Ask Dr. Xi: Iron & Skin

You asked. Dr. Xi answers.

Dr. Xi Huang is one of the world’s renowned experts on iron and health. And the founder of i-On® Age Disrupting Skincare with DII® Technology.

From Confused: “I always heard that iron was important for women. Now I hear that it may not be so good for my skin. Especially as I’ve gotten older and am going through menopause. Can you iron this out for me?”

Red blood cells

Dr. Xi: Don’t Be Confused. I’ve spent the good part of my career researching the effects of iron on the body. And no doubt about it, iron does a lot of much-needed, heavy lifting for our healthy biological functions. It transports oxygen to our muscles and brain. And our body needs adequate levels of iron to make healthy red blood cells. Iron also helps support our immune system and regulate body temperature. All good.

That said, women need to watch their iron levels at different stages of their life. Did you know that one in 5 women of childbearing age has iron-deficiency anemia? Common symptoms include fatigue, headaches, cold hands and feet, sallow skin and brittle fingernails. And according to one study – a weird urge to chew ice.

As you enter perimenopause, your need for iron begins to change. Women no longer experience a deficiency but an overload of iron in the body and skin as a result of two observable physiological changes.

First, in premenopausal women, excess iron is eliminated through monthly menstruation blood loss. During menopause, as this natural removal process ceases, iron not only accumulates in the body and skin, it is actually stored in the skin. In fact, one study showed iron levels can be as much as 42% higher in postmenopausal skin.

Lady examining her skin on her hand

Secondly, during menopausal transition, skin becomes thinner, drier and more wrinkled due to changes in collagen and elastin content, as well as skin’s inability to exfoliate efficiently on a daily basis. As that process declines, iron builds up in skin.

And so, begins a vicious cycle. Iron accumulates in skin. When increased iron is exposed to UV radiation, blue light, air pollutants and irritants from other sources, it accelerates the production of free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress begets skin-aging yellowing, dullness, dinginess, dark spots and discolorations. Skin actually begins to rust. Much like rust on metal, iron’s reaction with oxygen causes oxidative stress to the skin. (If you’ve ever seen a rusty bicycle, you know the corrosive damage the environment has on metal.)

“Wait a sec. I always thought antioxidants neutralize free radicals?”

Dr. Xi: Yes, but just “neutralizing” them is not enough. While antioxidants are extremely valuable against certain types of oxidative stress, the presence of iron poses a unique and consistent threat to skin.

You see, as long as iron is constantly accumulating beneath the skin’s surface, free radicals are being produced faster than they can be quelled. And the on-going onslaught of UV radiation, air pollutants and irritants from other sources continually re-excites them, triggering them back into action.

The answer is not to neutralize free radicals but actually to prevent iron-induced free radicals from ever forming in the first place.

Graphic that explains the De-Ironizing Inducer stops oxidation from happening, protects be preventing free radicals, and repairs the skin by stimulating collagen production.

That’s why I developed i-On® Age Disrupting Skincare with De-Ironizing Inducer Technology (DII®). It actually solves the problem of iron overload:

  • Reduces iron overload before it is converted to skin-damaging free radicals. Vitamin C Releases iron deposits from ferritin (an iron storage protein).
  • Pearl Powder, a calcium carbonate, prevents iron from becoming bioavailable and Removes residual, skin-rusting iron deposits.
  • By removing iron from ferritin before it can react to UV to cause skin degradation, Skin-rejuvenating Hyaluronic Acid plus Tetrapeptide-11 can Repair previous damage done and disrupt the cause of biological skin aging before it starts.
  • And then i-On® Age Disrupting Skincare With DII® goes one step further to help Rebuild skin’s healthy and youthful appearance with niacinamide, portulaca oleracea extract, and squalane.

By preventing iron-induced free radicals from assaulting the skin in the first place, my i-On® Skincare products are clinically proven to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, increase elasticity, even skin tone, plump skin and hydrate more rapidly—effectively disrupting and defying the aging process. Skin is more beautiful and healthier-looking.

Lady looking  in the mirror and touching her face

And that’s an ironclad promise I can make to you.

Did You Know?

Iron is an essential nutrient that supports blood health and oxygen metabolism

Due to changes in the body during and after menopause, iron overload is a factor in aging skin.