How Substances Get Absorbed into the Bloodstream.
The primary way chemicals, toxins, and other substances enter our bloodstream is through our digestive system, which is responsible for breaking down food into nutrients and fuel for our bodies. But an equally important, way that substances enter our systems is through skin absorption.
Skin absorption occurs most often with personal care products, such as soaps, shampoos, body washes, lotions, moisturizers, sunscreens, facial creams, and so on. The effectiveness of the skin absorption depends on a variety of factors:
- The concentration of the substance in question,
- How much of it there is,
- How long it’s in contact with your bare skin,
- The solubility of the substance (also known for its ability to dissolve and absorbed), and
- The condition of your skin at the time of contact (for example, if you have naturally sensitive skin or an open wound in that location, you are likely to absorb more of the substance than if your skin were more impermeable).
And while it is true that some chemicals cannot pass the protective barrier that is our skin, there are many more than can. Most chemicals have small enough particles and are soluble enough to pass through the outer layers of our skin and into our bloodstream. Some chemicals can even take a faster route to our bloodstream by slipping down along the fine hairs on our skin and into our hair follicles, which are typically rooted in the veins and capillaries of our vascular system for the sake of absorbing nutrients. Our skin is our largest organ and had a remarkable ability to absorb substances.
Studies about skin absorption
There have even been studies done to assess how many chemicals on average a modern person has in their system; some results have shown patients with hundreds of chemicals lingering in their bodies and other studies have shown cases where there is evidence of many chemicals remaining in their bodies long after initial exposure or use. And most of those chemicals simply accumulated in their bodies over time from the use of seemingly harmless everyday products.
As mentioned earlier there are certain toxic products to be careful of; we need to be mindful about how long they linger on your skin and whether or not the ingredients they contain are potentially harmful over a long period of time. These toxic ingredients include carcinogens, reproductive toxins, pesticides and hormone disruptors. They are used in industrial settings for things like keeping concrete soft (plasticizers), taking grime off car parts (degreasers), and reducing surface tension in paint (surfactants). They are also used in cosmetics and ‘skincare’ products.
How do you feel about using those types of products on your delicate skin? Even in small, cosmetics-sized doses, exposure to these toxic ingredients can become dangerous in the long-run.
These high-risk substances include:
- BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluen)
- Coal Tar Dyes
- DEA (Diethanolamine)
- DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate)
- Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
- Parfum (or Fragrance)
- PEG Compounds
- SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
These substances are known as the “Dirty Dozen” – please read about them in this excellent article.
Products to be mindful of
Some products to be mindful of include (but are not limited to) soaps and deodorants (due to frequent and often prolonged contact with your skin), shampoos and body washes (for the same reason as soaps), as well as moisturisers, face creams, oils, and lotions (these are specifically designed to be absorbed into your skin, so be extra diligent about checking ingredients).
It’s also an excellent idea to pay attention to your makeup. This is because it often sits on your skin for hours at a time and (depending on the chemical composition) can be absorbed through your skin. Also, try to avoid any product with formaldehyde as an ingredient; it may be an effective preservative, but in its liquid form it can be absorbed through your skin very easily and cause an allergic reaction.
All of Be Naturals Products are made to the highest standard in a regular kitchen environment. We do not use any toxic chemicals that will end up on your skin. Our soaps and balms will actually feed your skin as they contain nutrients in the beautiful oils we use, such as Organic Cocoa and Shea Butter. Less is definitely better when it comes to skin. Treat it well and you’ll be rewarded with great health, inside and out. As the saying goes, if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin!