When, in July 1911, a professor from the University of Yale, Hiram Bingham, stood before the spectacular ruins of a city in the Peruvian Andes, he thought he had found the legendary lost city of the Incas, called Vilcabamba. In front of Bingham, however, there was not Vilcabamba but Machu Picchu, which still fascinates travelers with its ancient walls and the mysteries that speak of secret rooms and hidden treasures. But the Incas are not only mysterious cities that contain gold and silver, in fact, another treasure has arrived to us from the Incas, a treasure... of beauty. We are talking about mother of pearl powder, which, nowadays, you can easily buy in specialized stores or online. The Incas collected the shells from the Pacific Ocean and crushed the mother of pearl inside the shell to obtain a powder that they add to their cosmetics. But is this just a baseless habit? Based on scientific researches, it looks like that there’s a lot more.
Mother of pearl powder, a jewel that becomes cosmetic
Nacre, or mother of pearl, powder, called in Spanish concha de nacar, is really beneficial for the skin, according to various scientific researches. In fact, this powder is antioxidant, nourishing, tonic, fights aging processes, stimulates skin cell regeneration and wound healing (Li YC et al, Pharm Biol, 2013 - Chen et al, Drug Dev Ind Pharm, 2019). It has been observed that the nacre powder in contact with the skin has been able to stimulate the activity of fibroplasts, which are skin cells, by increasing the production of collagen (Lopez et al, Tissue Cell, 2000). Therefore, nacre powder is useful in case of mature skin with wrinkles, but also scars and spots, helps to illuminate the skin and is smoothing (Agarwal et al, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2014). Let's see now how to exploit the properties of the mother of pearl.
Mother of pearl powder, applications
The Incas used to mix mother of pearl powder with lemon juice and apply this lotion on the skin to speed up wound healing and reduce scars. You can mix 2 tablespoons of yogurt, half a teaspoon of mother-of-pearl powder and, if you have mature skin, half a teaspoon of honey, otherwise, for acne-prone or oily skin, a teaspoon of lemon juice. Massage on clean face for one minute, then leave on for ten minutes, finally rinse. In addition to this, you can prepare an anti-aging serum by adding a pinch of mother-of-pearl powder to argan oil and apply a few drops in the evening on a damp face. For an even more antioxidant and anti-fatigue effect, you can also mix the prickly pear oil.