Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic Medicine both have a long tradition of applying minerals topically for facial brightening and improving facial glow. Facial dullness and dark spots are thought to develop from a variety of causes per these healing modalities:
Qi stagnation (TCM): Stress or inactivity causes diminished circulation to the skin and the pooling of fluids. In this case, face spots tend to be light yellow to light brown.
Qi deficiency (TCM): Fatigue and slow digestion lead to skin undernourishment. With qi deficiency, face spots are typically light brown.
Yin deficiency (TCM): Lack of moisture and lubrication can lead to dry withered skin with dark facial spotting.
Yang deficiency (TCM): Lack of internal warmth can cause skin that feels cold to the touch, and coldness causes our facial fluids to stagnate. With yang deficiency, face spots are dark bluish.
Excess in pitta (Ayurveda): The pitta dosha is responsible for metabolic activity in the skin. Darker pigmentation develops when pitta is out of balance in our pigment producing cells.
Excess in vata (Ayurveda): The vata dosha is responsible for dryness and motion. When vata is out of balance, this leads to more sun sensitivity and there is an increased transfer of pigment from the pigment producing cells to the surrounding cells, leading to the formation of sunspots.
Pearl powder is one mineral that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine for thousands of years to diminish skin pigmentation and rejuvenate the skin. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pearl powder is known as Zhen Zhu or Zhen Zhu Mu.
Pearl powder contains calcium carbonate, magnesium, copper, iron, leucine, methionine, alanine, glycine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and amino acids. When tested in skin cells known as fibroblasts, pearl powder increased collagen production in those fibroblasts. Other researchers have studied several different pearl powder preparations and found that they had both moisturizing and skin brightening properties.
DIY Pearl Powder Face Mask
1/4 teaspoon pearl powder
1/4 teaspoon honey
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Add enough fresh squeezed lemon juice to the pearl powder and honey to make a paste. Apply the mask to the areas of your face that have discoloration or dark spots.
Skin brightening requires repeated applications over 3 to 6 months to see noticeable results. For best results, try applying the mask 2 to 3 times per week over multiple months.
For fun, try taking pictures before you start the skin brightening treatments, then again at 3 and 6 months to see the difference!
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