The Pearl has long been a symbol of purity and perfection, highly prized for its lustre and iridescent beauty. Throughout the world it is principally valued as a highly desirable pieces of jewellery, worn by the wealthy and nobility throughout the world to symbolise their wealth.
However, in the East, especially in China, natural pearls, has also been crushed and used as a cosmetic powder for over 2000 years where it is believed to have effective anti-ageing properties. This practice was common amongst the wealthy in an effort to improve their complexion and enhance their beauty.
Nacre is the substance which lines the oyster shell and is the main component of the natural pearl. It is the amino acids contained in the nacre that is believed to contain the anti-ageing and rejuvenating properties. Nacre is made up of 100% calcium, carbonate and conchiolin which is the substance produced by the oyster to protect itself when an invasion occurs. Identified in the nacre are numerous amino acids which scientific research has shown helps to renew and maintain healthy human cells, has the ability to heal, refine dull and coarsened skin and stimulate the metabolic activity, of DNA and RNA.
Traditionally in China natural pearls were used to produce the cosmetic powders. However, today natural pearls are a rare commodity and on the odd occasions it is found, it is highly prized and reserved for the jewellery industry, therefore another source had to be found. The natural alternative is then fresh-water pearl which is in plentiful supply. Although in the cosmetics industry it is not considered to be of a sufficiently high quality and in the absence of another alternative worth considering, it was decided to undertake the process known as hydrolyzing to improve the quality.
This process involves the breaking down of the proteins found in fresh-water pearls into its various constituents, a process which in fact brought about an unexpected results, in that the components of the resulting amino acids is said to be more easily absorbed by the skin, therefore able to bring about more effective outcomes.
Numerous scientific studies are currently underway in the modern cosmetics industry and scientists have been searching for the past ten years, for scientific proof of the anti-aging effects of pearl extract on the skin, in an effort to underpin the mountains of anecdotal evidence which presently exist. However, it seems that breakthrough is on the horizon with recent reports from the scientific community to suggest that researchers have isolated the specific amino acids contained in nacre, considered most affective in rejuvenating and revitalising the skin.
Research is continuing and there are hopes of launching a newly developed ‘high-end’ pearl containing cosmetic line, within the next year or two. It is worth noting however, that brands of cosmetic said to be containing pearls are currently being marketed in South America, Hong Kong, France and Polynesia. At one time it was also available in the North American market and subsequently withdrawn. However, a re-launch is believed to be currently under consideration.
Cosmetologists are developing pearl containing lotions and potions to brighten and whiten the skin, creams to smooth and firm the wrinkles away skin, Ointments and topical applications to reduce and regulate pigmentation, scarring, acne and blemishes. Skin care companies are also beginning to combine pearls with age old herbal remedies such as gingko and green teas, also vitamins A, C &E in an effort to add potency and heighten effectiveness.
Millions are spent each year by the cosmetics industry in search of ‘THE’ next big thing that can be bottled and sold with the promise of eternal youth, no doubt millions more will be spent in the future trying to satisfy that quest.