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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1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Dermalogica MediBac Overnight Clearing 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 over drying. Unlike other gel skin-care formulas, Breakout Control absorbs super quickly, so you can easily apply it under makeup for daytime.
4. Face n’ Earth Facial Toner
This vegan-friendly facial toner 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.