What Is Sea Moss? This Woman Claims It Cleared Her Acne After One Week

A new wellness trend has landed on TikTok that claims to improve your skin, gut, and overall health. #SeaMoss has over 603 million views on TikTok, and famous influencers all over the country swear by the product, including the Kardashians, who have incorporated the algae into their own diet and beauty routine, boosting its global sales.

Earlier this month Khloe Kardashian revealed on her Instagram stories that she has been adding Sea Moss to her diet, with great results, and previously Kim Kardashian revealed that while trying to keep a plant-based diet, she enjoyed making sea moss smoothies. Their sister Kourtney also credits Sea Moss, and launched her own brand of sea moss tincture, because she didn't like the taste of the regular one so she made hers "taste sweet and fresh."

But, what is sea moss? Does it really work, and can there be side effects? Newsweek spoke to one woman who claims it helped transform her skin, and to nutrition experts to see if sea moss is the real deal.

Comp Image, Kim Kardashian and Sea Moss
In this combination image, Stephanie Silvestri, Kim Kardashian and inset image of sea moss product Stephanie Silvestri/Getty

What is Sea Moss?

Sea moss, which is also commonly known as Irish moss or red seaweed, is a type of red algae that grows year-round in tidepools and inlets, and it's a vegan, gluten-free source of nutrients.

It's usually harvested to extract carrageenan, a gelatinous carbohydrate used in cosmetics, and as a thickening agent for foods like ice cream, but it's also available raw and in the form of supplements such as pills, gels, and gummies.

While the taste of the product depends mostly on the brand and the flavors added to it, raw sea moss itself has a "slimy texture and an earthy, underwater taste similar to clams and oysters," according to the Cleveland Clinic. So, if you don't like seafood, it's probably not going to be for your taste.

'Sea Moss Completely Rejuvenated My Skin'

Stephanie Silvestri, 22-year-old TikToker from Hamilton, Ontario, who has been taking sea moss since last summer, told Newsweek that the superfood "moisturized, cleansed and rejuvenated her skin with just one use," and quality brands give outstanding results.

"It's really important to find a brand that sells authentic, wildcrafted sea moss," she said, adding that many commercial brands are artificially pool-grown.

Silvestri says that sea moss helped her skin as well as the rest of her body and that the results she saw were immediate and long-lasting. She only ate about 1-2 spoons of gel a day, and took breaks from using it every couple of months, in addition, she also made a face mask with it, which she applied about twice a week.

Stephanie Silvestri before and after sea moss
TikToker Stephanie Silvestri before and after using sea moss in her diet. Stephanie Silvestri/Stephanie Silvestri

"Sometimes I will add it to my coffee or my tea, that's an easy way that I consume it; but then sometimes if I haven't had any in the day and I'm not having a coffee or tea, I'll just like take a spoonful of it and down it that way.

"The most evident changes were in my skin, it was almost like an overnight thing where I tried the [sea moss] face mask once and the next day I saw immediate results. I had some scarring on my face and they were darker than my skin tone, and then the next day they blended in with my skin a little bit and were less evident.


i am no skin expert but i had tried tons of "skin products" that did nothing for me, and this is one week of results with a natural growing moss in our oceans, that has almost every mineral our bodies are composed of 🫶🏻

♬ About Damn Time - Lizzo

"On top of that, I also have textured skin, but literally the next morning this mask made my skin so smooth and like not bumpy at all," she said.

"Energy-wise," she also noticed that when consuming sea moss, she had a lot more energy, and she also saw changes in her digestive system too: "I think it balanced it a little bit better."

Does Sea Moss Actually Work? Experts Discuss

Jesse Feder, a Florida-based personal trainer and registered dietitian, told Newsweek that while the research on sea moss in humans is still very limited, there may be some health benefits to taking it.

He said: "Sea moss does contain small amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, iodine, as well as some antioxidants. These vitamins and minerals can support gut health, heart, thyroid, and immune function as well as reduce inflammation throughout the body.

"The amount of these nutrients contained in sea moss is not much and in my opinion, there are much better options out there for getting these nutrients as well as antioxidants. Due to the limited research on sea moss, I recommend only having it in moderation if you still want to include it in your diet."

According to the Cleveland Clinic, among the benefits of sea moss, which include gut health support, and the ability to lower cholesterol and boost your immune system, it also helps with weight loss, because it's a high-fiber food that will keep you full and avoid overeating.

But experts don't all agree on its weight-loss properties. Blanca Garcia, a registered dietitian nutritionist, and a nutrition specialist at Health Canal, told Newsweek that sea moss is low in calories, at 50 calories per 100 grams, and low in carbs, fat, and sugar, with small amounts of protein. Hwoever, not much research has been carried out into the effect of algae such as sea moss on humans. Therefore, exact results on weight loss are inconclusive as of yet.

She added: "It is a source of iodine, which can help support thyroid health, although due to the environment it grows in, the amount of iodine may vary. An excess amount of iodine may be caused by an excess intake of seafood or dietary supplements with iodine which may cause the thyroid to overreact, causing hyperthyroidism."

what sea moss did to me
Stock images. Sea moss in a bowl. Woman measuring weight loss. Since the Kardashian mentioned it, everyone is crazy about it. But what is sea moss? Getty Images

Does Sea Moss Have Any Side Effects?

According to Web MD, sea moss can offer many health benefits, but it can also come with some side effects. It explains that under certain circumstances, carrageenan, the substance present in sea moss, can be converted into 'degraded carrageenan,' also known as poligeenan, which is known to be toxic and cause several health problems.

Some of the worst side effects linked to poligeenan include intestinal inflammation, stomach ulcers, and stomach and bowel cancer, although Web MD notes that carrageenan has none of these effects, and has been determined safe to use as a food additive by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Catherine Gervacio, a registered dietician and nutrition writer for Living Fit, told Newsweek that there's no established recommended intake, but since it is rich in iodine, toxicity may occur if you take too much.

She said that excessive iodine intake may lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea, and for people with existing thyroid problems, it can result in thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism.

"Further studies have yet to prove the effectiveness of sea moss supplements to what it claims to be beneficial for health. However, there is nothing wrong to take such supplements as sea moss naturally is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Just be cautious in consumption. The recommended intake of iodine is 150mcg in adults," she added.