Perricone MD H2 Elemental Energy

Beauty is getting a hydrogen boost.

While the element has been used in traditional healing remedies, like the Japanese Shin’nooru practice of drinking and bathing in hydrogen-infused water, it has recently washed into more skin care and ingestible-beauty offerings.

In South Korea, where beauty companies are on the pulse of the latest innovations, smaller brands have been able to infuse hydrogen — which is purported to neutralize free radicals, hydrate and soothe — into skin-care products. Because hydrogen is the smallest atom, it penetrates the skin faster than other ingredients.

Lisse, a South Korean skin-care brand that entered Anthropologie last year, uses hydrogen as the hero ingredient in its three products: a Hydrogen Rejuvenate Mask, Yuza Snow Ice Cooling Cream and an Exigent Ampoule System touted to firm and brighten skin. This year, the brand is launching an exfoliating oil, oil cleanser, brightening cream, jelly cleanser and a hot and cold pore mask all containing hydrogen as the main ingredient.

Other South Korean brands that have employed hydrogen include DMCK with Hydrogen Mist, Hale Cosmeceuticals with H2 Rapid Diffusion Therapy Cream and The Lotus line of Lotus Leaf Mists.

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“Because the South Korean market is so competitive, when there is something developed overseas, South Korean companies go to find these new ingredients and differentiate through them,” said Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach and Lily. “Sometimes smaller brands pick up on these new developments first. Once a medium-size brand does, it’ll spread quickly.”

In the U.S. market, Dr. Jart+ carries its Dermaclear line, a collection of six products infused with hydrogen mineral water said to remove impurities and create a healthy complexion. Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s Perricone MD launched the H2 Elemental Energy collection last April, which includes a hydrating serum, firming foam mask, hydrating cream and depuffing eye gel that are said to re-energize the skin.

On the ingestible side, Perricone also launched his Hydrogen Water last year, a drink that is said to energize the user, neutralize free radicals and remove cellular waste. HFactor, a beverage company that launched in 2013, offers a similar hydrogen water that is supposed to reduce muscle fatigue and inflammation.