Before getting into the specifics, we should note that there are more than 800,000 species of algae, and not all species carry the same benefits; so simply saying that “algae softens wrinkles” is a bit of a generalization. However, many species of algae (especially those formulated into moisturizers and eye creams) are extremely hydrating—in fact, when used topically, algae has been found to be a better humectant than buzzy hyaluronic acid.
Not to mention, algae is rich in antioxidants, which can inhibit enzymes that break down collagen and help manage photoaging, so the delicate skin stays firm and taut. Specifically, when used in topical applications, astaxanthin (a potent carotenoid found in microalgae) was found to be 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, and 550 times stronger than green tea catechins, which makes it an especially effective ingredient in firming eye creams. “This helps maintain suppleness and reduces the appearance of fine lines,” board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., says regarding the ingredient.