Skin Care Ingredient: Mother of Pearl

Skin Care Ingredient: Mother of Pearl

There are countless skincare ingredients used each day. The fact is that the industry is always looking for the next big thing or something from the past that can be just as useful today. That’s why there always seem to be new “must have” ingredients in skincare regularly. Many of them end up fading away with time though as they end up not being as useful. There are plenty of more traditional ingredients with notable staying power. Not all of them necessarily seem like they’d fit in in skincare though. Mother of pearl is a good example of this. The substance, also known as nacre, is a combination of organic and inorganic materials typically found on the inside of the shells of some molluscs and in the outer layers of a pearl. The beautiful iridescence is almost entirely thanks to mother of pearl. What good could it possibly do your skin though? It turns out it has been used in beauty for a long time and remains useful even today.

Pearlescent Exfoliation
The most common products to use mother of pearl are pearl creams. These products, true to their name, do offer what you’d expect from a cream, but they also frequently offer exfoliation as well. This tends to be from several aspects of the product. Products using mother of pearl like this tend to include finely ground shells in them. This provides a light physical exfoliation without some of the risks of a salt scrub. Interestingly enough, some people have suggested that the skin gets another layer of exfoliation on top of this too. There is a belief that some of the compounds that go into making up mother of pearl. One of the organic components is believed to encourage the skin’s natural shedding processes as well as helping to encourage overall cleanliness. This potentially makes mother of pearl an effective yet gentle method of exfoliation when used properly. There are other believed benefits to mother of pearl beyond just exfoliation though.

Woman moisturizing

Brightening Your Skin
One of the primary uses for pearl cream and similar products over the years hasn’t been exfoliation, but instead has been used to help brighten the skin. One of the compounds appears to help encourage brightening in localized areas over continuous treatment. The effect is slight, but seems useful when dealing with smaller blemishes and scars that leave a comparatively lighter mark overall. The exact method by which this happen isn’t entirely known, but it is believed to be part of the organic structure of mother of pearl. The end result, when combined with exfoliation, helps to ensure the turnover rate for the skin is a little higher than average. We do wish to stress that mother of pearl, while useful, isn’t as potent as a specifically formulated product when you want to brighten the skin. It does make a good complementary ingredient in products to offer brightening as an extra benefit. Maintaining a realistic expectation will ensure you don’t feel mislead at it taking time to brighten an area of skin.

A Healing Touch
Interestingly enough, one of the compounds in mother of pearl does actually appear to directly stimulate the skin in some ways. It has been noted to help stimulate the skin’s natural healing processes. This is particularly important for those of us interested in fighting the signs of aging. Remember that those signs are, in essence, an accumulation of damage that the skin hasn’t been able to heal. Anything that can help boost our skin’s ability to repair damage to itself in turn helps us to minimize the signs of aging on our appearances. The effect is noticeable, but requires continual use to maintain its effectiveness like any anti-aging compound. Additionally, we all have to accept that there is only so much it can do to support our skin. This boost to the skin’s regenerative properties does make mother of pearl a welcome addition to a myriad of products and make it overall more flexible than some of its peers.

Skincare didn’t just appear out of nowhere in the modern era. Most of the chemicals that go into your skincare actually have fairly long histories of being used as part of a plant before being isolated for use as an independent chemical. There are some less than obvious ingredients like mother of pearl too. It might not make initial sense, but the combination of organic and inorganic compounds in the material are surprisingly useful for the skin and can help with everything from brightening to encouraging overall better skin health. So the next time you see it in an ingredients list, don’t dismiss it as something meant to make the product seem more luxurious. Mother of pearl will be working just as hard for you as any other ingredient.

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