If you experience dry, brittle hair and nails or dry and wrinkly skin, you know how frustrating these things can be. It’s difficult to keep up a happy, healthy appearance when your hair, skin and nails aren’t at their best.
In order to improve the appearance of these features, you may have been told to take a mineral called silica. Because of its effects on the hair, skin and nails, silica has earned its reputation as “nature’s beauty mineral.” But what exactly is silica? Is it safe? And what can it actually do for your beauty regimen?
Here’s what you should know.
What exactly is silica?
Silica, also known as silicon dioxide, is a naturally found mineral in both the Earth’s crust and in our bodies. It is made up of silicon and oxygen.
Silica can take on many forms and uses. Not only is it present in the body and many food sources, but it is also found in rocks and used in a variety of manufacturing and industrial areas.
Silica can be derived from bamboo, which is the mineral’s most abundant plant-based source. It is also available in a variety of plants and foods, albeit in smaller amounts.
The trace mineral works to maintain healthy connective tissue production in the body—influencing the health of everything from bones and tendons to hair and skin. Silica is one of the major components of collagen, which is necessary for smooth, strong and supple connective tissue. Silica helps rebuild connective tissue after collagen has been damaged.
It also helps maintain adequate mineral levels in the body, which also affects hormone balance. And, it helps your body absorb calcium, leading to healthier and stronger bones.
When we our young, our bodies contain higher amounts of silica, but this mineral is reduced as we age. The older we get, the lower the amount of silica our bodies are able to retain, which is why supplementation may be necessary.
Is silica safe?
Based on recent studies, silica is generally regarded as safe as a food additive and supplement. Excess amounts of silica are not retained by the body—they are actually flushed out by the kidneys through urine.
That being said, if you’re purchasing a silica supplement, it is very important to research the company you’re purchasing it from to ensure there are not harmful additives alongside the mineral and that the company in question has tested its products for safety.
It is also a good idea to discuss silica supplementation with your doctor before beginning.
Silica for beauty
Some of the most commonly touted benefits of silica are focused around hair, skin and nails. This is because of the important role the mineral plays in connective tissue building, as well as its function in maintaining adequate mineral balance.
Silica may be able to improve the look and feel of your skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, lowering inflammation and giving you a more youthful appearance. This ultimately comes down to its effects on collagen.
When collagen is damaged, silica helps rebuild it and keep tissues connected. This provides a lifting and tightening effect on the skin all over your body. Silica may also be able to help the skin retain water, which helps it stay hydrated and healthy, and give it more “bounce” or elasticity.
Finally, it can help transport oxygen and nutrients to the skin and throughout the body, which is necessary for blemish-free, radiant and youthful skin.
Silica does not only help skin, though. It can also have similar effects on your hair and nails, fighting brittle, breaking and splitting hair strands and brittle or peeling nails by strengthening them and improving nutrient and water uptake.
The mineral may also affect hair loss in a positive way. Because it is responsible for hormone balance, it may help fight against hair loss that is rooted in hormone disruption. Additionally, the improvement of circulation of oxygen and nutrients may help stimulate growth on your scalp, slowing the effects of hair thinning.
Other benefits of silica
Aside from benefiting your hair, skin and nails, silica may also have numerous other bodily benefits, such as a decreased risk of osteoporosis and immune system boosting. Silica deficiency can prevent the adequate absorption of calcium in the body, which can lead to decreased bone health and density.
If you’re concerned that you aren’t getting enough silica in your diet, and your hair, skin and nails are suffering the consequences, consider taking a silica supplement to see how it can transform your beauty regimen!