Silk is more commonly known for its beauty- especially when it comes to creating clothing & accessories out of the natural protein fiber! The prism-like, unique structure of the proteins in silk allows it to refract light in numerous different angles- which results in an array of different colors. Many types of insects [like bees, ants, spiders, & mayflies] create silk, but generally only the silk originating from moth caterpillars is utilized in textile manufacturing.
It was in China, that the first silk was produced and the earliest recorded evidence can be found as far back as 3630 BC, where it was utilized in a burial ceremony. They were also originally reserved only for the Emperors of China, but silk eventually spread throughout the entire country. It became in high demand and this is when silk was introduced to the rest of the world, through long-distance trading-first with the Egyptians; the Middle East, Europe, & North Africa soon followed. These countries and the silk trade route became known as the "Silk Road".
India has an extensive history and usage of silk as well, with their country being the largest consumer of silk in the entire world. This might be due in part to the fact. that 97% of the raw silk produced in the world comes from five Indian states. As for here in the U.S., King James I is actually responsible for introducing the material as an alternative to tobacco farming. By the 19th century, Paterson, NJ. had become the silk hub of North America- with Manchester, CT. emerging as the silk industry capital in the last 19th -20th centuries.
When it comes to the physical properties of silk, this is where it starts to get interesting. Unlike many of it's synthetic fiber counterparts, silk has a smooth & soft texture that isn't slippery either- it's also one of the strongest natural fibers around. Silk does however lose up to 20% of its strength, once it becomes wet and it can be weakened significantly by sunlight too.
But this material's strength has been proven to be phenomenal, as illustrated by the articles of clothing that were recovered from a 1782 shipwreck. There have been no other articles located, but the researchers were able to discover several pieces of clothing that were curated out of silk and it was the silk that had remained perfectly in tact :0 Both synthetic & natural silk have piezoelectric [an electric charge that gathers in certain solid materials, like: crystals, some ceramics, & bone] properties that are contained in their proteins and scientists believe this may be due to the molecular structure of silk.
The fibroin of silk, is the center structure that is composed of amino acids and therefore resistant to mineral acids [except sulfuric acid, which dissolves it!]. Fibroin's unique properties give it decent tensile strength & a rigid structure; they are broken up into 3 structures or types: silk I, II, & III. The first silk or silk I, is made up of fibroin in its natural form; silk II comes from spun silk and this type tends to have increased strength- making it an excellent candidate for commercial applications.
As for the last type of silk mentioned, silk III- this material was only recently discovered and is composed of a fibroin structure that was formed in a lab setting. Now I'm sure you're thinking by now...this is nice & informative....but what does all of this have to do with beauty...or skincare?! You may have noticed the ever-increasing demand, buzz, brands, & products that have come out over the recent years that feature silk as it's main focus- but you might have also wondered if they even worked. What are the real benefits and does it really make a difference? Find out what silk does for your skin, below!
The Amazing Skincare Properties of Silk:
Although the traditional usage for silk has been for trading and curating beautiful garments and gorgeous accessories, it does have some wonderful skincare properties to offer up as well :) Silk Amino Acid of SAAs [Sericin], is a naturally occurring water-soluble material that is pulled from raw silk.
The results are awesome: SAAs is an excellent candidate for being a top moisture preserver, while providing this barrier with much less weight than traditional moisturizing ingredients & compounds. What makes this so unique, exactly?
These proteins derived from silk are very similar to those of our own skin, which is why it can be combined with other materials and applied to the skin: when integrated into the skin, the body doesn't trigger an immune reaction! This means that you also get a photo-protective effect from silk as well, since it reduces oxidative stress ; therefore, the effects of UVB-induced damage to the skin as also reduced :)
The awesome properties of silk don't stop there though! Since the material is the same Ph of your skin and contains a high concentration of amino acids, silk can counter the signs of aging by preventing & even reducing them! :) If you have super sensitive skin or suffer from psoriasis, allergies, asthma, eczema, or shingles- silk has been clinically proven to help aid in reducing symptoms of these conditions.
Want to know more about what silk has to offer?! Check out this wonderful article, Benefits of Silk- it has a lot of great information on the skincare benefits of silk. Looking for an affordable product that features this fantastic compound? Don't miss The Beauty Closet's Recommended products from Dial, below!
The Beauty Closet Recommends:
Silk & Magnolia Restoring Body Wash
[w/Silk protein & Magnolia blossom]
I probably have too many body washes to count- I admit to being completely guilty of this obsession ;) When it comes to dial though, I hadn't yet tried their body wash. Their Silk & Magnolia body wash not only smells fantastic, it leaves your skin ultra smooth & soft- I noticed that it didn't seem to leave behind any type of residue either. For around $6, you can actually snag a quality body wash- without spending tons of cash. With an easy-to-use snap lid & squeeze bottle, you don't have to worry about juggling in the shower or making a mess :) This one is perfect for summer too!
Soothing Care Ph Balanced Body Wash
If you have super sensitive skin- as I do, then you may want to think about giving this body wash a try! It's dermatologist tested with a gentle Ph balancing formula that encourages healthy skin, without causing over-drying or irritation. The scent is non-annoying and something that most anyone can appreciate, without being strong & over-powering :) Boosted with collagen, this is the perfect candidate for fighting the signs of aging skin- like elasticity & firmness! The best part? For just around $6, you won't be breaking the bank to snag a quality body wash!
Advanced Deodorant Bar Soap
[w/Lather pockets- 2 ct.]
*pricing ranges- BEST can be found @ walmart.com & target.com/or in-store at the same retailers!
This is one of Dial's newest bar soaps and I was surprised at how much I ended up liking it. I tend to stay away from bar soaps since they often dry out my skin and don't leave it feeling completely clean. The Advanced Deodorant Bar Soap from Dial doesn't have these issues at all and the added lather pockets actually work pretty well- you will get a nice lather, without putting in much effort! As for the scent- it's light, fresh, clean, & universally pleasant. Packed with Vitamin E & Aloe, your skin will be left feeling soft & clean- without being dried out :) 25% more than the average 4 oz. bar from Dial, you get a decent value as well!