Do Skincare cosmetics get absorbed into the bloodstream?

Do Skincare cosmetics get absorbed into the bloodstream?
March 1, 2018 Aidee Erhime
Photo with caption

Do your cosmetics go into your bloodstream?

This seems like a valid question to ask especially at this time when a good number of people have one form or the other of store-bought cosmetics which they apply on their skin. These days, one cannot be tagged ‘too inquisitive’ with the many lotions, creams, sunscreens etc. in the stores. So do these cosmetics find their way into your bloodstream?

Brief understanding of the skin

The skin acts as a barrier between the external and the internal parts of the body. It is made up of different layers all grouped into three main layers which are the epidermis (outermost and visible layer), the dermis (which is just under the epidermis) and the hypodermis.

Of these three layers, the epidermis is the one that we all see, the one that carries the visible color of the skin. It is this epidermis that acts as a wall to prevent it from getting unwanted materials from the environment into the body.

The epidermis also has sub-layers therefore you can picture the skin as a game of barriers.

Knowing this, one would understand that the structure of the skin is such that ingredients from your cosmetics can only go so far, far enough to be hydrating but not beyond the primary barrier.

This is usually because most of the chemicals in your cosmetics have molecules too large to penetrate all the layers of the skin, Vaseline being a perfect example as this just sits on the surface of the skin.


What if ingredients do go far?

The explanation above that the skin is made up of layers too many to allow significant passage of foreign materials, may not sit well with some.

However, should any ingredient make it past the barriers, remember that your body has soldiers called enzymes. These enzymes fight for it by breaking down chemicals to a variable degree, thus protecting your body.

Here is something you must also know, formulators of cosmetics make these products for the skin surface and not for the purpose of having ingredients get absorbed into the blood stream.

In order for a product to penetrate the skin, they would need some form of penetration enhancer.

This is why it is advised that you read the ingredient list and understand their use in the cosmetics that you purchase.

And Skin Bleaching?

Skin bleaching is simply using cosmetic products that inhibit the production of melanin in order to make the skin more shades lighter.

This whole system can make the skin get weaker thus exposing it to elements such as the sun which has UV rays that can penetrate the skin and make it susceptible to skin cancer.


In summary,

Do ingredients in skin cosmetics penetrate the skin? YES

Do the dangerous ingredients in skincare cosmetics affect organs? POSSIBLY

Should this be the real question? NOT LIKELY.

What then is real question? How much chemicals gets absorbed into the body from cosmetics?

The answer? Not enough to scare you if you use safe cosmetics.


More resources/references



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