items of interest
any people say that Nantucket rejuvenates the soul, but an enterprising couple has discovered a secret
ingredient in our seaweed that literally rejuvenates the skin. Not just any kind of seaweed, however, this is native algae that Mark and Ellen Comerford spent weeks searching for in the dead of winter. Where did they find it? It’s a secret. “We wanted to start with a rich moisturizing cream that had a nice texture and aroma and would last on the shelf,” said Ellen, who owns Boston’s Core de Vie holistic wellness spa and fitness studio with her husband, Mark. “We absorb so many nutrients through our skin, so it made sense to start out with a base that was nutrient-dense. Seaweed contains a host of nutrients from the seawater, including selenium, potassium and iodine.” Does the world really need another specialty skin care line? Let’s face it: There are plenty of creams, cleansers, serums, moisturizers and toners out there. However, as the Comerfords explain, many of these contain synthetic paraben, a petroleum-based derivative commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics that may have links to breast cancer. Those that are paraben-free, typically have other chemical additives to extend their shelf lives. Simply put, there was no effective, all-natural skin care line out there that met the Comerford’s high standards. So Mark and Ellen decided to make their own. Employing his background in chemistry, Mark tracked down a specific species of brown kelp sea algae that contains an ultra-high concentration of fucoxanthin, a major carotenoid shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-aging, anti-pigment and anti-cancer properties. Mark discovered that this rockweed thrives in cold seawater and eventually sourced the kelp from a farm in Northern California. Further digging revealed that the algae might grow in the pristine waters off Nantucket. The couple, who live on a boat on Straight Wharf during the summer, asked their slip neighbor, Captain Bobby DeCosta, if he had ever seen the plant. “He told us that there was no way it would grow here, as it isn’t a rocky enough coastline,” said Ellen. Undeterred, the couple scoured the shores by dinghy. Their persistence finally paid off when they found the algae last year. As it turns out, Nantucket is just about the farthest point south where the species can survive.
The Beauty Secret o f
Written by Marie-Claire roChat
S e a w e e d
PhotograPhy by NathaN Coe
Stroll 2012 Issue of Nantucket Magazine