Tag Archives: Skin

What Makes A Product Noncomedogenic?

Noncomedogenic. N-O-N-C-O-M-E-D-O-G-E-N-I-C. Noncomedogenic. It sounds like the word that stumped the runner up in the fourth grade spelling bee. If you’ve been hearing this word used a lot lately in the cosmetic industry and thinking it sounds impressive, its meant to. But is it, really? Let’s break it down.

Woman squeezing pimple

A comedo is the mildest form of acne, otherwise known as a pimple, whitehead, or blackhead. So technically you could say, “Wow, that’s a rather large comedo on your face.” as a more polite way of saying, “Wow, that’s a really big zit you have.” Non, of course means without, hence, noncomedogenic, when applied to a skin cleanser essentially means the product does not clog pores and will break down excess oils on your skin without stripping necessary moisture.

What Does “Noncomedogenic” Mean?
Although the term “noncomedogenic” sounds scientific, the truth is that the effectiveness of noncomedogenic products has not been proven in clinical trials, nor has it been tested by the FDA. This is not, however, to say that such products are without merit; in fact, there is some evidence that non comedic products can reduce acne. There is, after all, proof that blocked pores can produce acne, and therefore, a product preventing occlusion of pores, may help prevent it. However, some forms of acne may be a result of other causes, such as a high presence of bacteria on the skin, and, in these cases, noncomedogenic goods would not have much effect.

In other instances, products are labelled noncomedogenic, but, in fact can cause skin rashes an irritation.

Woman cleaning face

Chemistry of Noncomedogenic Products
Noncomedogenic cleanser usually contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur or salicylic acid. Some have ingredients to treat acne, and others are simply formulated to not aggravate pimples and clog pores.

Benzoyl peroxyde kills bacteria which causes acne and does not produce oil on the skin. Salicylic acid does not kill bacteria, but does unclog pores without creating additional oil. It also dissolves oil in the hair follicles. Sulfur washes away dead skin cells and excess oil and is also believed to be able to break down blackheads and whiteheads.

Pros and Cons Of Noncomedogenic Cleansers
Noncomedogenic. How bad could it be, right? Anything purported not to clog pores, couldn’t be too bad, right? Well, you be the judge.

Benzoyl Peroxide
If you’ve ever used benzoyl peroxide to treat acne, you probably found it to be effective. However, you will need to use it for a few weeks before you see results, and, if you discontinue use, the acne will return. Also, while you can combat the drying effects of benzoyl peroxide on skin with moisturizer, other side effects are not so easy to deal with. Itching, rashes, burning, and swelling have all been associated with the use of benzoyl peroxide and are best handled professionally.

Woman checking skin

Salicylic Acid
Like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid requires continuous use to see results, as pores will clog up again when the skin is no longer receiving treatment. Although it can cause irritation and stinging, it is usually mild enough to work without causing serious side effects.

Sulfur
Sulfur has very few side effects, if any, and, although some may find the smell disagreeable, the odor is usually not detectable when mixed with other ingredients.

What do you think of noncomedogenic products? Does the term reassure you? Let us know!

Can Your Pimples Shed Light On Your Gastrointestinal Problems?

Woman checking pimple

“CNotes” started having really bad problems with his skin about 8 months ago. He noticed that his breakouts came in conjunction with hits stomach problems which lead him to believe that his nausea and indigestion may be the cause of his constant breakouts. He wonders if anyone has gone through a similar experience, and says, “There are so many treatments and so much information, I don’t know where to start.”

Well, CNotes, you are definitely not alone. A study investigation 13,000 adolescents found that those with acne were more prone to gastrointestinal problems like heartburn and constipation and that abdominal bloating was 37% more likely to be linked with acne. As for where to start, try here:

Clues that Your Acne Is Caused By Digestion
If you suspect that your digestion may be at the root of your acne problems, here are some clues to look for:

  1. You breakout after eating certain foods.
  2. There is no cyclical pattern to the timing of your breakouts.
  3. You are breaking out mostly on your forehead.
  4. You have frequent stomach aches.
  5. You tend to break out before, during, or after periods of gut problems.

Gastrointestinal Problems and Acne
Keep in mind that skin is an elimination system in your body and that acne is a result of the skin doing its job. Therefore, increased toxicity in the blood can lead to an increase in acne. Diets high in processed foods, sugar and trans fat can create imbalances in the body and acne can be a symptom of this.

drinking water

Lack of digestive juices in the upper GI can also lead to acne. Active digestion starts with the saliva, and if there are not enough digestive secretions to break down the food in the upper GI, food will travel undigested to the lower GI. Undigested fats in food store toxic waste, minerals, and vitamins. If fats aren’t completely broken down, they can get into the liver, intestines and bloodstream, causing the liver to go into overdrive. Eventually this slows down systems that feed the body and the body creates “collateral veins.”

When the liver is overtaxed, the body creates collateral veins to help the blood keep flowing. Collateral veins are extra blood vessels in the intestinal tract that allow the body to bypass the liver and, as a result, unfiltered, impure blood enters your body causing imbalances; acne is among these.

Healing Digestive Problems

  1. Drink Water: Water will help to carry nutrients through your body and flush out toxic buildup.
  2. Keep a Journal of What You Eat: Write down what you eat and how you feel for a wok, noting patterns. Analyze your entries to see if you notice more of less breakouts when you eat a certain food.
  3. Increase Digestion in Upper GI: Consuming bitter herbs can help increase digestion in the upper GI, as can consuming probiotic foods. Lemon balm is a recommended herb and fermented foods likekimchi, yogurt, pickles and sauerkraut are all probiotic.
  4. Heal the Lower GI: Taking demulcent herbs, such as marshmallow, can coat the lining of the intestines that are subject to damage associated with lower GI distress. Herbs that help the liver include burdock and milk thistle.
  5. Keep Track of Fats: Fat is a vital part of building energy in our body, so its important to eat good fats to sustain us.

Do you think your acne is related to your gastrointestinal problems? Let us know how you handle your challenges. Your comments and opinions can help!

Truth and Lies About Your Pores

Portrait of woman

Do you practice pore hygiene? Chances are that if you are concerned about your skin, you probably do. But how do you really know about these little holes on your face? While many truths about pores are known, there is still so much that remains so “porely” misunderstood. But now, it’s time to get down to the truth about what’s behind your pore health. Here are some truths and myths about your pores.

What Is A Pore?
Basically, pores are small opening in the surface of the skin that secrete liquid. Our bodies hold millions of them.

Two Kinds of Pores
The term pore can be confusing, because there are actually two kinds of pores that serve different functions:

Pilosebaceous Unit (Hair Follicles That Hold Oil Glands)
These are the pores most often associated with clear, or unclear, skin. The purpose of these pores are to lubricate the skin. They are located all over the body, except for on the palm and soles of the feet. When they get blocked, which happens often , skin conditions like acne can, and often do, occur

Sweat Pores
These are the ducts for our sweat glands which serve to cool our body. They are located all over, but are more highly concentrated on the groin, under the arms, and on the hands and feet. They do not normally become blocked.

Although we often associate oily skin with sweaty skin, they are not the same thing. This means a sweaty workout should not cause acne. This also means that it is impossible to “sweat out toxins” because toxins are not found in the sweat glands.

Woman in mirror

Myth 1: Pores Can Change Sizes
Pore size is determined genetically. However, sometimes stubborn blackheads can resemble large pores. When enough material accumulates, as is the case with blackheads, an invisible pore can expand to many time its size until it looks like a blemish.

Myth 2: Heat Opens Pores, Cold Closes Them
This is not only untrue because temperature does not cause pores to open and close, but also because pores do not open or close at all. This is what’s really going on.

Firstly, heat from a shower or sauna may soften debris that causes clogging of pores, making it easier to remove with extraction or exfoliation. Secondly, moisture and heat soften the skin’s connective tissue fibers, stretching the pores, and making debris easier to extract and exfoliate.

A word to the wise: While warm, moist skin is more conducive to extracting debris, it is also more prone to tearing. At home exfoliation is fine, but leave extractions to the professional. Also, avoid touching your face after exfoliation until after you wash your hands.

Porely Enough
The sad news is that pores can become more visible and larger over time because the skin stretches and slackens as collagen and elastin break down.

Surely Enough
There are a lot of things you can do to reduce pore visibility. Deep cleaning and exfoliating will decrease the look of pores and a deep cleansing facial or light peel done by a professional can remove debris without skin damage. There are also dermatology laser and light devices available to restore elasticity to skin and minimize the appearance of pores.

How do you explain your pore health? Let us know!

Transform Dull Pasty Skin

If you’re looking a little more zombie-like than you would prefer, here are some ways you can transform your dull and pasty skin into something a bit more life affirming.

Smiling woman 1. Exfoliate
When you exfoliate, your skin reflects more light. If you’re younger than 20, your skin cells rejuvenate ever 28 days, but by the time you hit for 20’s, turnover slows to between 30 and 40 days. According to Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “Dead skin cells pile up, diffusing the light and making skin dull. ” Exfoliate at night rather than in the morning for best results and to remove all the dirt and grime buildup from the day.

2. Use a Highlighter
Makeup artist Mally Roncal says a champagne highlighter, “looks good on anyone.” For normal to dry skin, Roncal advises using your fingers for application. “Tap up and down your cheekbones and dab whatever’s leftover on your brow bones, the center of your chin, and the tip of your nose.” If your complexion is on the oily side, you may want to dust some powder formula over those areas with a fluffy brush.

3. Allover Body Glow
To get an all over body radiance, try botanical oils instead of lotion. The lipids found in botanical oils are the same ones that are in your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson recommends coconut oil. “It’s rich in fatty acids, so it gets absorbed really quickly and leaves behind a glow instead of a shine-it looks more like your skin is lit up than lotioned up.”
Roncal weighs in on the importance of an full body shine, saying, “if your face is radiant and your body is ashy, it can look jarring. Your glow will be much more believable if you highlight your body too. However, when it comes to your body, a tinted highlighter is preferable to an untinted, which is easier to blend, while still providing a healthy glow.

Woman exfoliating skin
4. Optimal Skin Care Tips
In addition to exfoliation, there are certain ingredients you should look for to give your skin that extra brilliance.

Ceramides
Although your skin has natural enzymes to slough off dead skin cells, they don’t work as well when your skin is dry. Moisturizers with ceramides can reinforce the natural barrier of your skin and help it to rejuvenate.

Retinoids
Frederic Brandt, dermatologist says, “Your skin reflects light even better when its firm.” He suggests an over the counter or prescription strength retinoid to boost production of collagen.

Vitamin C
Use this antioxidant to brighten skin and help fade dulling sun spots.

Best Exfoliators for Your Skin

For Fair, Dry, and Sensitive Skin
If your skin comes under one of these categories, you should probably go easy on the exfoliation. Your skin type is the type most likely to become irritated and prone to dryness and age spots. Dr. Brandt recommends a lactic peel once a week. Lactic acid is made of fairly large molecules, which doesn’t penetrate as deeply as harsher acids.

For Oily and Combination Skin
If you’ve got combination or oily skin, you require deeper exfoliation than other skin types. Brandt says a cleanser with salicylic acid used daily and a scrub with microbeads used once a weel are the ways to go. “The scrub sweeps aways dead cells so the salicylic acid can clean clogged pores,” he says.

For Normal Skin
Brandt says you should use a glycolic acid peel one a week if you’ve got normal skin. Says he, “it’s one of the most effective exfoliators because it penetrates deeply.”

What do you do when your glow is low? We want to know!

Natural Ingredients That Keep Skin Soft, Flexible, and Resilient

Of course, the modern women knows that wit and ingenuity are our greatest weapons, but we also know its not a bad idea to keep a few tricks up our sleeves for when the going gets tough. Like when it comes to the war against aging skin. That’s when it time to call in the coven for a little witch’s brew. How do you think Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon stayed so young looking for the Witches of Eastwick sequel?

When it comes to magic potions for your skin, nature is your best resource. There are plenty of ingredients bestowed by the good grace of Mother Nature that can keep your skin flexible strong, and resilient.

Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil
Not just for monkeys! Coconut oil’s many talents include removing dead skin cells, protecting against sunburns and strengthening epidermal tissue. In fact, research shows that coconut oil can even fight chronic skin disease and curb cutaneous inflammation. You can use this miracle of nature on your hair and skin to remove makeup, cleanse, heal wounds and scars, and prevent razor burns. When taken internally, coconut helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells and wash away toxins, making it indispensable for skin health.

2. Tea Tree Oil
Also known as mealeuca alternifolia, tea tree oil has been used in Australia for hundreds of years to fight inflammation, redness, and breakouts. It is also known as a well-tolerated alternative for people who react poorly to harsh acne treatments. and its hydrocarbons contribute to its anti-bacterial properties. Researchers have found more than 100 different chemical components that are aromatic and capable of traveling through the pores of the skin and mucus membranes, which is why tea tree oil is so effective as a home remedy for acne.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This inexpensive skin product can kill pathogens like bacteria, and clear skin problems resulting from gut issues as well as cleanse the skin and prevent acne. It also contains vitamins like magnesium and potassium, which are can be effective detoxifying agents when taken internally because of their ability to improve liver function and balance gut bacteria.

Raw honey
4. Raw Honey
Bring on the sweet stuff for reducing breakouts, healing wounds, fighting allergic rashes, and reducing scars. This unheated, unpasteurized ingredient keep all of its nutrients intact because it is not subject to processing, like other honey. Honey is also an effective antimicrobial and can be used for dressing burns and wounds, and has been used in treatments to heal dandruff, psoriasis, diaper dermatitis and more.

5. Sea Salt
One of the more recent stars of the nutritional world, sea salt is chockfull of calcium, magnesium and potassium that it absorbs from seawater. because these minerals are the same as those found within the skin else in our body, sea salt is an excellent ingredient that can protect, balance and restore skin. Ir contains anti-inflammatory properties to fight breakouts, remove dead cells, balance oil production and help skin retain moisture.

So what potions are you stirring up this week? We would love to know!

Create A Healthy Glow With Gentle Exfoliation

You’re exfoliating for the first time. The devil inside you says, “Wow, this is great. It looks like I took off about ten years in two minutes. I should do this every day. At this rate, I will look 18 by the end of the week.”

The angel says,”No way, this exfoliation rough stuff. You’re going to scrub your face off.”
Devil: I heard Beyonce’s makeup artist says Queen B exfoliates every day and look at her.”
Angel: You’re no Beyonce. You’re going to scrub your face off.

Exfoliation can be very gratifying, but as with all other things, there can be too much of a good thing and the key is finding that happy medium. You want to make a difference, but if you go too far, your cells will stop regenerating and the effects won’t be as gratifying. Here are some tips for gentle exfoliation for a healthy glow.

Woman exfoliating skin
Rules of Exfoliation

Give Priority to Rough Skin Patches
If you begin to see rough patches, you should follow the advice of Ole Henriksen, the founder of the eponymous skincare brand. Go outside in the daylight with clean skin and bring a mirror. This will help you to understand what is going on and the areas where you might need help. I believe that everyone should be their own skincare expert, and this is an essential step for getting to know your skin. ” Exfoliate concentrating on places in which your skin is dull, uneven, or flaky.

Exfoliate in An Upward Circular Motion
Henriksen says, “I think the biggest mistake people make is being heavy- handed. A little goes a long way- let the exfoliating particles do their job. You just want to facilitate the glide access the face, that way your skin feels great and you don’t over treat it.” Henriksen suggests limited exfoliation to twice weekly, and, if you have frail capillaries, it may be a good idea to apply a face oil before you scrub, for extra protection. Vermen Verallo-Rowell, MD, dermatologist and founder of VMV Hypoallergenics recommends virgin coconut oil, which is inexpensive and safe for all types of skin. If you continue to notice redness and sensitivity, you may want to cut down exfoliation to once a week.

If you are looking for a scrub that won’t harm your face with harsh beads, Henriksen recommends mild jojoba beads, adding that, “you want to be sure …that the beads are perfectly round spheres.”

Exfoliating brushes may be a good tool for some, but you should keep a close watch on your skin’s reaction to this treatment and limit use if irritation occurs.

Follow with A Hydrating Moisturizer
To make sure your skin retains moisture, you follow up your exfoliating routine with a good thick moisturizer. Wash your face with warm water and pat it dry with a towel. Apply a cream or anti -aging serum before hitting the hay. Your morning you will thank you.

Exfoliation techniques
Exfoliate At Night
Night is the time when your skin is most receptive to treatments, especially when it comes to speeding cell turnover. This is the best time for the application of topical treatments with retinol and vitamin C.

If You Overexfoliate
If you overdo it, not to worry, just give your skin a break for about a week, Use a cleanser with Vitamin C or green tea that is free of drying agents. You can tone down redness with an over-the-counter cortisone cream.

What rules for exfoliation do you follow? How do put the “X” in exfoliation? Let us know!

Try These Ingredients To Brighten Skin

Why would anyone want “bright skin?” As a civilization, we are obsessed with reversing the effects of time, especially with regard to our skin. As we age, the skin that we were born with becomes darker, due to exposure to the sun and light. Although we may never hope to return our skin to the state from whence it came, there is promise of returning it to a healthier, simpler state, before the evil sun did its damage.

Woman with bright glowing skin

Skin brighteners defend skin against post- inflammatory hyper pigmentation, or any type of inflammation on the skin, specifically, blemishes from acne. Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation says,” When the acne resolves, sometimes the skin stains, which is causing too much pigment to be released. That’s a common issue where a skin brightener may help. In addition, skin brighteners help target age spots and brown spots, which are caused by ultraviolet rays.”

The Ingredients
Although most brighteners contain similar ingredients, they may work entirely differently depending on the formula. Here are some ingredients found in most skin brighteners and what they do.

Hydroquinone
While it may be 50 years old, “prescription hydroquinine is still the gold standard in bleaching,” according to Pearl Grimes, professor of dermatology at UCLA . The drug works to fade spots and block enzymes used to create new ones, and can lighten skin blotches in about four to six weeks when used in combination with a nonprescription retinal or retinoid.

Azelaic Acid
If your skin tends toward redness, this ingredient is for you. Often used as a treatment for rosacea prone skin, it “only targets melanin, so it doesn’t lighten healthy skin,” says Jeannette Graf, assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai school of Medicine.

Woman with glowing skin
Melazyme
This enzyme has come a long way from its original purpose of whitening paper. Melazyme is the only ingredient capable of dissolving melanin on the surface of the skin. (Other enzymes impede the melanin production, blocking pigments from the surface of the skin.) The mushroom derived ingredient usually works within four weeks, as compared with the one or two months it takes for most brighteners to take effect.

Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is a white powder used often used in Japan as a natural treatment for reduction of skin discoloration. Studies by the American Academy of Dermatologists have shown its clinical ability to fight hyperpigmention by limiting the tyrosinase, the protein which produces melanin. Kojic acid is also an antioxidant, suitable for sensate skin.

Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutus is one of the most effective skin lightening ingredients available and has been proven to work on all skin types. The chemical properties inhibit tyrosinase from producing melanin, which is responsible for creation of pigment and outperforms all other bleaching agents. Alpha arbutus is found in a powder form and is pure and water soluble.

Beta Arbutin
Often referred to simply as Arbutin, beta arbutin, or bearberry extract lightens skin by inhibiting activity of tyrosinase. It is no as strong as its alpha counterpart, but has been used to treat skin pigmentation and brighten skin.

What do you know about brighter skin? Do you have any secrets to share? We love to hear them!

Choosing The Right Tools For Exfoliation

When it comes to exfoliation, things seem to be getting pretty sordid. If you follow the Real Housewives of New Jersey, you may have heard Caroline Manzo speak about her preferred method; face shaving, an admission that fellow housewife Teresa Giudice says, “Freakin’ blew my mind!”

This is not the first time we’ve heard of razors in conjunction with the exfoliation of skin. Dermatologists have been known to offer a derma-planing treatment which involves the running of a surgical grade razor over the skin, and both Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor swore by the amazing effects of a daily shave. With all the options out there, it may be difficult to choose the right tools for exfoliation, but, rest assured, there are ways to get glowing skin without running the risk of a five o clock shadow; here are just a few.

Exfoliating Tools

chemical mask
Chemical
Chemical peels involve the application of a solution to peel off the top layer of skin. They contain enzymes and beta hydroxy acids that loosen skin cells, making them easy to remove. Mild solutions are available over the counter, stronger ones are available by prescription.

Mechanical
Mechanical exfoliating tools refer to abrasives, such as loofahs and body scrubs that remove dead skin. Despite their name, abrasives should generally be gentle enough to not cause skin irritation, however, if your skin feels raw after use, the tool may be too harsh.

For the Face
When it comes to facial exfoliation, your best choice is a pair of soft exfoliating gloves or a micro -exfoliating cloth. Pouches are another option, although they tend to be too gentle to exfoliate as effectively as the gloves or cloth. Electric face brushes can be a good idea, but their effectiveness may vary with the type of cleanser, bristle type, and application of pressure.

Expert Advice
Before you choose your exfoliation tools, you may want to consider this advise from board certified dermatologist Mary P. Lupo, MD, FAAD

Take Your Skin Type Into Consideration
Those with dry or sensitive skin should stick with mild chemical exfoliation, such as salicylic acid peels, given by a dermatologist. If you have thicker, oilier skin, you may be able to stand stronger treatments like 2 percent salicylic acid wash or mechanical tools, like a scrub or motorized brush.

Woman using exfoliation mask
Time Exfoliation Correctly
While individuals with thick, oily skin may be able to withstand exfoliating once a day, those with sensitive skin may want to limit treatments to once a week. Also, more aggressive procedures, such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels administered by a dermatologist should generally be performed only a few times over several weeks.

Be Careful When Buying Products
Dr. Lupo suggests making sure that the products you buy come from reputable companies. She recommends over the counter products with an acid concentration of no higher then 2% salicylic acid or 10% glycol acid. Board certified dermatologists can help you pick an at home treatment best suited for your skin type and may be able to recommend other treatments for best results.

Do you know any great exfoliation secrets? Please share!

Your Four Part Beauty Regimen

The ears of the skin care obsessed will most definitely perk up when they hear of a new beauty product comes from the East. To many, the word “eastern” is enough to validate any snail bee oil cleanser or mineral infused canola honey serum on the market, hence the preoccupation with ten-step Korean skin care regimen. Those of us seeking the ancient secrets of the east will shudder at the thought of anything less than the double cleanse of the ten-step, or going to sleep sans ceramide gel.

Yet, there is something to be said for simplicity and not all of us have the time, space, and correct variety of applicators to devote to ten different products. For those of you who consider getting out of the house in a timely fashion while staying beautiful among your priorities, we bring you the four step beauty regimen.

Woman cleansing face

1. Cleanse
Cleansing is a key component and the most basic part of any skin care routine. Cleansing should be done twice daily, in the morning and the evening to wash away debris left by makeup and other impurities that form on your skin during the day and while you sleep. Dampen skin with warm water and apply cleanser to your cleansing brush or fingertips. Rub it gently into your neck and face in a circular motion until a thick lather begins to form. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

2. Tone
This step will help to keep your skin’s pH level regulated and will open pores, helping your skin prepare to receive treatment. Toning should follow cleansing in both the a.m. and p.m. Just splash some toner on your palm or on a cotton pad and massage over your face and neck to bring out that inner radiance.

Woman treating skin
3. Treatment
Treatment generally refers to toners, serums and exfoliants and application instructions differ with formats. As with cleansing and toning, skin treatment should be done day and night. although you will want to be careful about overusing exfoliants. In general, treatment products should be applied evenly using upward strokes. Look for treatment products with Vitamins A, C and E and hyaluronic acid for anti-aging results.

4. Moisturizer
Moisturizer is vital for the hydration and vitalization of the complexion. Eye cream should be applied in a tapping motion using the ring finger, beginning at the inner eye and moving to the outer area and gradually forming a circle around the eye.

For the rest of the face, chose a moisturizer with SPF or add an SPF to protect skin from UV rays. Use a pea sized drop of lotion and cream and spread in to your cheeks, chin and throat in a circular motion moving upward and outward. Go for something lightweight that your skin can easily absorb. If you are applying SPF separately, layer it over your moisturizer during the day, giving the moisturizer adequate time to set.

And remember, if you still want to to go ten step, feel free! Just let us know how it goes. Tell us all about your beauty routine. We love to hear it.

Helping Beauty Products Penetrate Your Skin

woman looking at herself in mirror
Last night, you tried out a new skin product. It seemed to go well; it felt nice going on, didn’t leave weird residue and even smelled kind of nice. Is it a keeper? To decide that, you need to know the answer to the nagging query, “Did penetration occur?” Skin products are often advertised as having active ingredients that penetrate your skin, but how can you tell for sure? Here are some of the things you need to know about penetration that your mother never told you.

Skin Penetration
In the cosmetic world, penetration refers to the ability of cosmetic ingredients to sink into the lower skin cells layers. However, with skin supplies, as in other cases (ahem), there are certain times in which penetration is desirable and others when it is not. On the cosmetic end, if a beauty supplier wants to improve the feel of the formula on the skin or product’s water resistance, he or she will want the product to penetrate.

However, other suppliers may claim that their products penetrate skin to make the “active ingredient’ more effective. In such instances, they may declare their products contain ingredients that interact with the metabolism of the skin cells, working skin wonders such as collagen production or even wrinkle removal. The truth of the matter is that, in the United States, any product affecting skin metabolism is considered a drug. If products existed that could actually accomplish these great feats, they would thus be considered drugs and subject to more extensive testing than they were given before they were marketed in the US.

woman applying skin care product

Enhancing Penetration
Despite the fact that legitimate claims of product penetration are for usually non -cosmetic reasons, there are certain times in which you do want the product to penetrate. If this is the case, you may want to consider following your application with an emulsifier or solvent.

Emulsifiers form “micelles” in a solution which can surround “active ingredients.” When applied to the skin, emulsifiers penetrate into the skin and bring whatever is inside the micelle within it. The ability of emulsifiers to penetrate increases when the emulsion’s particle size decreases, so micro-emulsions and nano-emulsions work best. Phosphatideylacholine is a good example of an excellent penetration ingredient.

Solvents, such as propylene glycol can also enhance penetration by shuttling soluble ingredients from the top layers of the skin into the deeper layers.

Keeping Safe
In practicing safe penetration, certain products are a no no. Cleanser penetration can lead to irritation of skin because cleansers are designed to be removed. In addition, cosmetics which are only designed to make superficial differences should not be allowed to penetrate to living skin cells where it can interfere with skin metabolism.

If you are considering trying out a new skin product in the next few days, we hope you know the ins and outs of penetration. Let us know how your experience went. We would love to hear from you.