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5 Unbelievable Uses Of Alginate You Never Knew About

Updated on February 28, 2018
Saaniya Aamir profile image

I am a dental student in my 3rd year and someone who has had dark circles all her life.

What is Alginate?


Alginate or Alginic acid is extracted from brown seaweed and was first discovered by Stanford in 1881. It is classically a material used by the dentists for taking impressions of the patients before making their dentures for the perfect fit.


It is mainly composed of Sodium and Potassium salts of Alginic acid, Calcium Sulfate, Zinc oxide and Diatomaceous earth which acts as the filler.


The types of sources of Alginate available in the commercial market are:

  1. Ascophyllum
  2. Durvillaea
  3. Ecklonia
  4. Laminaria
  5. Lessonia
  6. Macrocystis
  7. Sargassum
  8. Turbinaria


My Fascination with Alginate

Being a dental student I was always fascinated by how Alginate has the ability to change its state from sol to gel form so smoothly and too within minutes. The unique physical and chemical properties of Alginate left me wondering what other ways could it possibly be used in, besides its dental use. Hence I did some research and was definitely surprised by the results.


1) Face Mask

Apparently, Alginate face masks are the new trend and its amazing results have left people raving about it. Alginate being a hydrocolloid, has the ability to be completely saturated with water and thus provides the users with a very nourishing and hydrating effect.

Alginate masks are currently being used for:

  1. Getting rid of wrinkles
  2. Skin tightening
  3. Youthful radiant glow


2) Weight Loss Supplements

Another surprising use of Alginate is that it is currently being used in the form of weight loss supplements.

How this works:

Due to its ability of retention of water, it forms a gel and promotes a prolonged feeling of satiety. This helps to lower the food intake of the user and may aid in weight loss.


3) Hand Casting

Want a unique idea for a gift? How about a hand casting.

For this DIY gift, all you have to do is take an impression of you and your partner in a container filled with alginate, let it set and then gently remove your hand. Next, fill the mould with the plaster of your choice. (Preferentially hard plaster)

Why Alginate?

Alginate has the ability to capture even the finest details like the lines and creases of your fingers to give the cast a life-like look. Definitely worth a try!


4) Food Additive

Alginate can also be used as a food additive and with its certification from FAO/WHO, it is pretty safe too.

How this works:
Alginate has the capacity to absorb a large amount of water and shows a gelling phenomenon, in turn, helping to preserve the food longer. Moreover, for the same reason, it can be used as a thickening agent too.


5) Dyes

Lastly, Alginate can also be used in the textile industries as a fixer for the dyes. However, this does make the dyes a little brittle and may affect their colour.


Due to its unique properties, Alginate has the ability to bind to the fibre chemically, in turn making the dye last longer.


Please note that if this your first time, do not try any of the above without consulting your physician or a professional. Thank you.


Have you ever tried any of these? If yes, which one?

See results

© 2018 Saniya Aamir


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    • Saaniya Aamir profile image

      Saniya Aamir 7 weeks ago from Karachi

      Thanks Linda! Im glad you found this article helpful.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting article. Your title is right—I didn't know about these uses of alginate! I love the thought of creating a hand casting as a gift.