Published on - Leave a comment


red mineral


Anemia due to a lack of iron, osteoporosis due to a lack of calcium, a chronic state of fatigue due to a lack of magnesium, every day doctors are confronted with these mineral deficiencies in the body. But what about the skin, which is undoubtedly the organ least well served by our diet?

I am in charge of research and development at Gemology, which is a mineral brand. We extract trace elements from stones, which are key elements for skin health. These elements are necessary for the body in minute quantities. They are essential for growth, development and all biological functions of the living organism. Here are a few examples of essential trace elements that you are probably familiar with: iron, which is associated with hemoglobin for our respiration, copper, which is involved in the respiratory phenomena of the cell itself, manganese, zinc, etc. There are many essential trace elements in the body. In the skin, trace elements regulate more than 200 biological reactions, which is a lot! They are truly the key elements in the functioning of cellular biology. They are essential to our energy production, collagen synthesis, nutrition, etc. Besides, how often do we go to the doctor who makes us do a blood analysis and finally gives us a cure of zinc, copper or magnesium at the end of the consultation?






Among those you know, let's mention copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, silicon, potassium and sulfur. Here are the main properties of three of them at the skin level:

- Copper: It is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory. It gives radiance to the skin and protects it. It has a role in cellular detoxification.

- Zinc: It soothes redness and irritation. It increases the firmness and elasticity of the skin. It purifies and limits the excess of sebum.

- Silicon: It deeply moisturizes the skin, increases the elasticity of tired skin and slows down cellular aging. So you can see that their functions are extremely varied. We sweep the entire field of cosmetic and biological activity on the skin.


What happens if we lacktrace elements? What you need to know is that we very often have deficiencies in trace elements and that all deficiencies can have important consequences. Why do we have deficiencies? In the past, our diet was more or less balanced with fruits and vegetables. But today, it is obvious that we have lost 40% of the trace elements in our diet. This has been clearly demonstrated by numerous scientific studies. These lost trace elements are also lost through the skin, which is the last organ to be served. We feed the vital organs first. The body considers that the skin is not vital, and therefore all the vital organs are fed before bringing these elements to the skin. This is the reason why there are many deficiencies and that it is visible on the skin. These deficiencies will have consequences.


If I take the example of zinc, you will have slower healing phenomena, hair loss, acne, eczema, alteration of elastic fibers, small spots on the nails. These are palpable and visible consequences that you have to deal with on a daily basis in your institutes. Iron An iron deficiency results in drier, more sluggish skin, problems with skin thermal regulation, and brittle hair and nails. Magnesium Deficiency in magnesium causes dry skin, alteration of elastic fibers, and brittle hair.


Calcium is an unusual trace element because it is not found in small quantities. As it is a constituent of bones, it can be considered as being present in large quantities in the body. It therefore has a rather special classification. Its decrease in the organism causes a decrease in the protection of environmental aggressions and a premature aging of the skin. These are some of the visible consequences of trace element deficiencies that you have to treat in your institutes.


I will explain how iron, zinc, magnesium, silicon work...

The iron

The iron contained in minerals is extracted by a particular technology. It is found mainly in large quantities in two stones, hematite and sapphire, and in lesser concentrations in amethyst, red jasper, citrine, peridot, white quartz and tourmaline. Small precision, a stone is made up of 100% of trace elements. It is a combination of silicon, iron and zinc. This combination of trace elements with the main and secondary trace elements gives the stone its color and appearance.

What is the mode of action of iron?

In the skin, collagen is synthesized in different stages. The first step in collagen synthesis is the transformation of an amino acid into pro-collagen. This transformation is stimulated and provoked by an enzyme, a protein called prolyl hydroxylase, which only works in the presence of iron. If there is no iron, collagen synthesis cannot take place. Iron is essential for collagen synthesis. Here is the biological reaction.

How to demonstrate it? In an extremely simple way: you just have to take the cells responsible for collagen synthesis, which are the fibroblasts, put them in culture and measure their capacity to synthesize collagen. Here you have the increase of collagen synthesis, the production of collagen by the fibroblasts. 

You can see in a spectacular way that when we increase the concentration of iron, we increase the synthesis of collagen by up to 400%! This biological reaction clearly shows that iron is essential for collagen synthesis. In our laboratories, we take skin explants recovered after plastic surgeries, whose density and thickness are measured with markers. The thickness is related to the density of collagen. We add iron to these skin explants and observe what happens. You can see how important the densification of collagen is in the presence of iron. This in-vitro experiment clearly shows what the effect of iron on collagen synthesis is. On figure 3 you can see the increase in collagen synthesis by the fibroblasts. Finally, to be sure, here is the skin of a client before and after application of a cream containing iron.

Thus, it is possible to significantly reduce the depth of wrinkles. This experiment proves that through a trace element, you can have a visible and palpable effect on a biological activity, and thus prove the effectiveness of your anti-aging treatments at the institute. 


It is found mainly in a stone, smithsonite, which contains high concentrations. The mechanism of action of zinc is known in particular thanks to its effectiveness on acne. But zinc has other crucial functions at the level of the skin. In particular, it acts on the level of "AGEs". I will explain what AGEs are by using the example of barbecued meat. Barbecued meat has a pleasant and sensory smell, but everyone knows that barbecuing is not very good for your health. Overcooked meat is not very good for your health because when you expose a biological structure to heat, what happens is the Maillard reaction, bonds are formed between carbohydrates and proteins and these bonds create molecules that are toxic for the organism, which are called "AGEs" for "Advanced Glycation End Products".

In cosmetics, many cosmetic brands deal with this problem called "glycation". Toxic molecules, AGEs, are formed by exposure to UV rays and will create irreversible damage to the skin. Fortunately, the skin has endogenous mechanisms that protect it against UV exposure or aggressions in general. These mechanisms are notably regulated by zinc.

The demonstration is extremely simple: we take cells and expose them to UV light, which will produce these toxic molecules, the AGEs. If we add increasing concentrations of zinc, we see that the quantity of these toxic molecules decreases. 

This is the in vitro demonstration of the decrease of glycation in cells exposed to UV or other pollutant stresses by zinc. But zinc also has other protective functions. In the cell exposed to UV light, there is a certain amount of DNA damage. 

As is often the case, mechanisms endogenous to the skin will naturally protect it from these degradations. DNA is repaired, destroyed by UV rays, and permanently repaired again thanks to proteins called "stress proteins". These proteins are metal proteases, which means that they only work in the presence of a metal, in this case zinc. This is one of the main ways to protect against DNA damage. 

Finally, zinc is involved in the repair of another skin problem, acne. Acne is not only due to oily skin, it is mainly caused by a bacterium, proprionobacterium acnes. This bacterium has the property to develop in an anaerobic environment, that is to say in the absence of oxygen. Acne is a phenomenon that occurs in several phases:

- the first is an excess of sebum that will fill the pores,

- the second phase, it is an excess of keratin which will come to block these pores - and under these conditions this bacteria can develop, create an ignition and a button.

Zinc is an anti-bacterial that fights against this bacteria. In cases of severe acne, treatment with zinc alone can produce spectacular results. No medication, only cosmetics with zinc: you see that the effect on acne can be spectacular.


Magnesium is known because when we are stressed, the doctor often prescribes a magnesium cure to boost ourselves. This recovered energy is due to the property of magnesium to stimulate the production in our cells of a molecule called ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate). This molecule stores energy in our cells and releases it according to our needs. Magnesium is found in large quantities in a very beautiful stone used in jewelry, called peridot. The peridot is solubilized, the magnesium is extracted, stabilized and finally introduced in our cosmetic products. There is a little less in opal, red jasper and garnet.

Concerning its mechanism of action, the mitochondrion, a small organelle present in all cells, is in charge of energy production. To do this, the mitochondrion transforms glucose into ATP, which serves as an energy reserve. 

Glucose is transported to the cells and, in a process called glycogenesis, is transformed into ATP in the mitochondria. At different stages of this production, magnesium intervenes to activate the production of ATP. This can be demonstrated by measuring ATP concentrations in the absence or presence of increasing concentrations of magnesium. 

The increase in cellular ATP also has a direct consequence: the increase of oxygen consumption by the cells. So, with magnesium, it is possible to improve cellular respiration. So you see that a trace element can improve both energy and cellular respiration. It is therefore a powerful cellular energizer. Magnesium is also able to protect cells against induced aging. To demonstrate this, cells are exposed to a toxic substance, FCCP, which induces premature aging up to cell death.

If we put this toxic substance in the presence of magnesium, cell death is reduced. Therefore, magnesium is also a powerful anti-aging agent.


To scan the spectrum of what can be done in cosmetics with trace elements, let's look at the action of silicon. It is present in large quantities in many stones, it is a fairly common component of minerals such as moonstone, jade, white and red quartz, amethyst, lapis lazulis, opal. It is found in lower concentrations in garnet, citrine or red jasper. Silicon is known for its hydrating properties.

You know that there is a molecule unanimously used in cosmetic products, all brands included, which is hyaluronic acid. This molecule is a powerful moisturizer. It will capture and retain the water present in the dermis. With silicon, we will moisturize, not by providing hyaluronic acid topically, but by stimulating the natural production of hyaluronic acid by our skin. Even at low concentrations, silicon increases the skin's ability to produce hyaluronic acid and therefore to moisturize.


How do you know how many trace elements your client's skin contains and if she has any deficiencies? To do this, we work with a company that has created an extraordinary device, the "Oligocheck", capable of measuring the levels of trace elements in the skin by spectrophotometry in one minute. This is the first time in the world of cosmetics that a direct link is made between molecules present in the skin and a product prescribed to supplement the skin with these molecules. Thus, thanks to this device, you will be able to measure in one minute the concentration of trace elements in your client's skin and prescribe the appropriate products.


Trace elements have become key active ingredients in the formulation of cosmetic products: - in anti-aging products, we tend to use iron and magnesium, - for dry skin, silicon, - for sensitive skin, zinc to repair, - and for combination skin, zinc and chromium.

Written by Dr. Jean-Claude Bozou

Discover other beauty and well-being tips in the article "Mineral cosmetics: THE FUTURE OF BEAUTY".

To learn more, go to - and meet our Beauty Expert to discover the best natural and Made in France daily routine adapted to your needs.