Iron oxides are mineral compounds that are composed of iron and oxygen. They occur naturally in minerals like hematite, ochres, and magnetite. Iron oxides in skin care and cosmetic products, however, are produced synthetically. This allows manufacturers to control for quality and eliminate heavy metal impurities, making the ingredient safe for human application.
Iron oxide is commonly used in the beauty and personal care industry to add pigment to products. They come in yellow, red, and black shades and are blended into formulations to achieve the desired tint. Iron oxides can be found in everything from foundation to blushes and lipsticks. In mineral sunscreens, iron oxide is used to reduce whiteness and make the product more cosmetically elegant.
In addition to its color corrective properties, iron oxide can also protect your skin from high-energy visible (HEV) or blue light. Whether from natural light or artificial sources like smartphone and computer screens, blue light can produce free radicals in the skin, increase hyperpigmentation, and impede normal cellular functions. Iron oxide in skin care products absorbs blue light to prevent skin discoloration and premature skin aging.