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  • Lustrous Pearl Powder for Enhanced Skin Health

    For thousands of years, the pearl has been one of the favorite choices among Asian, Egyptian, Mayan and Indian cultures for both beauty and medicinal treatments. From ancient China and India to medieval Europe and Arabia, pearls have been used for everything from aphrodisiacs to cures for insanity. They have been worn for their curative powers or ground up and made into potions, salves and concoctions to treat a variety of ailments and to promote one’s natural beauty. In recent years, cosmetic industry scientists have focused their research on substantiating many of the benefits of Pearl Powder when topically applied in cosmeceuticals. In order to understand how Pearl Powder can impart a benefit to the skin we need to understand what it is first.

    Pearl Powder is a finely milled powder from natural pearls that is rich in nutrients and composed primarily of Calcium Carbonate, proteins, 20 different amino acids, some trace elements and Conchiolin, an organic (meaning made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms) protein. Conchiolin is what contributes to the lustrous finish of pearls, when alternating layers of Conchiolin and Calcium Carbonate crystals form the pearl’s nacre, often called mother-of-pearl. What’s more amazing is that this magnificent, lustrous substance really begins as an annoying irritation, which brings us to the question: how do pearls form?

    Natural pearls form under a set of accidental conditions when a microscopic intruder or parasite enters a bivalve mollusk (such as an oyster), and settles inside the shell. The mollusk, being irritated by the intruder, secretes Calcium Carbonate and Conchiolin to cover the irritant. This secretion process is repeated many times, thus producing a pearl.

    So how does Pearl Powder benefit our skin? Research studies using markers that indicate keratinocyte cell proliferation have demonstrated that Pearl Powder, when topically applied to skin, stimulates cell regeneration. When complexed with Silicium (a structural component of our connective tissue that helps maintain skin’s mechanical properties such as firmness and elasticity), Pearl Powder protects cells from free radical-induced damage and helps protect collagen fibers from glycation. Glycation is a process whereby sugars react with proteins (i.e. collagen) to form Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) that lead to inflammation and premature aging (i.e. cross-linked collagen). And of course, being a rich source of calcium, Pearl Powder helps in cell cohesion via desmosomes with their calcium dependent proteins, therefore, promoting skin firmness.

    Studies also indicate that Pearl Powder is comparable to Arbutin, the active component of Bearberry that inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme, thereby inhibiting melanin formation. Pearl Powder has also been shown to enhance activity of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), a powerful antioxidant enzyme that scavenges free radicals and slows aging. And finally, studies testing Pearl Powder’s ability to impact skin hydration demonstrated that it enhances the water-holding capacity of the skin.

    As you can see, the benefits of Pearl Powder in cosmeceuticals are indeed impressive. What started off as a mere intruder in an oyster shell results in a beautiful pearl that has promising applications in the realm of skin care.

    4 Comments

    • Marguerite Says:

      Thanks for this great article. I have been taking pearl powder capsules for the last year. Good for the skin and excellent source of calcium.

      June 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm
    • Hannah Says:

      This looks great are we going to use it in Dermalogica products.

      June 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm
    • Ruth Says:

      Yes, when can we expect to see it? I’m excited, the first I’ve heard of it!

      June 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm
    • Inna Says:

      Yes, some cosmetics companies are using pearls, diamonds and even gold components
      to achieve better results.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:46 am

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