The next big thing in skincare isn’t nearly as futuristic as you might expect. Hailing from the earth – rocks, soil and water, in fact – minerals are the ingredients du jour, with experts predicting the trend will explode in the coming year. “Post-pandemic, we’ve seen an influx of preventative health measures and a 360-degree focus on health,” says cosmetic scientist Nausheen Qureshi. “Just like people take multivitamins and other supplements for internal health each day, now they’re beginning to understand why a full profile of minerals and vitamins delivered topically to the skin is also important.”
This phenomenon isn’t actually new: humans have been utilising mineral-rich formulas in our routines for millennia, whether magnesium and salt for stress relief or, more recently, Instagram-worthy gold masks to plump and address skin texture. But thanks to innovation in the skincare sphere, these ingredients are being put to much better use, leading to supercharged results.
How do they work upon the skin? Put simply, they boost communication between the skin cells, which in turn improves their health – and good cellular health equals better, more balanced and beautiful skin. “Skin cells communicate with each other by exchanging minerals,” explains Qureshi. “An imbalance or decline of any particular mineral would mean improper cell communication, which may ultimately lead to cell death.” Topical application of minerals (which are very small molecules that can easily penetrate the skin) also results in improved absorption and subsequent action within the skin cells.
One key ingredient that Qureshi says is full of minerals (and vitamins) is algae, because it “was one of the first living things in existence” and has properties that are known to benefit those with skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. Containing high levels of minerals, such as magnesium, iron, iodine, calcium and potassium, there is also a diverse range of algae available in the environment, plus an “increased interest in its use due to the trend for natural beauty, as well as utilisation of natural raw materials”, says consultant dermatologist Anjali Mahto. “It can be used for a variety of reasons, including its moisturising benefits, ability to enhance the texture of skincare, as well as having some sunscreen-esque properties, depending on the type of algae.” She does, however, agree with Qureshi that its benefits on the skin will vary depending on the formulation and concentration of the algae used. There are now a number of brands that make algae and seaweed their focal point, including Algenist and Haeckels.
Colloidal silver is known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties – it’s great for healing, so is often found in formulas that address acne, rosacea or eczema-prone skin, such as Allies of Skin’s Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial and Omorovicza’s Silver Skin Tonic, both of which help to clear congestion and calm the skin. Meanwhile, those gold-infused face masks models love to show off on social media beget more than just Instagram likes. “Colloidal gold activates the skin’s cellular renewal mechanism, improving the appearance of lines, sagging and loss of elasticity,” says Vico. “It makes the skin firmer, while slowing down collagen depletion, improving blood circulation and skin barrier function and generally promoting glowing skin.” It’s also great at fending off irritants and allergens, so it is the ingredient to try if your skin is reactive or in need of some TLC. Try Clé de Peau Beauté’s Precious Gold Vitality Mask for the Midas touch.
In cult formulas, such as Elemis’s Pro-Collagen Marine Moisture Essence, you’ll find magnesium, a mineral that helps to slow down premature ageing and escort acne off the premises. “It also helps to reduce skin oiliness, which in turn reduces acne,” adds Vico. FaceGym’s new Electro-Lite Energising & Brightening Gel Cleanser also contains it to help rebalance and soothe the skin. And zinc, which is regularly found in mineral sunscreens, such as Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Broad Spectrum SPF30 Mineral Milk Sunscreen, isn’t just brilliant at shielding skin from UVA and UVB rays, but is also a great anti-inflammatory ingredient, helping to heal and soothe the skin.
Your skin’s new best friend? Diamond, of course, thanks to its ability to brighten, stimulate collagen production and gently exfoliate the skin. 111Skin’s Celestial Black Diamond Serum combines diamond powder with liquorice root to smooth out skin tone.
From British Vogue