How does the skin absorb skincare products?

The skin is comprised of different layers that protect us from the sun, bacteria as well as chemical elements. We are told to use different skin care products according to our skin type to benefit from the ingredients in them. The reason why some products may not bring forth any results is that they do not get absorbed into the layers of the skin.

Research shows that some of the skincare products such as petroleum jelly remain on the outer surface of the skin while others can penetrate into different layers. Today, we discuss how the skin care products get absorbed into the layers of the skin. Read on!

Skin barriers

Our skin contains a barrier called stratum corneum that consists of oils and proteins to prevent you from external factors. The stratum corneum has a lipid layer that hinders water-based elements from penetrating into the skin as it eliminates any foreign components. Compromising this barrier can cause skin conditions such as eczema which is not easy to deal with.

The outer layer of the skin which is known as the epidermis is also another barrier. It is very thick meaning the product can get past the first layer which is stratum corneum but fail to penetrate past the epidermis layer.

Apart from this, the skin also contains chemical mechanisms that hinder the absorption of chemicals. It has an acid ph that neutralizes alkaline compounds.

How do skin care products get absorbed?

Regardless of these barriers, some products can penetrate them. This depends on how big or small the ingredients are as well as their chemical properties. Various products are made of chemical enhancers such as ethanol interfere with the natural lipids in your skin, as they break down the barrier to facilitate penetration.

Though ethanol additive may increase the rate of absorption, it is not the best in skin care products since it can lead to skin irritation. Avoid any skin care products that contain substances such as sulphates, ethanol or acetone.

There are safe additives used in some skin care products that enhance the absorption without causing severe effects. One of this is peptides that disrupt skin barriers temporarily to make chemicals get absorbed into the skin layers.  Liposomes have also been invented to make it possible for chemicals in skin care products to penetrate up to the dermis layer.

If you are using a skin care product that contains small ingredients, they penetrate quickly into the cells of the skin and get processed. The compounds are secreted out of the cells and get into the bloodstream and become part of the circulation. Such ingredients include Vitamin C, retinol and L-ascorbic.

Some skin care products contain large ingredients which are not permeable. In this case, they keep on moving between the cells of your skin and enter circulation after some time. The body later excretes them. An ingredient such as Matrixyl 3000 lies in this category.

There are other products which contain very big ingredients which cannot be absorbed by the skin cells. These go through appendageal absorption where some glands absorb them. Products containing aluminum go through this process.

 Is it safe for skin care products to get absorbed into your skin?

People raise a lot of concerns when it comes to ingredients in skin care products getting into the bloodstream. Apart from elements such as sulphates and ethanol, most of them are safe to get absorbed in your skin layers.

Using natural organic products is advisable to prevent your skin from harsh chemical absorption. For instance, you can go for the obagi serum which protects your skin from oxidation since it contains antioxidant properties.

Those that contain elements such as vitamin C, E or amino acids get absorbed easily underneath your skin, therefore, give you fast results. You can enhance the penetration of such ingredients by steaming your face using a facial sauna before applying a moisturizer or serum on it.

Feel free to use moisturizers before sleeping so that the ingredients get absorbed all through the night. Apply thick layers of your natural product immediately after showering. It is also advisable to sleep in cotton pajamas so that your lotion does not stick to the material for all the ingredients to get absorbed into your skin.


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