Ingredient of the Month: Healing Hydrogen

This skincare superstar is making a splash with customers seeking the Fountain of Youth.

In case you were cutting chemistry class, hydrogen is the element on the periodic table that touts the smallest molecular weight and impressively comprises nearly 75 percent of all the matter in the universe. Recently, it’s been gaining attention for flooding the shelves of beauty stores.

Hydrogen, also commonly referred to as molecular hydrogen (H2), has been widely used in Japanese healing rituals for decades. Shin’nooru, the body-benefitting practice of ingesting and bathing in hydrogen-infused water, has been making big waves in the skincare and wellness markets, with equally big promises to reduce wrinkles and other skin concerns due to its antiaging, anti-inflammatory and therapeutic benefits. Here, we delve into the science behind this all-pervading element and show you how your customers can receive its antiaging benefits.

BACK TO BASICS
Water is mainly comprised of hydrogen, a flammable, colorless and odorless gas. And water is hydrogen combined with oxygen, hence the proverbial H2O. Abundant in Korean-beauty-inspired water creams, hydrogen is a surprisingly effective antiaging ingredient, one that has all the proven, potent and enduring antiaging benefits of retinol–but without the irritation that many experience from the intensity of a retinoid application. This gives molecular hydrogen the distinction of being suitable for sensitive skin types, especially those seeking to quench their dehydrated complexions. For all these reasons, hydrogen, as a beauty ingredient, delivers results.

Last year, a study published in the Journal of Photochemistry showed that subjects that bathed daily in a hydrogen-imbued bath for three months reported a significant, visible reduction in neck wrinkles. In another study, human fibroblasts (the elastin-like cells responsible for collagen production that give complexions a plump, youthful dewiness) damaged from UV rays were clinically shown to double following a soak in hydrogen for three consecutive days. The application of molecular hydrogen appears to help improve skin elasticity and firmness, resulting in a more renewed, rejuvenated appearance.

According to American dermatologist, nutritionist and brand founder Dr. Nicholas Perricone, of the renowned Perricone MD skincare line, “Hydrogen works by positively affecting gene regulation, gene expression and silencing negative genes ... It’s a very clever molecule because its powerful anti-inflammatory superpowers target and neutralize inflammation-causing free radicals, which are caused by stress, lack of sleep, pollution and UVA and UVB rays.”

The application of molecular hydrogen appears to help improve skin elasticity and firmness, resulting in a more renewed, rejuvenated appearance.

MAGICAL MOLECULE
Hydrogen’s modest molecular size allows it to easily penetrate the skin’s deepest dermal layers and pass through the mitochondria (the cell’s energy center) where critical DNA is stored. Once there, it’s able to neutralize free radicals and oxidative stress, and helps reverse the signs of aging. Plus, hydrogen has a unique “messenger” capability to encourage all cells in the body to produce antioxidants that counter damaging free radicals. So, metaphorically speaking, your body becomes a conveyor belt of sorts, pumping out antiaging antioxidants.

In a study conducted by the Molecular Hydrogen Foundation, subjects with sunburns were divided into two control groups. One group was bathed in tap water; the other in hydrogen-infused water. The group submerged in the hydrogen water showed considerably lower instances of skin damage and lower inflammatory responses to UV-exposed skin than the group bathed in tap water. Additionally, the group bathed in hydrogen water showed increased levels of the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase, lowered inflammatory cytokines and virtually no structural changes to the skin. The findings suggest that in addition to antiaging effects, hydrogen water may also provide protection against UV-induced skin damage.

PREP YOUR STORE FOR SUCCESS
When stocking antiaging skincare products containing hydrogen, consider the following as your best beauty bets to suggest to clients; Hydrogen is primarily found in water creams, serums, masks, firming and brightening ampoules, eye gels and hydrating facial mists. These product picks are ideal for those with normal or combination skin or for customers who don’t care for thick, oil-laden creams and desire nourishing, long-lasting hydration. Due to the ingredient’s ability to activate surface cells on the skin, those with tired-looking complexions can experience a beauty boost with regimented use, too.

The key is to keep your offerings vast and versatile to meet most individuals’ needs and desires. While one client may be looking to smooth fine lines with a daily dose of a hydrating cream, another may be seeking to ingest hydrogen–yes, ingest. While they are not as common as topical formulations, hydrogen-imbued oral supplements, dissolving tablets and inhalation devices that leave the skin looking more youthful are all available and are potential offerings you may want to consider. Whether the hydrogen-infused products are for topical or internal use, one thing’s for sure: They’re all worth their weight in water!