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Benefits of Mineral Powders

reprinted with permission by Jane Iredale

Mineral Powders came of age at the same time that lasers began to be used for skin resurfacing. Their use by plastic surgeons and skin care specialists on patients in the post-operative period considerably eased the difficulty of concealing post-surgical erythema. Camouflage was accomplished quickly with a sponge or brush without long training periods. The minerals stayed in place from morning to night, helped to calm the itching and burning and could be removed with any cleanser. Just as importantly, they looked sheer and natural and allowed patients to return to normal life as soon as they could apply them.

Soon, a significant number of physicians and aestheticians reported seeing improvements in their acne and rosacea patients' skins who used mineral powders regularly. They were also a boon to those who suffered from sensitivities related to chemical ingredients. And, the powder's ability to provide broad-spectrum sun protection added to their long list of advantages.

Before the application of mineral cosmetics.

With the application of Jane Iredale mineral cosmetics, her skin looks beautiful and virtually flawless.


Why is a thin layer of micronized minerals so effective? Typically, the ingredients in a mineral powder comprise titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, bismuth oxychloride and iron oxides. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are anti-inflamatories and, therefore, aid the skin in its healing process. Zinc oxide is also an anti-microbial. Iron oxides add inorganic color with none of the problems of petroleum-derived dyes (FD&C or D&C). These dyes are frequently comedogenic and they are in the top three of sensitivity-causing ingredients in cosmetics. Completing the top three are perfume and chemical preservatives, neither of which should be in a good mineral makeup.

Before the application of mineral cosmetics.

With the application of Jane Iredale mineral cosmetics, her skin appears radiant and refined.


Mineral powders also do not contain fillers, which results in exceptional coverage. Although, mineral powders were not designed for camouflage, the fact that they are pure pigment means that with very little product they quickly and effectively cover almost any skin distraction while giving the illusion of healthy, clear skin. Minerals powders are used to cover evidence of facial surgery, hyperpigmentation, Port Wine stains, rosacea, acne and many other skin discolorations. They are also used by burn survivors and actors. The whole cast of As the World Turns performs in a mineral makeup base!

Perhaps one of the minerals' most important assets is their ability to provide broad-spectrum (UVB and UVA) protection and an SPF as high as 20. The previously mentioned titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are both listed as active ingredients in the new FDA monograph and act as reflectors and refractors of the sun's rays. They are especially useful on skin that has been compromised and might be sensitive to chemical sunscreens.

Dr. Nicholas J. Lowe and Dr. Josia Friedlander both from the Skin Research Foundation of California said in their book Sunscreens: Development, Evaluation, and Regulatory Aspects: A new subclass of physical blockers, micronized reflecting powders, have more recently been made available from a variety of manufacturers. Unlike traditional physical blockers, micronized reflecting powders are less visible, yet provide broad-spectrum protection against UVR. These should prove useful in UVR-sensitive patients resistant to older physical blockers for cosmetic reasons. An additional benefit is that they do not cause photosensitization.

These sunscreen abilities are more important than ever with the popularity of microdermabrasion. Microdermabrading the skin benefits it in a number of ways, but also leaves it temporarily reddened and certainly more vulnerable to UV damage. The minerals can be applied immediately after a procedure, completely concealing and helping to calm the temporary redness as well as providing the skin with all-important sun protection. Some physicians may still want their patients to use a separate sunscreen even though certain foundations may contain a SPF factor.

Mineral powders can also be helpful to those using AHA's. The FDA has AHA's as number one on their priority list for the cosmetic industry this year. Their main concern is the increasing sun sensitivity caused by their use.

What is the ideal way to apply minerals to the desired coverage and protection? We recommend using a brush for loose or pressed powders. The better the brush the better the application will be. Pick up a small amount of powder and use a receptacle to work it into the brush so it is evenly distributed. Begin on the area of the face that needs the most coverage and work in short, downward strokes. Four brush-loads should be enough to cover the whole face. If more coverage is needed, add another layer. It is better to layer than to try to cover everything at once since the most common mistake on first working with the minerals is to apply too much.

However, once the technique is learned, mineral powders are a versatile tool for everyone involved in caring for the skin.

Reprinted with permission.


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