Woman applying mask on face in bathroom

You probably already know that your skin needs certain vitamins in order to thrive, but did you know that there are some minerals out there that are just as important? 

From zinc to selenium to silica, here are six minerals that will help to give your skin a beautiful, radiant glow. 

Zinc

Zinc is probably one of the most important minerals to be aware of when it comes to the health of your skin. 

What makes zinc so important? 

The fact that it is required for everything from growth to metabolism. Not only that, but this is one of the most common mineral deficiencies that people have, meaning that more awareness is needed when it comes to the importance of zinc. 

Wondering what zinc actually does for the skin? 

For starters, it is absolutely key when it comes to skin healing. This not only applies to injuries caused by wounds, but also other forms of skin damage, whether this may be due to sun exposure, pollution or anything else. 

When it comes to the amount of sebum that your skin produces, zinc is involved in this process too…

It not only controls the amount of oil that your oil glands release, but also helps to control some of the hormones that are directly linked to oil production. This makes zinc a game-changer for those dealing with excessively oily skin and frequent acne breakouts.

Zinc also works as an antioxidant. 

What does this mean? 

Well, antioxidants are key when it comes to keeping your skin youthful and healthy. Everything from the environment around you to the cosmetic products you use cause free radicals to form in the body. These free radicals accelerate the skin aging process by causing some serious damage to your skin cells, including the DNA that lies deep within each skin cell. Free radicals also degrade the collagen and elastin in your skin, leaving you more susceptible to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. 

This is where antioxidants come in…

Antioxidants are really the only way to neutralize free radicals. They do this by providing free radicals with an extra electron, therefore turning those free radicals into normal molecules that don’t cause any damage. 

Need another reason to add more zinc into your life? 

This mineral also protects the skin from UV damage. This is why you will find zinc oxide in many sunscreens, as this ingredient has the power to reflect away both UVA and UVB rays.

While zinc is now being formulated into more and more skin care products, this is a mineral that is also easy to obtain through your diet. Common sources include: 

  • Nuts, especially Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts 
  • Rice
  • Barley 
  • Sunflower and sesame seeds 
  • Cooked dried beans 
  • Olives 
  • Sea vegetables 

If you want to use nuts, grains and seeds to up your zinc consumption, make sure that you soak them in water overnight before you cook or consume them. 

Why? 

Because this enables them to release their phytic acid, which would have otherwise prevented the zinc from being properly absorbed by your body. 

Selenium

In addition to being a mineral, selenium is also a powerful antioxidant. As mentioned above, antioxidants are vital when it comes to protecting skin cells from free radical damage, preventing skin aging. 

The fact that selenium also prevents oxidative stress helps with this too, as oxidative stress also quickly leads to accelerated skin aging. 

One of the other main benefits of selenium is its anti-inflammatory properties. 

This is another way in which selenium helps to prevent skin aging, since inflammation is one of the biggest causes of aging. The mineral’s anti-inflammatory powers also extend to minimizing the production of cytokines. 

Wondering what cytokines are? 

They are inflammatory molecules that cause quite a bit of damage to skin cells. They are also believed to be linked with skin cancer, which is why selenium has been shown to have some anti-cancer benefits too. 

In addition to using selenium topically on your skin, you could also try seeking out more selenium-rich foods, such as: 

Magnesium

Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 of the biochemical reactions that take place in the body, doing everything from keeping the heart healthy to assisting the digestive process. 

Keeping that in mind, it will probably come as a surprise to you to learn that about 80% of the population is actually deficient in magnesium. 

Wondering why magnesium deficiencies are so common? 

There are a number of reasons behind this, but many believe that the increase in the deficiency is due to the way that the planet’s soil now contains much less magnesium than it used to, due to over-farming. This means that the food that you eat, whether it be plant-based or animal-based, will also contain less magnesium than it would have several decades ago.

You already know why magnesium is so important for your overall health, but you are probably now wondering exactly how magnesium affects your skin…

Well, do you ever experience acne, or any other skin problems, when you are stressed? 

This is common, and it is due to the cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone, that your body releases during times of stress. Cortisol then has the effect of increasing oil production, which leads to acne breakouts. However, it also has a number of other detrimental effects, including damaging your skin’s collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles. 

Infographic on how cortisol affects the body

Some people, along with their skin, are able to deal with stress much better than others, and this could all be down to magnesium…

Whenever your body releases cortisol, your kidneys then release magnesium. The magnesium helps to suppress the harmful effects that cortisol can have, preventing the hormone from causing any damage to your skin. 

While there are quite a few skin care products out there that contain magnesium, you may experience better results if you either take a magnesium supplement, or try increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods. 

Some good dietary sources of magnesium include: 

  • Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, Swiss chard and kale 
  • Spirulina and seaweed 
  • Oily fish, such as sardines and mackerel 
  • Avocado 
  • Bananas 
  • Nuts and seeds 

Sulfur

Did you know that sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in the human body? It comes third to calcium and phosphorus, but has a much bigger impact on the skin than the other two.

How? 

Well, sulfur is what creates the amino acids that make up the structure of your skin cells. It is key when it comes to the production of both collagen and keratin. 

As you probably already know, collagen is the main structural protein that gives your skin its smoothness and firmness. This is a protein that the skin naturally produces itself, but the rate at which it does so declines with age. This is why the skin takes on a more wrinkled appearance once collagen production starts to decline. 

What about keratin? 

Keratin not only forms a part of your skin’s natural protective barrier, but it also enables your skin cells to adhere to each other. This is so important when it comes to keeping the skin soft, smooth and supple. 

However, that’s not all that sulfur does…

Studies have shown that this mineral also helps the skin to shed any excess skin cells. Insufficient skin shedding is the cause of many skin problems. It means that dead skin cells end up building up on the surface of the skin, clogging up the pores and creating the ideal environment for bacteria to multiply. 

The way in which sulfur helps the skin with this natural process means that this mineral is often recommended to people suffering from the following skin concerns: 

  • Acne 
  • Eczema 
  • Dermatitis 
  • Rosacea 
  • Skin aging 

Wondering if there is a way in which you can consume more sulfur through your diet? 

Yes, definitely. The foods that you need to be eating more of include: 

  • Eggs
  • Animal proteins from high quality sources 
  • Fish 
  • Brussel sprouts 

You will also find many skin care products that contain sulfur too if you would prefer to use this mineral topically. 

Silica

Silica, which is also known as silicon, is a trace mineral that is so important when it comes to the health of your skin. 

Not only is it responsible for everything from the strength of your cartilage and connective tissues, but it also plays a huge role in skin elasticity. 

You already know about collagen being key to your skin’s firmness and smoothness…

Well, silica sits within collagen, working in a similar way to a glue. It gives the collagen, and therefore your skin, its flexibility and resilience, allowing it to bend and bounce back. 

It also helps to create bonds between the collagen molecules, as well as the other protein molecules, in your skin. This then means that your skin will be better able to retain moisture, which is important for a number of your skin’s processes. 

If all of that was not enough…

Silica is also a natural anti-inflammatory. 

It can help to treat certain inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. The way in which it keeps the other minerals in your body properly balanced helps with this too. 

Even if you are just seeking an extra glow to your skin, silica could be your answer…

Silica is great for carrying oxygen, meaning that it can increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to your skin cells. In fact, with the optimum amount of silica in your blood, your red blood cells will be able to carry 20% more oxygen.

By giving your skin the extra oxygen and nutrients, you will notice a luminescent glow starting to appear from within. 

Just like with collagen, your body naturally produces silica. However, once you reach your 30s, the amount of silica your body produces starts to decline quite drastically, making it important for you to take the extra steps required to keep your body’s silica levels topped up. 

How can you do this? 

By eating more foods that are rich in silica, such as: 

  • Dark leafy greens 
  • Green beans 
  • Leeks 
  • Cucumber 
  • Celery 
  • Asparagus 

Manganese

It is common knowledge that collagen is vital for keeping your skin looking and feeling smooth, firm and youthful. 

There are many ingredients out there that help to boost collagen production, and manganese is a mineral that does this too. 

How exactly does manganese help with collagen production? 

By producing an enzyme called prolidase, which is required for collagen production. 

Manganese is also an important antioxidant. As discussed above, antioxidants are the only way to neutralize harmful free radicals, which would have otherwise led to accelerated skin aging. 

As you can tell from the effects that manganese has on the skin, this mineral is fantastic for anti-aging purposes. Not only does it prevent damage, but it also helps to rebuild your skin’s collagen, giving your skin a more youthful appearance. 

Unlike some of the other minerals on this list, deficiencies in manganese are quite rare. 

However, it can still happen, so make sure that you are consuming plenty of manganese-rich foods, such as: 

  • Nuts, especially pecans and almonds 
  • Brown rice 
  • Legumes and beans, especially pinto beans and lima beans 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Dark leafy greens 
  • Certain fruits, such as acai and pineapple 
  • Dark chocolate

Wondering if you should be taking a manganese supplement? 

You should only do this if you have been confirmed as having a manganese deficiency. Too much manganese can actually be toxic, so you do need to be careful about how much extra manganese you consume. 

There are quite a few different minerals out there, and while some of them don’t play a big role in skin health, others are absolutely crucial. It always pays to have a two-pronged approach when it comes to ensuring that you are nourishing your skin with enough of these minerals – try to use skin care products that have been formulated with them, while also increasing your mineral intake through your diet.