Did you know that iron deficiency affects up to 20% of women in the United States, especially in women of color. Not only does this impact our overall health but the toll it takes on the skin is deserves way more attention than this condition receives. Iron plays a key role in both oxidative stress and photo-induced skin damage- two major contributors to aging as well as skin cancer.
Iron is a vital co-factor for proteins and enzymes involved in energy metabolism, respiration, DNA synthesis, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Historically, it has long been known that iron is essential for healthy skin, mucous membranes, hair and nails. But did you know the key role Iron plays in skin wound healing? Iron deficiency is a key factor in predispositions to skin infection, angular chelitis (severely cracked corners of lips) fragile nails and brittle hair. It also plays a key role in the production of collagen.
We lose iron through shedding of the skin, so knowing that Iron content can be measured in the skin, this helps us understand the key connection to lack of iron and health of the skin. Iron is also a major factor when it comes to wound healing. Something as simple a pimple can evolve into a disaster if your skin isn't up to the task of healing itself correctly and efficiently.
There is some promising data out now that shows ingredients like Kojic Acid acts as a Iron chelator. Topical application of iron chelators reduces redness, epidermal and dermal hypertrophy, and wrinkle formation. It has been proposed that iron chelators can be useful agents against damaging effects of both short- and long-term UV exposure. Chelators act like envelopes and bind around iron both on your skin and in the products you use, to prevent and over abundance of iron which can lead to photoaging and more.
So not only do we need to increase our ingestion of iron through a healthy, well-rounded diet but we also need to help bolster our skin's ability to to deal with the excretion of iron through our natural exfoliation processes and the products we are using topically.
Look for ingredients like:
Tetrasodium EDTA and tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine. EDTA complex is most common because of its broad effectiveness and compatibility with most cosmetic ingredients.
These are just a few examples of ingredients you can look for to make sure you're taking the best care of your skin as possible. Because your face is the biggest part of your personal brand and having the knowledge to take the best care of it, is the least we can do to help you get the skin you deserve,