Silica Valley

by Jamie Rosen

Going into the deep with the Blue Lagoon Iceland Skincare. Expect algae, lava, and a lot more collagen.

The first thing you notice upon seeing the Blue Lagoon in Grindavik, Iceland, are the stark contrast of colors. Arriving is a bit like landing on another planet. There is not a leaf or tree in sight. Instead, cloudy ice blue water is set against green moss-covered black lava rocks, with puffy stacks of white steam billowing on top. The water gets its hue from one of the minerals it is richest in: silica, just one of the components that has drawn psoriasis patients from all over the world to the Blue Lagoon’s clinic for the last 30 years, not to mention the million tourists that visit the landmark every year. 

While the minerals may be commonly found, the water they come from is absolutely not: the Blue Lagoon sits between the Earth’s tectonic plates and next to a geothermal power plant that gets its green electricity from a crashing of sources: ocean water, glacial water, and rainfall. All three waters are filtered by “young” lava (1200 years old is apparently quite youthful when it comes to these porous volcanic rocks) and pumped up from 2000 meters under the ground. “There are other geothermal areas,” says the Chief Scientific Officer, Ása Brynjólfsdóttir. “But because of the mix of waters and how it comes in contact with the rocks, there is nothing else like it.” 

At one end of the Blue Lagoon sits the R&D Facility, where Brynjólfsdóttir and a team of scientists have been studying the effects of the Blue Lagoon’s most potent components for the last 30 years.

At the other is the Retreat, a private hotel with its own spa and lagoon. It is the most fertile testing ground for its eponymous products, especially BL+, Blue Lagoon Iceland’s recent entry into active and uncompromising holistic skincare. What is most unique about the BL+ line is that its most potent ingredients come straight from the Blue Lagoon water. Silica, which naturally forms a protective barrier on the walls of the lagoon itself; and blue-green microalgae, which is isolated and proliferated using biotechnology, are processed on site. The ingredient duo makes up the BL+ Complex, which is patented and clinically proven to be anti-inflammatory, improve skin barrier functions, and boost collagen. It can be found in the BL+ The SerumThe Cream, and the The Eye Serum. The Mineral Mask and Lava Scrub Mask are identical to the ones used at the Blue Lagoon and the quickest to recreate the spa at home.