Do our skin absorb what we use easily?

application directions

I’ve just started using a herbal cream and am quite amazed at the speed of its effects on stabilizing my moods. It’s very easy to use and all I need to do is to apply it to certain areas of my body, such as my underarms, inner thighs, neck, and abdomen. Whilst this product is specially designed for skin delivery, but I couldn’t help but wonder how easy it is for our skin to absorb what we apply on it.

Products engineered to penetrate our skin
Over and over again I read that our skin resists penetration of almost all chemicals as our lotions cannot be absorbed into our skin. It does make sense to me but I wonder what happens if the cream is technologically engineered to penetrate? This is already happening with some of our high-end skin care products and doesn’t this mean that whatever is in the formulation gets absorbed into our skin and end up in our blood stream? So on one hand we want our products to do something for our skin by penetrating but on the other hand, we are inviting unwanted chemicals to get inside us? Well, I don’t have the definite answers to this but I came across this very interesting article at Mail Online titled the 515 chemicals women put on their bodies every day. According to the article, rather than delivering on their potent ‘anti-ageing’ promise, many of these cosmetics are causing us to age faster.

chemicals on the body

Accumulated harm and toxicity through repeated usage
I find the figure too alarming but at the same time, exaggerating perhaps. In addition, I don’t see how it is possible to avoid some of these ingredients entirely even in some of the natural and organic skin care products. However, I take the view that the harm and toxicity on our skin happens through repeated use. But that’s not exactly the reason why I prefer to use natural or organic skin care products. My rationale is some of these chemical synthetics actually interferes with the delivery of the skin care benefits. However, with my recent experience using the herbal cream, I’m thinking twice again about the usage of products especially on my body as it appears to me that it’s easier to absorb some of the ingredients via the lymph nodes.

Natural and organic formulations may still contain chemicals
Anyway, click through the link to read the article. It’s quite informational to find out more what some of the common products contain and what sort of health hazards these ingredients can cause. And don’t be surprised that an ingredient like polyethylene glycol is present in many of the natural and organic skin care products.

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  1. Su says

    Excellent article. Thanks for sharing!

    Everytime I am tempted by the nice japanese makeup but end up admiring and not purchasing.

    Which is sad because they are much prettier in packaging and application compared to mineral makeup(i like them pressed and shimmery soft).

    Subconsciously I think of all the cancer causing and hormonal imbalance causing chemicals I am loading my skin if I buy the conventional products available in counters and in pharmacies.

    Hence I’ve been using cheaper organic prdts for body/hair and more expensive organic lines for the face.

    As long as its all natural or organic, i feel more reassured and can accept if it lacks in performance slightly compared to chemical laden brands.

    For example: Organic surge makes excellent shampoos and conditioners. However they dun leave a heavy scent – some all natural soaps the scents evaporates to nothing after you have finished your bath.

    • sesame says

      I’ve tried Organic Surge but not their shampoo. They’re okay – not 100% natural…maybe 80%? Still, at least it’s an affordable range to cut down on some of the chemicals.

      Personally, I was worried about deodorants and the effects despite some saying that it’s a myth that they can cause breast cancer. But our underarms is quite a sensitive area so these days, I use my own natural deodorant with baking soda, geranium and tea tree essential oils.

    • sesame says

      It’s the Meditrina Ageless Herbal Cream With Chasteberry Extract I recommended here.

      It’s suppose to alleviate hormone imbalance symptoms such as mood swings and hot flushes, reduces menstrual cramps/PMS etc. Also hydrates skin and improve skin elasticity.

  2. says

    ooohhh myy.. based on the diagram, I am kinda a chemical breeding ground!! hahaha

    I am looking to change my deodrant to a more natural and organic based one because I use it daily and am getting quite concerned with using chemicals near that area…

    • sesame says

      Yup, I was very uncomfortable using my commercial deodorant. But I couldn’t find an organic/natural one that help contain my stink. Now I have a solution but it’s a little troublesome.

  3. says

    Hi Sesame
    Another great topic! We often forget that the skin is an organ of the body, completely linked to our internal organs. Things that we apply to our skin definitely makes their way in, some things better than others. Its sad but the toxic ingredients seem to get absorbed more efficiently than most, probably due to their chemical nature. Parabens are linked to cancer becasue they get absorbed into the body and mimic estrogen in the body. This increses the risk of estrogen dependant cancers. Other studies have shown traces of parabens in male fetuses of pregnant women. It is alarming as to how deeply some of the ingredients can be absorbed. This stresses the importance of reading and understanding cosmetic labels.

    • sesame says

      I never gave much thoughts to parabens but now that I’m using products to alleviate my hormone imbalance, I’m more wary because I’m now convinced that products I use can do something in me.

      Ignorance is one thing but what annoys me are some experts who are still in denial and refusing to accept such facts – and then coming up with their articles discrediting such info and dismissing them as myths.

  4. says

    I think the key here is to weigh the pros and cons of each product, be it organic or synthetic, and to use things in moderation based on our main needs and concern.

    Also it’s good that consumers can now make informed choices from their research online. Thanks for this enlightening post.

  5. Suz says

    scary thought to know there are so manyyyyyyy chemicals that can harm us. It seems like no products are good…:/ yet we can’t go without some.

    • sesame says

      Don’t be too frightened by the alarming figure. I used to be scared too but overtime, I begin to realize that we should not be worried as some of these chemicals are always present. Like what Vonvon said, use products in moderation. Be aware and be selective…use what is comfortable for you only.

  6. says

    Its cheaper for larger companies to pay experts to refute claims against certian questionable ingredients than it is to reformulate their products. My advise is avoid products with questionable ingredients until those ingredients have been proven to be safe. Pardon the cliche` but it is better to be safe than sorry.

  7. says

    My brother just told me that all forms of externally ingested collagen is not going to help at all. Cream-wise, it is a huge protein that can’t pass through the phospholipid cell membrane. Food-wise, it will be digested.

    I am quite conscious of whether the chemical I am buying can pass through my skin or not. For health, and also costs reasons. Don’t want to pay for what cannot penetrate, and poisons too.

    But for paraben, there are actually lots more in our food than all the skincare add together… … So actually, I guess, it’s really no point avoiding those in skincare, unless you are also eating 100% fresh homecooked and organic.

    But right now, I guess, the only way to judge this topic, is by using the product, and see if it works or not. Otherwise, then we know that it probably is not so well-absorbed.

    • sesame says

      The collagen info is a little controversial. Most docs say it cannot be absorbed but many who are using it vouch that it works for them. I’ve tried taking this some years back – I say it works to an extent but it needs to be continued for effectiveness.

  8. OceanBlue says

    As far as I know, what determines whether a product is legally classified as a cosmetic or as a medicine is dependent on whether it penetrates the skin’s dermis or not. Unfortunately, this leads to a situation where manufacturers avoid making highly effective products, as medicines require years of expensive testing before they are allowed on the market.

    Maybe what you’re experiencing is a combination of aromatherapy (I’ve noticed most herbal creams are quite pungent smelling), massage therapy or inadvertent acupressure (as it’s being rubbed over many different areas of your body).

    • sesame says

      Yes, I read something about that. But I wonder how many companies declare the truth and state it as a drug. It seems that’s the catch and it’s easier to classify the product as a cosmetic without going through the tests and so forth.

      Oh yup, the product I’m using smells a little yucky. Not everyone will like it. If what I deduce is right, it works like those drugs using patch delivery system.

  9. Raelynn says

    dear jyoan,

    my understanding is that although food contains parabens, they get washed out of our system easily, which is in contrast with topically applied parabens where the bigger hoo-haa is that after the skin absorbs, the parabens dont get passed out as much as those ingested.

  10. selena says

    Hello Sesame, stumbled across your website while researching on meditrina herbal cream. I just purchased a tub from a neighbourhood beauty salon after a back treatment. My skin problem tends to come from the inside, or so i’ve been told and after doing some research online. I get breakouts on my chin area and back which i’ve been told are caused my hormonal imbalance. Meaning regardless of how many facials i do the crux of the problem remains unless i fix the inside. This most recent beauty salon i went to recommended i try this herbal cream which is supposed to help balance my hormones but i am a bit worried about side effects as one of the areas to apply this cream on is the side of the breasts /underarm area where there are loads of lymph nodes.

    Did you experience any negative side effects or come across any articles disputing the efficacy of this cream or any possible harmful side effects?

    Whilst i am a believer of tcm practices and natural remedies, i am concerned about the source of this product and ingredients used.

    Would really appreciate your inputs and advice. Thanks!

    • Sesame says

      Hi Selena,

      I did not experience any side effects. In fact, I think my breasts sort of “firmed up” more during the period I used the cream. However, being something can alter hormones, it’s best to approach with some caution especially in view of the person’s health condition. I think the effects will also vary according to individuals. But I only tried 2 bottles and stopped using thereafter.

  11. selena says

    Thanks for replying! I read the ingredients and it looks like all natural. Will probably go do more research on it. I’ve just tried using it just. *fingers crossed!*


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