Acne?

All types of algae can be incredibly triggering for breakouts because they contain high levels of iodine.  Iodine is an essential mineral that we all need some amount of in our bodies but in excess it gets excreted through our follicles where acne takes place and can be highly irritating for our pores. 

The recommended daily value for adults is 150mcg and for pregnant women it’s 220mcg but most of us in the United States get more than enough through our daily diets because so many foods and beverages in the US are fortified with iodine.


This is why it’s extremely important to read labels when you’re acne prone. You never know when that favorite product of yours is sneaking in an ingredient that is going to blow up your skin with acne. If you see algae or a product that is marine based, take a deeper look before you use it or you’ll have an acne breakout on your hands.

Foods High in Iodine

Iodine is commonly added as a supplement in table salt and cow’s milk dairy products, including milk and cheese.

Seafood is naturally high in iodine. Our clients are often surprised that seafood and shellfish are on our “do not eat” list because seafood is known to be so healthy. It is healthy but it triggers people who have acne-prone skin.

The following foods are high in iodine and are very problematic for acne-prone skin:

  • Kelp
  • Iodized salt
  • Vitamins or supplements that contain iodine
  • Milk or other dairy products including ice cream, cheese, yogurt and butter
  • Seafood including fish, sushi, shellfish, kelp or seaweed
  • Herbal and vitamin supplements (one of the biggest culprits, check labels)
  • Foods that contain the additive carrageen, agar-agar, alginate, or nori
  • Breads and other commercially prepared bakery products made with iodate dough conditioners
  • Egg yolks, whole eggs and foods containing whole eggs

Foods high in iodine fuel the acne fire.

So What Can You Eat Instead?

Replace dairy products with plant-based alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew cheese. Choose fresh water fish. Check your vitamins and supplements for added iodine. Switch to using a non-iodized Health foods and supplements are not excluded – vitamins almost always contain some form of iodide – it could be in the form of iodine, iodide, potassium iodide or kelp.

Algae is triggering if it’s consumed in food or applied topically. Read your skincare labels carefully!

Algae triggers breakouts whether it’s eaten or applied topically because iodine irritates your pores whether it’s coming from the inside out or the outside in.

Be careful with protein bars – they often have potassium iodides in them.

Whey and soy protein powders for smoothies are bad for problematic skin – try hemp or pea protein powder instead.

Salt like Himalayan salt or Celtic salt.

Eliminate the egg yolk and stick with the whites.

Closing Thoughts

We can’t reiterate enough the importance of what you put into your body is what you see on your skin. When you clean up your diet, eliminating dairy, shrimp and sushi, you will be amazed at the skin clarity you will achieve.

Give your skin a fighting chance at being luminously clear if you are prone to acne. It’s especially important to monitor your diet so you can easily pinpoint the types of foods that are aggravating your skin.

Wondering about which foods or ingredients clog your pores? Schedule an acne consultation, and we will get you on the path to your clear skin journey for glowing skin from the outside in!

Cheers to clear!


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