Lately, it seems that there are many advocates for preservative avoidance, and many claims of products ability to nourish and feed your skin and body. I have spent a few years in college and my main concentrations of study have been biology, microbiology and the structure and function of the human body. My mission is creating safe effective products and the study involved is indeed endless. Are vitamins, minerals and preservatives getting under our skins?
I may have mentioned nutrients and minerals in some of my product descriptions-but don't get too excited! You won't be balancing your vitamin intake via topical application. Is it possible that the ingredients might benefit your skin? It depends on the molecular composition. Our wonderful skins are are our barriers against invaders and retainers of that which is needed. Many factors influence this function including over all health and age. A damaged skin is more permeable than a fully intact skin.
Will an emulsion such as most available cosmetic lotions deliver key ingredients further than the stratum corneum? How is it that we get rashes from certain plants? So many questions! Something is definitely going on. Let us consider the development of transdermal medication. If this was easily achieved, then the first medication delivery system available would have been transdermal since it is an easy and painless method. There is a process involved in creating a substance that will successfully penetrate the skin and it involves micro emulsion. The rate of penetration is also influenced by concentration levels, exposure time and skin condition. Here is a great techno read about micro emulsions and transdermal systems: _ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3978525/
Obviously, certain plant substances make it past the outermost stratum corneum layer but this does not mean that all will. When the oils from poison ivy make it past the initial layer, the immune system kicks in with a variety of cells and thus we get an itchy horrid rash. Our protective cells lurking in our barrier organ start attacking the foreign substance and releasing histamines among other things. This is usually where penetration stops. Rarely, there have been cases of systemic poison ivy which required aggressive treatment. If all cosmetic lotions and creams could deliver substances into the body and act significantly upon cells within, they would have to be regulated by prescription! Cosmetics act upon external appearance without deliberately enacting internal change. So, where does that leave us with our various lotions and potions with their myriad claims of nourishment and youthful restoration? Well, does it make you feel like a positive influence has been made? Is your hair tangle free and clean? Is the outermost layer of your skin smoother and more supple? If so, take comfort in knowing that the cosmetic acted within it's legal parameters. Where does this leave us with potentially harmful preservatives? I'm still thinking, and digging through government and medical publications. I can say that certain micro organisms can definitely absolutely do the body harm.
The problem is that the jury is still out on the complete safety of so many cosmetic ingredients. So, we do the best possible job with the knowledge that we have. If you are concerned about the potential harm alleged to be obtained from parabens and formaldehydes in products, look for ones that use other preservatives. Look up MSDS information. It never hurts. Look up actual studies of effectiveness regarding the preservatives involved in a formulation-especially when it boasts claims of 'organic' and 'all natural'. Some natural substances touted as preservatives have failed miserably or are too new to be firmly established as guaranteed effective. If you really want to avoid preservatives, study a bit and make your own products in small quantities that will be used up with two or three days. I also suggest refrigeration during that time and minimizing air exposure during use.