Electrolytes are important elements that play several crucial roles in different body systems. They are of different types, and their roles may vary from one type to the other.
One of the most important electrolytes’ functions is that they maintain the moisture in the skin and prevent skin dryness. Due to these reasons, they are made a part of routine skincare products.
Are you interested to learn more about electrolytes and find how do they really benefit skin health? Then keep reading to find more about it.
- Electrolytes – a General Overview
- How Are Electrolytes Beneficial for the Skincare?
- Why Electrolyte Deficiency Is Harmful for Skincare?
- Types of Electrolyte Deficiency
- How to Diagnose Electrolyte Deficiency and Protect Your Skincare?
- How to Obtain Electrolytes?
- How to Treat Electrolyte Deficiency?
Electrolytes – a General Overview
Electrolytes are the minerals that acquire an electric charge (positive or negative) mixed in a polar solvent such as water. They are found in various body fluids like blood, urine, sweat, etc.
Electrolytes are essential for various metabolic processes and are required for the normal function of body cells and organs. In the body, they play crucial roles in processes like pH regulation, fluid balance, energy conduction, etc.
One of the key roles of electrolytes is that they help the body stay hydrated. Not only that, but they also provide the skin an efficient system for the retention of moisture.
An imbalance in the concentration of electrolytes can disturb such processes and may become life-threatening under certain circumstances. Sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonates are common electrolytes found in the human body.
Through a balanced diet, you can maintain the concentration of electrolytes in body fluids. Fruits and vegetables are the primary natural sources of electrolytes. People use table salt as a source of sodium and chloride.
Dairy products (like milk, yogurt, etc.) and leafy vegetables provide calcium. Nuts like almonds etc., are natural sources of magnesium. Banana is very rich in potassium. Similarly, coconut water is another natural source of electrolytes that people consume to get quick energy
How Are Electrolytes Beneficial for the Skincare?
Important role electrolytes play in the skin is they keep it well hydrated and prevent dryness. Not only that, but they also maintain the pH of skin cells.
We are aware of the fact that water follows the electrolytes. That is why people apply electrolyte containing moisturizers over their skin. If electrolytes get absorbed in the skin, water will follow them and eventually make your skin look well moisturized.
However, it is not certain that electrolytes present in such moisturizers soak in the skin. Some experts say that they evaporate before they get a chance to get absorbed in the skin. More research should be done to evaluate the influence of electrolytes present in moisturizers.
Some substances like gluconate, lactate, etc., can create an effective delivery system for electrolytes and help them penetrate deeper skin layers. Moisturizers containing such substances and electrolytes seem to be more effective and helpful in reducing skin dryness.
Electrolytes also strengthen the skin barriers. A weaker barrier system will not be able to retain moisture and cause more water evaporation. Electrolytes help in creating a protective layer over the skin and protect the evaporation of water. Let’s see the benefit of some of the more famous electrolytes.
Magnesium: Magnesium is a very beneficial mineral as it removes dullness from the skin by helping it absorb more water. Older skin cells naturally shed after some days, and new cells take their place. Magnesium boosts this shedding process and helps the skin look fresh.
It also provides skin protection from damage caused by different environmental factors. This mineral also assists in the ATP (energy) synthesis, so we can say that magnesium keeps the cells energized and helps them perform essential tasks.
Calcium: Our skin has sebaceous glands that produce sebum, an oily secretion. This natural oil creates a barrier over the skin and reduces water evaporation. Sebum helps the skin produce this oily secretion and maintain natural moisture level. It is also involved in the new skin cell formation.
Potassium: Potassium facilitates water channels present in the skin. It keeps a balance of moisture and prevents excessive evaporation due to different environmental conditions. It adjusts the pH of skin cells and may work with lipids to form a protective barrier on the skin.
Why Electrolyte Deficiency Is Harmful for Skincare?
As mentioned earlier, electrolytes are required during different body processes. So they must be kept balanced. But sometimes, due to different reasons, electrolyte deficiency can occur, which disturbs the normal functioning of vital body processes.
Extreme electrolyte deficiency can be life-threatening and can cause issues like heart attack, coma, etc.
Loss of body fluids is the main cause of electrolyte deficiency. It can happen due to vomiting, excessive sweating, diarrhea, etc. Some medicines and diseases can also lead to electrolyte deficiency.
People who do not drink enough fluids or eat a balanced diet can also develop electrolyte deficiency.
The following are the symptoms of electrolyte deficiency.
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Respiratory problems
- Muscle weakness
- Pain in chest
Types of Electrolyte Deficiency
Based on the type of mineral that is deficient, electrolyte deficiency can be of the following main types.
Hypothermia: It is the deficiency of sodium minerals due to which excessive water enters the cells. Sodium concentration gets lower than 135 mmol/L in hypothermic people. They may feel nausea, numbness, etc.
Hypochloremia: This condition happens when the blood chloride ion level drops below 97-107 mmol/L. Its symptoms are similar to other electrolyte deficiency conditions.
Hypokalemia: It happens due to the low level of potassium in the blood. Its symptoms are usually not visible, but it can disturb glucogen storage in the body.
Hypocalcemia: Hypocalcemia is linked to the lack of calcium in the blood. Calcium deficiency is easy to detect through skin, hair, and nails.
How to Diagnose Electrolyte Deficiency and Protect Your Skincare?
Based on your condition and the severity of the case, a doctor can perform different tests to diagnose an electrolyte disorder. A blood test is a commonly used test that detects the concentration of different electrolytes in the blood.
Other than a chemical test, your doctor can also perform a physical test to detect electrolyte deficiency. People having electrolyte deficiency can have dull, dry, and less elastic skin. So a pinch test may be used to evaluate the situation physically. Your doctor can also check your reflexes. A decreased level of electrolytes disturbs reflexes as well.
As the heartbeat gets irregular due to the deficiency of electrolytes, so an electrocardiogram (ECG) can also be used to check the heartbeat.
How to Obtain Electrolytes?
Drinks and foods are the best natural sources to obtain electrolytes and keep them in balance. The following are the most common foods and drinks that are used to boost electrolytes level in the blood.
- Coconut Water
People often consume coconut water to boost their energy levels and feel fresh. It is because unsweetened coconut water has 350mgs of potassium in it. Other than potassium, it also has other important minerals that help the body feel energized. Coconut water is easily available in the market, and you can consume it as an alternative to water.
- Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are a popular source of calcium and sodium. People consume them regularly. The doctor often tells someone deficient in calcium to consume more dairy products. You can drink a glass of milk as a snack, eat yogurt for breakfast, or have cheese on a bread slice.
Avocado is often made a part of skincare products. It is because of its many beneficial effects. It is very rich in potassium (660 mg in one standard avocado). Make it a part of your meal to make sure you keep your potassium levels balanced.
- Poultry and White Meat
Poultry and white meat are a delicious source of potassium, zinc, and sodium. You can consume them at dinner to avoid an imbalance of electrolytes. Add seeds, lentils, and beans with them to get a better dose of electrolytes.
- Fruit Juices
Fruits are rich in many vitamins and other essential nutrients. Fruit juices like pomegranate, orange, and lemon juice have electrolytes in abundance. People who are very conscious of their skin health drink fresh juices more often. They provide moisture to the skin and also help it prevent excessive water evaporation from the skin.
Smoothies are another natural source of electrolytes. Milk and fruits or other ingredients that you will add in it will determine the types of electrolytes and their concentration. You can drink them as a snack after a meal or whenever you like. Smoothies in breakfast may also refresh your overall mood.
- Electrolyte Infused Water
Many juice manufacturers also produce electrolyte infused water. The amount of electrolytes in this kind of water varies from one manufacturer to the other. Some also add sugar in water, so make sure to check the ingredients list before making a purchase. You do not have to take electrolyte infused water normally. People usually consume it after a workout session.
How to Treat Electrolyte Deficiency?
Electrolyte deficiency can make your skin look tired and even wrinkly. It is because their deficiency causes the removal of moisture from the skin and makes it dried. You can deal with the electrolyte deficiency through the following ways and make your skin look fresh and lively again.
- Intravenous Fluids
Intravenous fluids are more commonly used when someone is dehydrated. It is rich in sodium and chloride and can be used to increase its level in the blood.
- Electrolyte Tablets
Electrolyte tablets are a feasible source of electrolytes. They are easy to carry and take. Women often keep them in their bags and take them after a workout session. To consume them, they are added and thoroughly mixed in water.
Many skin care products add electrolytes to them to make skin look healthier, plumper, and younger. Such moisturizers are only beneficial if they have other components that increase electrolytes’ absorption in the skin.
Otherwise, electrolytes will be evaporated before they get a chance to increase moisture content in the skin. Apply these moisturizers as recommended by the manufacturers.
- Electrolyte Facial Mask
Electrolyte facial masks are another common skin care product used to increase the electrolytes in the skin. They are applied during the last step of the everyday skincare routine. Such masks have multiple benefits. They provide the skin with electrolytes and maintain the pH as well. They help the skin look softer, smoother, and fresher.
- Electrolyte Balm
Damaged or chapped lips often occur due to dryness or low moisture level in the lips. However, using electrolyte balm on the lips may help you restore the lost water content and make your lips look more plump and fresh. These balms may also come in different colors.
As mentioned earlier, electrolyte deficiency is a serious issue and can cause complications. People often take a high concentration of electrolytes through their diet or other sources to develop an electrolyte disorder due to their excess.
To avoid such situations, it is better to eat a balanced diet and avoid taking them from additional sources (supplements, etc.) if you are not deficient in electrolytes.
Even if you are deficient, consult your doctor and make changes in your diet as per your doctor’s recommendations.
An electrolyte disorder such as hyperkalemia, hypercalcemia, hypermagnesemia, etc., can cause serious kidney, liver, heart, or respiratory issues. Its severe form can even cause death if it is not treated on time.
Electrolytes maintain the moisture level in the skin and keep it looking fresh for long. Their deficiency can cause various issues, and some can even be life-threatening.
Vegetables, fruits, and other items are their common natural sources. So eating a balanced diet is a great way of keeping your bloodstream electrolytes at a normal concentration.
Besides diet, you can also use quality skincare products such as creams, moisturizers, and lip balms, etc., to maintain the moisture.
As always, knowing to maintain a balanced diet is the best you can do for yourself and your skin, moderation is key, and now, you know the importance of the presence of electrolytes in your skincare.