Is electrolyte-infused skincare the key to hydration?
Nowadays, skincare trends come and go quicker than the tube, so it can be confusing working out what’s the real deal. Although 2020 has been dominated by CBD beauty chatter, another buzzword has been lurking in the background ready to make its way back into the spotlight – electrolytes.
Although not necessarily a new trend – you’ve probably come across countless sports drinks infused with the electrically charged minerals and compounds promising to replenish water lost during exercise – electrolyte-infused skincare is on our beauty radar once more because those with thirsty complexions have realised that electrolytes have amazing moisture-boosting properties.
But why is electrolyte-infused skincare trending now and how does it work? Let’s delve into the science.
What is electrolyte-infused skincare?
Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when mixed with water, enabling cells to generate energy and regulate pH levels, helping to keep our body’s hydration system in check. These minerals dissolve in the body’s fluids, creating an electric charge which helps control fluid balance and transfer nutrients into cells while at the same time removing waste.
And, seeing as we naturally lose two-to-three litres of water per day, as well as extra water and electrolytes during intense exercise sessions, it’s important to replenish electrolytes, and to do it quickly.
“Electrolyte-infused skincare works by helping to replace or boost lost minerals in the skin responsible for helping your skin hydration,” says Tammy Yaiser, vice president of product development at skincare brand Algenist.
“If your skin cells are depleted of essential minerals like calcium, chloride magnesium, phosphate, sodium and potassium, replenishing electrolytes can help your skin retain water, stay hydrated longer and eventually help your skin get better at holding on to hydration.”
How does electrolyte skincare work?
Electrolyte-infused skincare is said to not only quench thirsty complexions and soothe dry, rough skin, but reduce the signs of ageing too – when used correctly. Mineral electrolytes work in aiding the existing capacity of beauty products, helping other super-hydrating ingredients to do their job optimally.
As Paula Begoun, founder of skincare range Paula’s Choice explains, “Mineral electrolytes support and restore the function of the skin’s aquaporins – an intricate system of channels found in all layers of skin that are responsible for the normal flow of moisture, a delicate, complex process that ensures soft and smooth skin.”
“Mineral electrolytes work by enhancing the effectiveness of hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerine, ceramides and even water by making sure they get to where they are needed to maintain optimal, balanced hydration.”
So, mineral electrolytes won’t work if other hydrating ingredients aren’t present in the same skincare product, or other items in your beauty regime. Skin hydration really is about teamwork.
Also, without an effective delivery system, electrolytes wouldn’t be able to play this important role, so look at the overall formulation of the product you’re buying to make sure it delivers.
“In order for mineral electrolytes to penetrate and reach the deeper layers of skin, they need to be linked to a skin identical molecule such as lactate, gluconate or PCA (pyroglutamic acid),” adds Begoun. Only when attached to an ingredient like that will mineral electrolytes work effectively on the skin.
Which skin types would benefit best from electrolyte skincare?
“With today’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle, stress and exposure to pollution, for example, can contribute to depletion of key minerals in the skin. So, the benefit of electrolytes in skincare is that they help your skin get better at holding on to moisture, making it less prone to drying-out and dehydration,” explains Yaiser.
Electrolyte skincare should be a staple for fitness lovers, helping to replenish aggravated complexions after an intense run or spin class, and also for those with sensitive complexions as electrolytes are completely non-irritating.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we see more skincare products come onto the market with electrolytes as they’re versatile, help other brilliant ingredients work even better, and I see them as one of the ever-growing options we have to help skin look and act younger. It’s one trend I don’t see going away,” adds Begoun.
3 OF THE BEST ELECTROLYTE SKINCARE PRODUCTS TO TRY:
This overnight mask is packed with an electrolyte cocktail aimed at restoring dehydrated complexions by increasing moisture levels in the skin. It’s formulated with a blend of barrier-repairing ingredients including niacinamide, sodium PCA, plant squalene, five forms of ceramides, omega fatty acids and powerful antioxidants.
This lightweight moisturiser gives a burst of hydration to skin by replenishing the water content inside the skin and channelling it where it needs to go. Mineral electrolytes calcium, potassium and magnesium are linked with skin-identical PCA, allowing them to work within aquaporins to deliver vital hydrators like ceramides and glycerin. Together with antioxidants, it strengthens the skin’s environmental defences.
Recharge your skin overnight with this sleep mask which uses The Algalyte Complex, formulated with red microalgae polysaccharide and skin-energising electrolytes, to balance hydration levels, replenishing dehydrated skin. The cooling formula is non-comedogenic, paraben and sulphate-free, and should be used two-to-three times per week for the best results.