Minerals have been used for skin care purposes for centuries now, as they play such an important role when it comes to the health of the skin, as well as the rest of the body. From natural sources of minerals to skin care products containing added minerals, this guide will teach you all you need to know about minerals for your skin.
Why Are Minerals so Important?
Every part of your body, from your skin to your teeth to your muscles to your nerves, requires minerals in order to properly function.
While you may have thought that vitamins were more important, your body needs minerals in order to actually make use of vitamins, and can survive longer without vitamins than it can without minerals.
When it comes to your skin…
Each mineral has its own individual role, but all of them are essential for your skin to repair damaged cells and tissue. A deficiency of just one trace mineral could result in a whole variety of different skin problems.
Here are a few of the many other skin benefits that minerals can bring:
- Skin detoxification
- Maintain hydration levels
- All minerals have antioxidant properties, and therefore the same benefits
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Boosts immunity of skin cells, protecting them from infections, DNA damage and diseases
- Stimulates metabolic processes, such as the production of collagen and elastin
- Provides nutrition to the skin through osmosis
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Key Minerals for the Skin
There are a number of different minerals that your skin needs in order to thrive, but here are some of the key ones:
- Zinc – protects against environmental stressors and UV radiation, while healing and repairing damaged skin
- Selenium – a powerful antioxidant that can help with oily skin and acne. Also has anti-inflammatory effects that can protect the skin from free radical damage
- Copper – protects the production of collagen and elastin, while enhancing the function of antioxidants
- Sulfur – helps with oily and sensitive skin while encouraging exfoliation. Also fights bacteria and minimizes pores, preventing any damage that blemishes may have otherwise caused
- Silica – firms and tightens the skin while keeping it looking smooth. A key mineral when it comes to maintaining skin elasticity
- Magnesium – important for maintaining moisture levels in the skin. A magnesium deficiency will accelerate skin aging
- Manganese – supports the production of collagen while helping to fight free radicals
- Calcium – plays an important role in elasticity and firmness of skin
Where do Minerals Come From?
With minerals being so important, you would imagine that the body produces at least some of them.
However, this is not at all the case…
In fact, the body cannot create a single mineral, meaning that all of your mineral requirements need to be met from external sources.
The two main sources of minerals are foods and fluids, but, in the Western world, dietary intake of minerals are at an all-time low.
For a number of reasons, but mostly due to commercial farming practices and the fact that the planet’s soil has now been so exhausted and over-used, meaning that it has been depleted of the minerals it once had.
In addition to this, the Western world has adopted a diet that is high in animal protein and low in plant-based foods, which makes mineral intakes drop even further.
However, while consuming minerals may be the most common way to get them into your body, there is another way in which you can do this…
This is through topical application, which basically means applying them to your skin.
Wondering whether this actually works?
Several studies have proven that when minerals are applied topically, in the right form, they are able to penetrate into the skin’s basal layer, and, in some cases, can even be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Skin Care Products Containing Minerals
Many skin care products will be formulated to include a few different minerals, and these are definitely worth looking into if you feel as though your skin could do with some extra help.
Wondering why you cannot just use the minerals on their own, in a pure form?
Because in their simple form, minerals will not be able to properly penetrate the skin.
In order to include them in skin care products, companies must manipulate the minerals in one of various ways:
- By shrinking the mineral particles to turn them into nanoparticles
- By using a carrier that can pair with mineral molecules and help them to travel deeper into the skin
- By converting them into a form that is more bio-available to the skin
- Dissolving them in a water solution to make them more bio-available
In addition to containing individual minerals, many skin care products will also be formulated with certain plant-based ingredients that are rich in minerals themselves.
Here are a few mineral-dense ingredients to keep an eye out for:
- Nettle – contains four times as much calcium as kale, as well as zinc, magnesium, copper, selenium, potassium and manganese
- Horsetail – has a high silicon content
- Seaweed – marine seaweed contains all 56 minerals and trace elements
- Pumpkin – packed with zinc, magnesium, iron
There are many other botanicals out there that are so rich in minerals, so try to look for products that are formulated with a variety of different ones.
A sunscreen is a skin care product that everyone should be using on a daily basis, and these come in two forms; chemical and mineral.
While chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that absorb harmful UV rays, mineral sunscreens contain minerals that reflect UV rays away.
So, what minerals do mineral sunscreens actually contain?
The two most common ones are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and both of these provide extremely effective sun protection.
Makeup products that have been formulated with minerals, instead of the usual cosmetic ingredients, are becoming increasingly popular.
Because they soothe the skin, are made from natural minerals, and only contain a few ingredients, meaning that they are far less irritating. Mineral makeup products are often recommended for those who suffer from inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne, as not only do these products cause less irritation, but they also calm the skin at the same time.
But how exactly does this work?
Well, specific minerals, such as zinc oxide, iron oxides and titanium dioxide, and broken down into tiny particles, and these are then used to create the makeup products.
You’re probably thinking…
“That sounds amazing! What are the downsides?”
The main downside is the fact that, since they do not contain any binders, the make-up will not last for as long as standard types of make-up, meaning that you will need to touch it up more often. However, if you can deal with this, you will be able to find mineral make-up ranges featuring everything from eyeshadows and lipsticks to bronzers and liquid foundations.
Natural Sources of Topical Minerals
In addition to using skin care products that contain minerals, there are also a few natural sources of topical minerals that you can look in to.
The first is Epsom salts, which are not actually a salt, but are a naturally occurring mineral compound, containing magnesium and sulfate.
Yes, its name is a little confusing…
But this is because magnesium sulfate was first discovered in Epsom, in England, and has a similar appearance to table salt.
While Epsom salts may come branded in a variety of different ways, it is all essentially the same, and can really work wonders on your skin.
All you need to do is dissolve some in hot water, such as in a bath, and then soak in it. When mixed with the warm water, the magnesium and sulfate are much more bio-available to your skin. Your skin will then absorb these essential minerals, replenishing its supply of magnesium and sulfate.
Studies have shown that not only do Epsom salt baths increase magnesium in the skin, but they also raise the levels of magnesium in the blood.
Here are a few other natural mineral baths that could really benefit your skin:
- Magnesium Chloride – provides a longer-lasting supply of magnesium than Epsom salts do
- Dead Sea Salts – these contain an ideal balance of magnesium, potassium and calcium, which can help to repair and protect dry and itchy skin, while soothing conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- Himalayan Salts – these contain 84 different essential minerals. While the levels of each may not be that high, this is a great all-rounder to give your skin a general boost
As mentioned above, the soil is a natural source of minerals, and while you may not necessarily want to apply garden soil to your face, mud and clay are rich in a range of different minerals.
Using mud and clay on the skin is something that has been done since ancient times, and different types will have their own skin benefits.
Here are a few worth trying:
- Bentonite Clay – a great one for oily skin as it soaks up any excess oil, while clearing acne
- Kaolin Clay – available in many colors, each with its own properties. White is the gentlest, making it great for sensitive skin, while red is suited to oily skin. Yellow is still quite gentle, and also exfoliating, while pink is a mixture of white and red, making it a great medium
- Rhassoul Clay – an ancient clay from Morocco, Rhassoul clay is extremely rich in minerals and especially effective at clearing the skin of impurities
- French Green Clay – great for exfoliation and tightening the pores, as well as for soaking up excess oil, while boosting circulation http://stylecaster.com/beauty/how-different-types-of-clay-benefit-your-skin/
- Dead Sea Mud – gentle and healing, Dead Sea Mud is rich in magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium
- European Moor Mud – an ancient mud rich in thermal minerals. Contains anti-inflammatory properties and can cleanse and heal the skin
Now, if you really want to treat your skin…
Why not take a trip to a mineral hot springs?
These rejuvenating pools will contain water that is rich in a variety of different minerals, with the exact one depending on the hot springs that you choose.
Mineral hot springs, as well as mineral baths, can be found all over the world. It is worth doing some research, as you may find that there is a skin-boosting mineral hot springs not too far away from you.
Of course, while the most common foods in the average Western diet may be low in minerals, there are still steps that you can take to get the most out of your food in terms of minerals.
Here are a few tips:
- Eat more sea vegetables, as they are grown in the sea, which is one of the most mineral-rich environments on the planet
- Give coconut water a try, as this is rich in two major minerals; sodium and potassium
- Drink more green juices, as these are so nutrient-dense
- Start drinking or cooking with bone broth, which is so rich in minerals, especially calcium, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium
- Use sea salt, which contains calcium, manganese, iron, copper, magnesium and boron, amongst many other trace minerals
- Eat more fermented foods
- Eat a varied diet, containing plenty of fresh, whole foods
Minerals are so important when it comes to the health of your skin, and obtaining minerals through the diet is becoming so much harder in the Western world.
In order to ensure that your skin, as well as the rest of your body, is receiving all of the minerals that it needs in order to thrive, try incorporating topical minerals into your daily routine. These will not only directly benefit your skin, but will be absorbed into your bloodstream, therefore having an effect on the rest of your body too.