What is Absorption, Penetration?

Posted on by Beste Gürkan

Myth: 60% of everything you put on your skin is absorbed by the skin.

True: The idea that 60% of the products we apply to our skin and body are absorbed by the skin and mixed into the blood is a myth. So such a thing is not possible. Our skin never allows it to mix with the blood by absorbing 60% of everything we put on it. If such a thing were possible, we wouldn't even be able to take a shower because our skin would absorb water like a sponge.

The most basic function of our skin is to act as a barrier. To put it simply, the main task of our skin is to let in what our body needs and to keep out what is bad for our body.

The epidermis layer, which is the top layer of our skin, consists of 15-20 layers of dead cells. This layer of dead cells, which is the top layer of the epidermis, is called the stratum corneum. The Stratum Corneum consists entirely of dead cells.

The issue that cosmetic formulators work the most and puts them the most challenging is to ensure that the products they develop can pass through this dead layer and reach the other layers of the epidermis. This is a seriously difficult subject and not possible for every formula. For this reason, some support techniques such as chemical exfoliation, dermaroller, dermapen can be applied externally. These techniques are meant to allow a little penetration of actives. Because the passage of an active molecule to the lower layers of the skin is not an easy task. There are many factors that need to be taken into account for this to happen. In other words, the skin does not allow a substance to pass to the lower layers of the skin, it does everything to prevent it.

There are two different terms in skin care. Penetration and Absorption. It is not possible to understand what skin absorption means without understanding what these two terms mean.

What is Skin Penetration? Penetration means that an active molecule or a chemical crosses the skin barrier. So this term is a comparison of how much of the active substance is in the upper part of the epidermis (outside the skin) and how much is below the epidermis. In skin care, it is aimed that active substances penetrate up to the targeted layer and work in this area to eliminate skin problems. The main purpose of expert skin care formulators is that active ingredients penetrate the skin and help eliminate skin problems. It is expected that absorption will not occur if possible, or that it will be in very small quantities that the body can expel through excretion.

What affects its penetration? How much of a skin care formula will penetrate depends on genetic factors and on which area the product is applied. The thinner the applied skin, for example the face or the area around the eyes, the higher the penetration of the active substance.

Other than these, there are some methods that help to increase the penetration of assets. The most effective of these is exfoliation. With the exfoliation method, the glue material that binds the dead tissue cells in the stratum corneum layer is dissolved and these dead cells are removed from the skin surface. In this way, the applied active molecules penetrate into the lower layers of the skin and work there. In particular, active ingredients such as retinol, peptide, vitamin c, niacinamide, which have anti-age properties, are provided to the lower layers of the skin. These actives, penetrating into deeper layers, begin to take effect quickly.

The use of specific ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid is also a method that increases the penetration of actives. The formula itself may also contain substances that increase the penetration of the actives.Specially developed formulas such as Cyrene Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier aim at deeper penetration of active molecules.

What is Skin Absorption? Absorption is a very different term from penetration. Absorption means that the active molecule crosses the skin barrier, reaches the layer where the blood vessels are located, and enters the vein to reach other parts of the body through the blood. So is it possible for such a thing to happen?

We are very lucky that our body is such an important self-protection mechanism. Thanks to this self-protection mechanism, our body immediately directs the things we do not need or substances that are harmful to us to the excretory system and throws them out. The dose of the absorbed substance (how much substance has been absorbed) is effective in deciding whether a substance is toxic or beneficial for the body. The main question to be asked is at what concentrations does this substance become harmful (toxic) for us when it is absorbed. For this reason, all ingredients in cosmetic formulas are subject to toxicity studies. This subject includes very detailed studies and is a subject that can only be evaluated by experts. Cosmetic formulas undergo toxicology evaluations by authorized persons before meeting with the consumer.

If our skin had a serious absorption feature, we would not have to take drugs in the form of injections or tablets/syrup. We would apply the drugs to our skin and all the active ingredients in the drug would be absorbed by our skin and passed into the blood. Unfortunately such a thing is not possible.

Will the active molecules in the product we apply to our skin penetrate or be absorbed into the skin, how can this be understood? Whether the active substance will penetrate or be absorbed depends on its molecular weight, ionic structure and concentration. In addition, while evaluating the toxicity of the substance, calculations are made by taking into account the applied amount, application area and exposure time.

Important factors affecting how much of a substance can be absorbed and how much cannot be absorbed: the structure of the carrier formula of the active molecule (some of the formula), the solubility of the active, the area applied to the body, the health status of the skin barrier, the thickness of the epidermal layer, the temperature, the blood flow in that area. speed.

Then if we go back to our original question, does our skin have the ability to absorb 60% of everything we apply? The answer is definitely a resounding NO.

The most important factor determining absorption is the dose of the substance. All of the factors listed above and more are what determine how much of this dose will be absorbed.

Our biggest chance is that if absorption occurs by the skin, even at very very low concentrations, these very low concentrations that are absorbed are immediately taken to the excretory or digestive systems and thrown out or destroyed by the body.

Fearing skin care products and not doing skin care just because of it is an unfounded fear. As long as skin care products are formulated correctly by experts, they can be used safely and provide benefits without harming our body. The most important issue to benefit from a product without harming it is formulation. The person who should make the formulation is a cosmetic chemist who has been trained in this subject and has sufficient experience.