Ever tried a spirulina face mask? Before I started digging deeper into the question of what spirulina actually is and how I can use it, I thought this “superfood” was used only by athletes wanting to boost their energy and performance or people looking to lose some weight.
However, it turns out that spirulina can be beneficial to pretty much everybody. Aside from providing energy, detoxification, and crucial nutrients when taken orally, a spirulina face mask can help our skin radiate a healthy glow. This blue-green power with a pungent aroma has something to offer to virtually every ailment and every skin type.
In this post, I’ll offer a few DIY recipes for masks that incorporate spirulina. Before we get into that though, let’s see what the green powder is all about and how to get most benefits from incorporating it into our diets and skincare routine.
RELATED: For other food-based masks and facials, see this post.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina – otherwise known by its scientific name of cyanobacteria – is actually a blue-green bacteria that is very high in valuable nutrients such as proteins, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, spirulina has high amounts of protein (4g in 1 TBS), 15% of the daily requirement for Vitamin B2, 11% of Vitamin B1, and 4% of Vitamin B3. In addition, 1 TBS of spirulina will provide 11% of the daily need for iron and around 21% of copper. Add to it substantial amounts of magnesium, manganese, potassium, and selenium, and it’s plain to see that spirulina is indeed a true superfood.
Sometimes spirulina is mixed together with a another green algae which is equally nutritious, albeit in a slightly different way.
What is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a fresh-water green microalga that helps boost immunity and support fat loss. This superfood provides important nutrients such as proteins, iron, zinc, and vitamins. In some areas, chlorella outperforms spirulina.
For example, 1 TBS of chlorella can deliver 150% of daily requirement of Vitamin A, 100% of iron, and 66% of zinc. Chlorella is also one of the very few plant sources of Vitamin B 12 so it might be particularly beneficial for vegans and strict vegetarians. Additionally, due to its high content of chlorophyll, chlorella can help detox heavy metals from the body.
In order to get the benefits of all these important minerals and vitamins, it is crucial to buy only cracked cell wall chlorella. This makes the nutrients more accessible and digestible.
Chlorella has a tough, rigid cell wall that makes it hard to digest in its natural form. Processing makes its nutrients digestible.Medical News Today
Spirulina And Chlorella Benefits
Including freshwater algae and sea vegetables such as spirulina and chlorella in the diet will help you meet your body’s requirements for some essential nutrients. In fact, the algae are pretty remarkable in that they contain almost every single nutrient and mineral know to us.
When you look at the nutrients in spirulina, it is gram-for-gram one of the most nutrient-dense foods available! It makes sense why the astronauts use it in space to supplement their diets. It’s an easy way to boost the nutritional content of your diet.The Chopra Center
Both supplements are sold either in powder form or as capsules. Because both have a distinct aroma that might not be pleasing to everyone, it might be wise to get them in capsule form when considering taking them internally.
Powdered spirulina and chlorella can also be used in smoothies where the aroma can easily be covered up by other ingredients like fresh or frozen fruit. The powdered algae will also be the main ingredient of the masks we’ll be making below.
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Spirulina is taken by many people who seek to boost their immune system. It’s immunity strengthening properties have been studied, however, the only research of spirulina so far has included animal studies only.
A number of animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses, such as cancer.Mount Sinai
Higher Energy Levels
Because spirulina is a complete protein, it can be useful in maintaining high energy levels. This is due mainly to the composition of the protein in spirulina with abundant amino acids, like glutamine and phenylalanine, which makes it especially helpful in keeping energy levels up. Add to it other ingredients such as polysaccharides and essential fats present in spirulina and it becomes even more clear how this microalga can promote vigor and energy.
Spirulina has been promoted as “the food of the future” with “exceptional constituents” that contribute to high energy levels. A few of these constituents such as polysaccharides (Rhamnose and Glycogen) and essential fat (GLA) are absorbed easily by human cells and help in energy release.NIH Study
Spirulina can help us control our cholesterol levels and help ensure that our hearts stay happy and healthy.
Several studies have shown the positive effects of spirulina algae on cholesterol levels. In one study, intake of spirulina for 4 to 8 weeks significantly decreased total serum cholesterol in healthy male participants.Energy Bits
Additionally, to ensure heart health it makes sense to add chlorella to the equation. Chlorella contains 240 mcg of Vitamin K2 per 100 g which is up to 200-times the amount found in conventional U.S. beef, as this article claims.
Improved Cognitive Function
So far there have been only a few preliminary studies on the effects of spirulina supplementation for brain health. But, even these few clinical studies strongly indicate that dietary spirulina supplementation may be quite beneficial, especially for the aging brain. Spirulina is very rich in folate and vitamin B-12 which play an important role in the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system.
A recent study examined the beneficial effects of a diet enriched in Spirulina in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease. The results demonstrated that Spirulina supplementation prevented the death of dopamine neurons. Clinical trials in humans now need to be conducted to confirm this report.Psychology Today
Both spirulina and chlorella can aid weight loss by reducing food cravings and balancing blood glucose levels. A spirulina chlorella smoothie will not only provide crucial nutrients that we might otherwise not be getting from food, but it will also help us shed some pounds. It’s a win-win!
Findings suggest the beneficial effect of Spirulina supplementation in controlling blood glucose levels and in improving the lipid profile of subjects with type 2 diabetesNIH Study
Because both spirulina and chlorella are tiny but very powerful, it is crucial to consult a medical professional before using them, especially when ingesting. There are certain conditions, especially autoimmune disorders, for which the algae might not be the best choice. Read more about how to use them as supplement and possible interactions and safety concerns in this highly respected source.
A supplement is not a medicine. Often, it can provide a small amount of a nutrient but not enough to have a significant impact on a person’s health. For this reason, people should use supplements alongside any other treatment plan and not as a substitute.”Medical News Today
Does It Make Sense To Use Them Together?
Taking chlorella and spirulina together will have a synergistic benefit to our bodies and skin. Both algae provide a great amount of protein, so taking them internally might be especially beneficial for people who follow a vegan diet and could use some extra protein. But because both supplements have a significantly different profile of minerals and vitamins, taking them together should be a really good idea for those who get a go-ahead from their medical team.
Superfood Blue-Green Smoothie
For me personally, the best way to take spirulina and chlorella, is to make a smoothie with the powders.
Because the supplements taste and smell very grassy or earthy, the fruit in the smoothie can mask the aroma that might be unpleasant to some.
For one person:
- 1 ripe banana
- ¼ cup of frozen pineapple or mango chunks
- 1 TBS spirulina
- 1 TBS chlorella
- ½ cup crushed ice
- 1 cup of water or fruit juice
Blend and enjoy!
How To Use Spirulina And Chlorella For Skin Benefits
Spirulina and chlorella benefits for skin are numerous. Spirulina contains tyrosine, vitamin E, and selenium, all of which are well known as anti-aging powerhouses. Chlorella can help tighten and firm by improving the elasticity of the skin. Numerous antioxidants, B Vitamins, and Vitamin C in chlorella can also encourage cell turnover.
A spirulina face mask might be the ultimate detoxifier for our skin that is bombarded daily with outdoor and indoor pollution, blue light, and other free radicals.
Because there are brimming with various phytonutrients and carotenoids, both algae offer great antioxidant protection to our skin. Taking spirulina and chlorella both internally and applying it topically can aid greatly in slowing the sign of aging.
Due to its high vitamin and mineral content, spirulina and chlorella can help reduce redness and swelling if the skin. The same minerals can also help fight off microbes and so will aid those who suffer from breakouts and acne.
The green algae are full of chlorophyll which may aid in reducing dark circles and age spots.
Spirulina Face Mask 4 Ways
I’ve heard about a mermaid mask before but I never knew it had anything to do with either spirulina or chlorella. I imagined it might have some seaweed in it or maybe some saltwater. Well, it turns out, “mermaid mask” usually is a stand-in for a mask that incorporated the blue-green algae like spirulina and/or chlorella.
I alternate between different masks that incorporate either one or both of these superfoods.
Spirulina And Chlorella Mask For Acne
Adding honey makes this mask an anti-microbial powerhouse, and clay draws out impurities and helps tighten the pores.
Spirulina Face Mask For Dry Skin
Aloe vera adds the needed hydration, while Vitamin E helps with elasticity.
Chlorella, Moringa, And Spirulina Facial For Aging Skin
Moringa helps skin fight against free radicals and protects skin cells from damage. Adding honey or glycerin aids in hydration and smoothing of the skin. It’s even better to make a glycerite with skin-loving herbs like calendula, arnica, borage, or birch leaves, and then use it in a mask.
Chlorella And Spirulina For Age Spots And Dark Undereye Circles
The lactic acid in the yogurt helps sloth off the upper layers of the skin and may help reduce hyperpigmentation. Use some under your eyes also if you’re suffering from dark circles.
How To Make And Use
With all the masks, just mix all the ingredients together until they reach the consistency of a smooth paste. Apply to face and neck, including the delicate under-eye area, with a brush or clean fingers. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse, tone, and follow with a moisturizer.
There you have it. Tiny little bacteria and/or algae on a mission! See what works for you. Take them internally – after consulting with your doctor – or use them topically. I think you’ll like the results. I am certainly glad to have discovered them.