My motto “don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth” is adopted from the Danish beauty expert Rasmus Bjorn Andersen who is a huge inspiration source to me. I totally share his belief, on the fact that I would never intentionally eat cosmetic chemicals so why would I put it on my skin? To me it is important that what applies to my internal health also applies to my external health. It is a pure belief and principle to me and I live by it at 100 percent when it comes to my own skin - what other people decide to live by is of course their own choice and I fully respect that, my intention is only to inform, enlighten and make people/you curious and maybe even rethink their/your health and skin care choices.
When that is said, I am not denying that you can find good and well-produced commercial brands with highly beneficial ingredients and without toxins, because you sure can, they are just often on the expensive side and personally I would rather trust in nature, know exactly what I am applying on my skin and save money at the same time. Win Win.
We have all heard that a certain percentage, whether it is 60 percent or 80 percent of what we apply to our skin is being absorbed into our bloodstream and lymphatic system and many theories and studies have been discussed and done on this statement and also many misinformation are to be found “out there.” Personally I believe that our skin, to some extent, is penetrable and absorbs some chemicals, I have learned and decided not to put any percentage on it as it can’t be determined as such because many factors are playing an important role when it comes to skin penetration and absorption.
Our skin has evolved to be a protective mechanism. It is our largest organ and function as a barrier, it separate and protects our body from the outside world, however the barrier is not 100 percent impenetrable. Let me explain the skin biology for you guys which is good to know in general. Our skin is composed of three layers:
1. Epidermis is the first skin layer and is the skin that we directly interact with. Epidermis has additionally 5 layers and the outer layer, called stratum corneum, is a dead layer of skin cells (bricks) and sebum (mortar). The thickness of this layer varies based on the location. It’s very thin on your eyelids, for example, and much thicker on the bottom of your feet. Epidermis is the layer that is responsible for protecting your body from external factors.
2. Dermis is the second layer, the dermis, is where hair follicles and small blood vessels is to be found, and where oil is being produced. It’s also home to nerve endings which are responsible for your sense of touch.
3. Hypodermis is the third layer of the skin and is the subcutaneous fat layer. This layer basically attaches the upper layers of skin to the bone and muscle below. The fat insulates you from temperature variations as well as physical shock, and it contains even more, larger blood vessels.
Whether or not the skin will absorb something depends on a lot of factors and I will highlight 3 factors that I find important.
1. Molecular size and weight, anything smaller than 500 Daltons can penetrate the skin’s epidermis while anything larger than 500 Daltons can not. (A Dalton is the standard unit that is used for indicating mass on an atomic or molecular scale.) Common allergens tend to be smaller than 500 dalton and therefore penetrates the skin and ends up in our bloodstream and lymphatic system.
2. If the ingredients are oil-soluble or water-soluble. Oil-soluble ingredients penetrate easier as the skin itself is water proof (to some extent). In technical terms we describe this as the hydrophile or lipophile balance of the ingredient. But let’s not get too technical here.
3. The condition of the skin. Skin is on some parts of your body thinner than other places. Damaged skin is more exposed to penetration than intact skin. That means if your skin barrier/epidermis is damaged due to dryness and dehydration, harsh skin care products or over exfoliation, ingredients are more likely to penetrate through the bricks (skin cells) and mortar (sebum) of your skin (epidermis). Picture the skin cells as tiny bricks stacked up on one another with some sort of mortar or cement in between them, if the mortar/glue/cement or whatever you fancy calling it, is broken, water, dirt and fungus or anything from outside is more likely to enter the brick wall and cause inner damage.
So my personal opinion is that we can’t determine by percentage how much our skin absorbs and penetrates, but we can’t ignore nor deny the fact that some, not all, but some ingredients are actually ending up in our bloodstream and lymphatic system and potentially causes “damage” and imbalance.
Therefore I have chosen to be in control of what I apply on my skin - and don’t put anything on it that I wouldn’t put in my mouth and if not possible, making sure that what I am using is as CLEAN as possible. On another note I am a huge believer in nature’s ability to give us all the nutritions, vitamins, minerals and benefits that our skin needs, so why not use its properties? People can chose to take my adopted motto to heart (and save money) or chew a bit on it and make sure that what they use on their skin is safe and “clean”.
Thank you guys for reading along!