We’re familiar with seeing silver in our jewelry, metallic eyeshadow pigments, and we’ve even stumbled across this precious metal as an ingredient in holistic health supplements at organic grocery stores. But when we think silver in the realm of skin care, those Instagram-famous metallic foiled masks that beauty bloggers and influencers wear in their “casual” selfies may come to mind, but these novelty masks use silver as a decorative accent rather than as an active ingredient with actual skin-enhancing properties.
However, while silver-infused skin-care products are less known in the beauty sector, this unlikely metal is one of beauty’s rising stars. Known for both its anti-aging and anti-acne benefits, colloidal silver (tiny, microscopic silver particles ground up and mixed into a solution) in particular, has been used as an antibacterial agent in hospitals for healing skin infections and even treating wounds since the beginning of the century. Nowadays, brands are beginning to incorporate the ingredient into everyday skin-care products to harness its rejuvenating and antimicrobial benefits.
According to New York–based dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, MD, not only is colloidal silver a great antibacterial, but it has some impressive anti-inflammatory benefits as well, making it an excellent agent for the treatment for hormonal and inflammatory acne, as well as rosacea and inflamed skin. “[It’s] known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, which can calm the irritation associated with acne.” It’s beneficial as a preventative measure as well. According to Gerstner, “pretreating the skin with an antibacterial product can kill the bacteria P. acnes, thus preventing future breakouts.”
Adult acne is a common problem that, frankly, can’t always be treated effectively in the same manner that pubescent teens with raging hormones and wrinkle-free canvases are able to handle. If you’re dealing with acne but also fine lines, texture issues, and dehydration, using common anti-acne treatments like benzyl peroxide may dehydrate your skin and as an unpleasant result, worsen the appearance of fine lines and uneven tone.
Unlike these harsher treatments, silver is an excellent alternative treatment for not only those with adult acne but also sensitive skin types. While retinoids and benzoyl peroxide can help unclog pores and exfoliate the skin, thereby reducing breakouts, they’re also associated with peeling, dryness and irritation, whereas colloidal silver is much gentler on the skin.
While colloidal silver often gets a bad wrap, the dermatologist assures that any risk associated with the ingredient is from excessive consumption in health supplements. In other words, there’s absolutely no risk in applying skin-care products containing it topically. “The only risk of colloidal silver would be large consumption/ingestion of silver containing food supplements. This condition is called argyria and is very rare.”
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Mario Badescu Silver Powder
This silver-infused powder harnesses the acne-fighting powers of silver, penetrating the pores deeply to remove impurities and control oil. This powder formula is designed for acne-prone and oily skin types.
Mario Badescu silver powder, $12 at Nordstrom
Face n Earth Colloidal Silver Organic Cleanser
This vegan-friendly facial cleanser is formulated with antibacterial silver as well as soothing chamomile to prevent irritation and green tea extract to deliver a burst of anti-aging antioxidants.
Face n' Earth colloidal silver cleanser, $17.99 at Amazon
Kocostar Silver Eye Patches
These hydrogel eye patches are infused with platinum silver, niacinamide, and caffeine to help combat inflammation and puffiness. Alternatively, you can apply them to smile lines for smoothing effect.
Kocostar silver eye patches, $34 at Anthropologie
111Skin Anti-Blemish Booster
This triple-threat booster treatment not only targets active breakouts but also works to unclog pores to prevent blackheads and over time is able to fade acne scars.
111Skin anti-blemish booster, $160 at Dermstore
Doctor Babor Calming RX Microsilver Concentrate
While calming is not usually a term associated with acne treatments, this multifunctional Microsilver is packaged in concentrated ampoules to deliver a high-potency burst of colloidal silver as well as vitamin C to combat dullness and texture. It's designed for ultra-dry, irritated skin making it a great addition to your winter skin-care arsenal.
Doctor Babor calming rx microsilver concentrate, $50 at Dermstore
DHC Platinum Silver NanoColloid Cream
This J-beauty brand harnesses the antimicrobial properties of nanocolloid silver (tiny silver particles) in a rich cream formula that hydrates and soothes irritated skin while still fighting breakouts by keeping pore-congesting bacteria at bay.
DHC platinum silver nanocolloid cream, $25.60 at Amazon
Omorovicza Silver Skin Saviour
This multifunctional mask harnesses both the antibacterial and anti-aging benefits of colloidal silver, accelerated by a blend of skin-enhancing ingredients including brightening niacinamide and pore-refining glycolic acid. This mask is ideal for those suffering from stubborn adult acne and anti-aging skin concerns like looming fine lines and dullness.
Omorovicza silver skin saviour, $125 at Nordstrom
BeautyBio Colloidal Silver Collagen Eye Patch
These concentrated anti-aging eye patches work to soothe inflammation and reduce dark circles and thanks to the high concentration of collagen, they give the delicate under-eye region a plumped effect to soften the look of fine lines and crepiness.
BeautyBio colloidal silver collagen eye patch, $40 at Nordstrom
Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie
This restorative cream not only helps control bacteria, but it also targets fine lines and protects the skin against oxidative stress thanks to a blend of silver hydrosol, nourishing vitamin E, and hydrating shea butter.
Argentum apothecary la potion infinie, $180 at Net-a-Porter
Dermalogica Breakout Control Gel
This breakout treatment has a soothing gel formula containing colloidal silver as well as Lactobacillus ferment (a topical probiotic to balance healthy bacteria on the skin), and azelaic acid to help reduce texture without overdrying. Unlike other gel skin-care formulas, Breakout Control absorbs super quickly, so you can easily apply it under makeup for daytime.
Dermalogica breakout control gel, $48 at ULTA
Cor Silver Soap
This under-the-radar cult favorite offers a fuss-free way to cleanse away bacteria, dirt and makeup without overdrying or causing irritation. It contains silver to control oil and kill unhealthy bacteria along with anti-aging antioxidants vitamins A and C to help fade the appearance of dark spots and restore luminosity. Best of all, it has a mild pH level of 72, making it just suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Cor silver soap, $46 at Skinstore
Arcona Mineral Magic Spritz
This revitalizing spray gives the skin a hydrating pick-me-up any time of day. It's infused with colloidal silver to minimize bacteria, antioxidants including green tea and chlorophyll, and PCA to replenish moisture and give the skin a dewy glow.
Acrona mineral magic spritz, $38 at Skinstore
Själ Mineral Kalla Energy Tonic
This silver-infused spray is designed to prep the skin before applying makeup, adding a hint of glow and hydration while delivering a solid dose of anti-inflammatory silver extract and Siberian ginseng to boost circulation.
Sjal mineral kalla energy tonic, $76 at Skinstore
Heritage Store Colloidal Silver Soap
This natural bar cleanser proves that effective skin care doesn't have to be complicated or break the bank. Formulated with colloidal silver to cleanse and control excess oil, it also helps retain balanced moisture levels in the skin with coconut and olive oils.
Heritage Store colloidal silver soap, available at Amazon
Silver Miracles Lip Balm
With winter just around the corner, so too comes dry and cracked lips. While many lip balms can cause reactions to sensitive skin, this moisturizing balm offers hydration without irritation and is even suitable for those suffering with fever blisters and cold sores, thanks to its natural antiseptic properties.
Silver Miracles lip balm, available at Amazon