Pearl is the antioxidant-packed way to hydrate and brighten skin all at once


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Photo: Getty Images/katleho Seisa

There are plenty of glamorous ingredients finding their way into our skin-care routines of late, with gold-flecked face masks and diamond-infused body washes doing their part to make us all feel like a million bucks. And one skin-saving gem in particular seems to have migrated from our necks and earlobes into our serums thanks to its numerous beauty-boosting benefits.

Pearl has been used in traditional skin-care treatments in Asia, dating back for centuries. Charlotte Cho, a K-beauty expert and Soko Glam founder, attributes this to the active properties in the gem, which keep the skin acidic to help slow the aging process, while simultaneously keeping it hydrated and firm. As of late, pearl has made its way into Western skin care, and we’ve seen it popping up in our products more and more—for good reason.

‘”Pearl extract’ or ‘pearl powder’ is rich in amino acids and trace minerals that are highly moisturizing, soothing, and brightening,” says Cho. “Pearl is great for dry and sensitive skin types and for those looking for anti-aging ingredients. With a high concentration of antioxidants, pearl helps to protect skin against free-radicals.” In other words, diamonds may get all the credit, but what you really want is to shine bright like a pearl. 

Dermatopathologist Gretchen Frieling, MD, points out that it can also function as a rich exfoliant. “Crushed pearls help polish the skin by providing a gentle-but-effective material with which to remove dead skin cells,” she explains, adding that pearl is a great way to physically exfoliate. “Many believe pearl to be essential in hydrating the skin and helping it maintain its moisture, which is why it is used in products geared for dry or flaky skin,” says Dr. Frieling.

According to Audrey Kunin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dermadoctor, any skin type can benefit from its moisturizing and brightening properties. If you plan to integrate pearl into your own routine (as an ingredient, not as an accessory), you’ll want to be sure to pair it with an extra dose of hydration. “If you are using pearls as an ingredient in exfoliators, cleansers, or sheet masks it is important that you moisturize the skin,” says Frieling, who adds that drinking water and of course, using sunscreen, will help you maintain the benefits it brings.

While investing in a pearl necklace or a pair of gorgeous pearl might be a purchase reserved for later in life, consider adding one of these (far more affordable) pearl skin-care products.

Another k-beauty ingredient we’ve been obsessing over? Cica, which is your secret for treating skin redness. Plus, the ingredients worth splurging on (and the ones it’s totally ok to buy at the drugstore).

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