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Blue Green Algae vs Blue Spirulina: what's the difference?

Blue Green Algae vs Blue Spirulina: what's the difference?

It’s no secret that the skincare guide book and the ingredients that punctuate it are ever expanding. The latest trend that’s gaining traction is topical algae, specifically blue green algae. But what does it do? 

It’s by no means a new discovery – it’s actually been around for centuries and scientists have long hailed the benefits of this impressive looking, pigment-rich ingredient. 

So, if it’s a hydration boost you’re after, or added protection against the ever-increasing pollution levels we’re faced with, incorporating it into your daily regime can keep your skin looking and feeling its very best. 

But what exactly are the differences between blue green algae and blue spirulina – if any – and what are the specific benefits of incorporating them into your routine? Here’s everything you need to know...

What’s the difference between blue green algae and blue spirulina?

Actually, there isn’t much difference between them. “Spirulina itself is a type of blue green algae,” explains Kavitha Murugesan, head of Research and Development here at Tropic. “It’s worth knowing that while they aren’t exactly the same – one is a small portion of the other – they can’t really be differentiated,” she explains. That’s why you might have seen their names being interchanged and used when describing the same thing. 

What exactly is blue green algae?

Blue green algae is a type of bacteria that lives in water. Its scientific name is cyanobacteria, and as its name would suggest, it’s a type of bacteria that’s found in both fresh water and salt water. There are lots of different varieties, and while some are toxic, the most popular one – spirulina – is, in contrast, extremely nutritious and boasts an abundance of impressive skincare benefits. 

What are the benefits of blue spirulina and algae in skincare?

Believe us when we say there are plenty! That’s why it’s used in so many products across the Tropic range, from our Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum to Clear Skies Cleansing Powder. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory benefits and skin toning abilities, it can also help reduce the appearance of pores and regulate sebum production – it’s a crucial companion for anyone with oily skin. It’s also antibacterial and antimicrobial, properties which enable it to destroy candida (AKA yeast) found on skin – which is often an underlying cause of persistent acne breakouts. 

Blue green algae is extremely nutritious and contains no less than eight essential amino acids. Oh, and it’s also high in protein – essential for repairing those cells! Plus, it contains gamma linolenic acid, a rare fatty acid that not only helps to decrease inflammation in skin but that works to maintain overall skin health, which is important for just about everybody.

And the compliments don’t stop there. We also can’t get enough of this ingredient because it has powerful antioxidant benefits and is incredibly effective in fighting against free radicals and other environmental, skin-damaging stressors. And if all that wasn’t enough, a 2015 study showed that spirulina also has impressive hydration benefits for mature skin types. Here for it!

So there we have it: blue green algae and spirulina really do have a myriad of uses, and we, for one, just can't get enough of it! 

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