Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract



Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract at a glance

  • Type of red algae able to withstand environmental stressors
  • Helps prevent deeper UV damage to skin
  • Excellent paired with UV filters and antioxidants like vitamin C
  • Has natural soothing + hydrating properties
  • May play a role in skin’s natural renewal

Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract description

_Porphyra umbilicalis_ extract, more commonly known as red algae, contains a treasure trove of nutrients for skin, all of which work to help protect skin from environmental stressors that cause it to look and feel older. Studies have shown that topical use of this edible extract can help offset the damaging cascade on and within skin that’s triggered by UV light exposure. Comparative reports have shown great synergy when _Porphyra umbilicalis_ is paired with vitamins C and E. A key component of this algae’s ability to help protect skin from environmental damage is micosporine like amino acids. These bioactive, heat-stable water-soluble antioxidants (chief among them are palythine, shinorine and porphyra-334) are synthesized by algae to help them survive—and thrive—in harsh environmental conditions such as constant sunlight exposure. Research has proven that micosporine like amino acids have a special ability to neutralize UVA radiation before it can damage the plant. And it turns out this protective benefit applies to skin, making this red algae an excellent addition to sunscreens. Helping to offset UVB damage is also in this red algae’s bag of tricks. Topical use of _Porphyra umbilicalis_ has also been shown to reduce UV-triggered redness and help prevent water loss (dehydration) in environmentally-exposed skin. Along with the micosporine like amino acids, other antioxidant compounds in this type of red algae include vitamins C and E, lutein, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and fucoxanthin. This algae also contains minerals, hydrating polysaccharides, and peptides that may play a role in skin’s renewal. Recommended use levels of _Porphyra umbilicalis_ extract in skin care range from 1–4% as supplied in a water base. The 2021 Cosmetic Ingredient Review assessment of red algae-derived ingredients deemed _Porphyra umbilicalis_ extract safe in the present practices of use and concentrations described in their report. There is no limit on the concentration of use.

Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract references

  • Phycology, March 2022, pages 172–203
  • Briefings in Functional Genomics, April 2021, pages 1–14
  • Marine Drugs, March 2021, pages 1–28; and November 2019, pages 1–13
  • Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, December 2015, pages 121–126
  • Food Analytical Methods, October 2011, pages 828–834
  • Euro Cosmetics, September 2006, ePublication

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.