Electrolytes and Minerals - Les Nouvelles Esthétiques & Spa
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Electrolytes and Minerals

See why these ingredients are making a splash in skincare!

We all learned in skin sciences that the body is made of 70 percent of water and that the skin is the largest organ of the body, despite many of our daily activities resulting in dehydration far more than hydration. Whether it be a robust HIIT workout, a long night out, or a round of sickness, we all know the importance of getting electrolytes back into the body. When skin is lacking in electrolytes, it can begin to look and feel depleted. Maintaining the proper fluid balance across cells is one of the main functions of electrolyte-based products. By adding in skincare products that include these workhorse ingredients, one can see improvement in aging, hydration, and overall glow. And let’s face it, who isn’t looking to turn back time and look well-rested?

What exactly are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are ions that carry a slight electrical charge, which are catalysts for processes throughout the body. These processes can range from nervous system function, fluid balance, muscle function, and pH level maintenance, to name a few. Electrolytes differ from minerals because they are attracted to and attract the magnetic ends of water molecules. Most electrolytes are also minerals; however, not all minerals are necessarily electrolytes.

By adding in skincare products that include these workhorse ingredients, one can see improvement in aging, hydration, and overall glow.

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Sodium and Chloride

Sodium and chloride are the two most notable electrolytes, with essential roles throughout the body. When combined, these create what is commonly known as table salt. Sodium alone is mainly responsible for fluid balance. However, when combined with chlorine, it becomes an ionic compound that attracts water and helps in the absorption of other nutrients. When added to skincare, this brings the water found in the body to the surface and works as a vehicle to transport other ingredients into the skin.

Typically, in skincare, you see chloride mentioned more notably in ingredients because it is not commonly found in the diet. Sodium is found in almost every food and is the largest component of the extracellular fluid, which is the fluid outside of cells making up 60 percent of the water in the body.


Potassium is also important in fluid balance and nerve transmission. It is commonly found in dietary sources such as leafy greens, bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados. Potassium is the primary electrolyte found in the intracellular fluid, the fluid inside the cells, which makes up 40 percent of the total water found in one’s body. The balance of fluid to electrolytes in your cells, or osmolality, is primarily driven by the balance of potassium and the previously mentioned sodium. Combined, they are the reason water is drawn in or out of areas that are not balanced. Potassium is used not only to attract moisture to one’s skin but also to balance the pH of many skincare products.


This is another vital electrolyte that plays an important part in maintaining the moisture level within the cells. Calcium has long been praised for being responsible for healthy bones and teeth, but it also plays an integral role in influencing new cells. Within the proliferating layers of skin, there is a calcium gradient that determines the strength of the barrier (protective) function of the skin and how quickly new cells are generated. Calcium is found not only in dairy items but in green leafy vegetables, nuts, and certain seeds.


This electrolyte is the real powerhouse for the skin. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions within our bodies. Most processes in our body cannot happen without magnesium, yet we are commonly deficient. Magnesium can reduce skin inflammation by stabilizing hormonal levels, cortisol, and improving cellular processes by helping to generate cellular energy. Magnesium is essential for amino acid and protein synthesis that produces notable proteins such as collagen. Natural magnesium sources include dark chocolate, whole grains, and fatty fish.

Other Minerals

As previously stated, most electrolytes are minerals, but all minerals are not electrolytes. However, there are a few that deserve praise. Zinc is a trace mineral that does a lot for the skin by simply being a natural anti-inflammatory. Zinc is used by the body for wound healing, immune system response, and helps to make protein. This also explains why the skin happens to be the third most zinc abundant tissue in the body. The body does not store zinc, so it is important to reach the daily requirement each day. Natural sources of zinc include red meat, legumes, and dairy. Copper and manganese are also minerals that are important for skin health. They are a part of many different enzyme reactions and help with collagen formation as well as wound healing.

Dry vs. Dehydrated

Electrolytes and minerals are depleted in various ways, and the most common is through sweat. There are between 2 to 5 million sweat glands on the human body. In one square inch of skin, there are 650 sweat glands alone. Sweating causes us to lose mainly potassium and sodium, but it is not the only way to lose electrolytes and minerals. Any rapid form of water loss causes an imbalance. Your skin will tell you if you’re dehydrated, but so will your body. Determining if the skin is dry or dehydrated is always a debate between estheticians and their clients. Dry can be solved with a good moisturizer, dehydrated is a little more complicated and involves replenishing electrolytes, minerals, and moisture. When the skin lacks essential electrolytes and minerals, it enters an inflammatory state that can speed up the aging process.

Electrolytes and Mineral-Infused Skincare

With advances in skincare ingredients, we are seeing more and more products that tout to be the next big thing to improve our skin’s hydration. Hyaluronic acid is one good supplement to help hydrate skin but is not the only thing that can hydrate and draw the skin’s water to the surface. Incorporating electrolyte and mineral-infused skincare into retail sales as well as back bar products will become increasingly more accessible as more products are created. Many different brands are already using the moisture boosting ingredients in night creams and serums.

However, skin health starts from the inside out, so it is always important to coach clients on eating healthier foods and drinking more water. Eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water is the best way to maintain the skin’s barrier function and moisture level. There is not one “magic” electrolyte or mineral that leads to healthy skin. However, it is essential to maintain the right balance of all electrolytes and minerals to promote healthy, younger-looking skin.