January 3, 2013

How far do skin care ingredients go?

Beauty tip Protect your skin from the sun with a good SPF sunscreenWhen my daughter was younger, she was learning horseriding. One hot sunny day, she forgot to put on sunscreen and at the end of the day, she came home with a severe sunburn. Her back and shoulders were sunburned with inflammation, swelling, stinging and burning, the type of sunburn that would definitely blister. 
Beauty tip Aloe Vear gel for sun burnI went out to my garden, cut some leaves off the Aloe Vera plant, cut the juicy leaf in half length-ways and scooped out the gel. I applied it to my daughter’s skin and she told me it immediately relieved her pain and stinging. I kept re-applying the aloe vera gel with cool compresses all through the night, which provided enormous relief so that she could sleep in comfort. By morning, the inflammation and pain subsided and within a few days the sunburn cleared up, with no blistering.


In the beauty business, there are some powerful ingredients we work with that have an effect on the skin from the surface. Some of these are vitamins, anti-oxidants, plant extracts, essential oils, plant oils, alpha and beta hydroxyl acids and marine extracts.

cross section of the skin

How far can cosmetic ingredients penetrate? 


In many instances when aestheticians talk about delivery systems taking ingredients deep down, it may be confusing because the implication is that the ingredients penetrate to the dermis or the deeper, live skin. With the exception of some essential oils, no cosmetic ingredients can claim they can penetrate past the epidermis into the dermal layers, only certain drugs and medicines can, such as the drugs in nicotine patches. Cosmetics that can penetrate past the skin into the blood stream could potentially be dangerous, and should only ever be handled by medical practitioners. Toxicity is of particular concern, as well as drug interactions, and potentially dangerous side effects.

Getting the ingredients to penetrate into the skin is very difficult because the skin is an extremely effective barrier. Even in pharmaceuticals scientists find it a challenge to formulate effective trans-dermal delivery systems for medications applied topically such as nicotine patches and hormonal patches. 

skin cells epidermis cell communicationSkincare and beauty treatments work mainly on the surface layers of the skin, called the epidermis. A good delivery system will help ingredients penetrate into the deeper layers of the epidermis by traveling in between the skin cells or through the hair follicle. This is how we get the best results by improving the surface of the skin. 

Very few cosmetic ingredients, if any, can penetrate into the dermis (where our collagen and elastin resides). One possible delivery system that may deliver ingredients to the dermis is nanotechnology, where nanoparticles (tiny molecules) may penetrate into the dermis and into the blood stream. There has been a lot of controversy about nanotechnology because we really don't want potentially dangerous and toxic substances to penetrate into the blood stream. Cosmetic ingredients that are safe and effective on the skin, may be toxic if absorbed into the body. No one knows how such ingredients will affect the body if allowed to penetrate

So how do we use skincare and facial treatments to help boost collagen and elastin to reverse and delay the signs of ageing?


The discovery of cell-communicating ingredients has revolutionized the results we can achieve with beauty treatments. Cell-communicating ingredients sit on, or in the deeper layers of the epidermis and help facilitate skin improvements by improving cell communication. These ingredients send messages and signals to the skin cells which then "pass the message on" to the target cells. That is how we can calm the Langerhans cells (immunity cells) in an irritated skin, reduce melanin production by the melanocytes, or boost collagen production by activating the fibroblasts (collagen producing cells) in the dermis.

Effective skincare formulation will include quality cosmeceutical ingredients, in an effective delivery system to keep cell communication at its optimum. This will ensure the skin cells are receiving the right signals and passing the message along to the deeper cells. Results are based on how the cells 'speak' to each other, and what signals they are sending to the cells deep down.


So to get the best anti-ageing, skin rejuvenating results, look for cell-communicating ingredients such as Vitamin C, Retinol (Vitamin A), Peptides and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) which effectively communicate with cells in the deeper layers. 

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Have a beautiful day!
Jana x


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