Have you ever wondered why some skincare products don't work for you? This is because not all products are made equal.
Their effectiveness depends on many factors, such as skincare formulation and the quality of ingredients. Your age and skin type can play a role as well.
If you want the best skincare results, it might be worth looking into transdermal absorption. By utilizing a transdermal delivery system, skincare products can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin — allowing for maximum effectiveness.
Keep reading to learn more about the transdermal aspect of skincare products.
How Is Skincare Absorbed?
In the skincare community, there is an oft-cited statistic that 60% of skincare is absorbed into the bloodstream. Experts have recently come out to debunk this theory. To understand how skincare is absorbed, you first need to know about the skin's main function.
The skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis (outermost), dermis (middle), and the hypodermis (innermost). In the epidermis, you also have the stratum corneum, which functions as the skin barrier.
Skin Barrier Function
The skin barrier is commonly likened to a brick wall, and skin cells called corneocytes form a layer of bricks. At the same time, an intercellular lipid matrix — made up of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids — serves as the mortar.
The primary function of the skin barrier is to avoid trans-epidermal water loss. This helps keep your skin smooth and hydrated. Secondary to that, the skin barrier also protects against harmful substances or environmental irritants.
The Truth About Skincare Absorption
Given the impermeability of the skin barrier, most skincare ingredients will never make it past the epidermis. And that isn't necessarily bad as these products can still confer many skin benefits.
The ability of active ingredients to penetrate the skin barrier depends on certain factors, such as molecular size and structure. Smaller molecules can sink deeper into the skin. Meanwhile, larger molecules mainly stay on the surface of your skin.
This is why you usually apply serums and emulsions first before emollients or occlusives. Active ingredients known for their small molecular weight include vitamin C, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and retinol. Studies have also found that retinol is one ingredient that can be absorbed in the bloodstream.
The Downsides of Skincare Absorption
Apart from active ingredients, skincare products also contain preservatives that can make them shelf-stable. This is important to consider, especially if you're trying to boost the absorption of your skincare products.
Common preservatives such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, alcohols, and fragrances can cause skin irritation or allergies. Studies have also indicated that these preservatives can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
The long-term effects have yet to be discovered. However, researchers have already found that chemicals such as phthalates have adverse health effects, increasing cancer risk and causing organ damage. Along with other chemicals like parabens and triclosan, they are also known as hormone disruptors.
UV filters such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, and benzophenone can also be absorbed into the bloodstream.
This highlights the importance of using skincare products that are effective and safe. You won't want to boost skincare absorption using products with these toxic chemicals.
As such, it's important to choose skincare products that are hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and fragrance-free. This is even more crucial for those with poor skin barrier function conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
All About Transdermal Absorption
Transdermal delivery was initially developed to administer drugs such as testosterone, estrogen, and insulin via the skin.
In recent years, this method has been utilized by a growing number of skincare and cosmetic companies to increase absorption and boost the effectiveness of their products.
Transdermal Delivery Systems
There are two ways to increase transdermal absorption: physical and chemical.
Physical transdermal delivery involves using microneedles, thermal lasers, and electrodes. These devices stimulate collagen and elastin production, which paves the way for skin growth and regeneration.
On the other hand, chemical transdermal delivery uses penetration enhancers. These enhancers create changes in the skin barrier to make it more permeable to ingredients.
Transdermal creams and other products are designed to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. As a result, they can also provide more significant effects or benefits on the skin.
The most common penetration enhancers include water, fatty acids, and urea. Some penetration enhancers, such as surfactants and alcohol, might also damage the skin.
The Future of Transdermal Skincare
As transdermal delivery continues to evolve, manufacturers are continually trying to improve skincare absorption and stability while, at the same time, protecting the integrity of the skin barrier.
This is why there is growing interest in the use of liposomes. Studies have found that liposomes are excellent carriers for active ingredients. They can help improve skin penetration and stability of skincare products. In addition, liposomes themselves can hydrate the skin and promote optimal skin barrier function.
How to Boost Skincare Absorption
It is well-established that our skin barrier function naturally deteriorates over time. The skin barrier becomes less capable of retaining water. Collagen and elastin production also slows down, leading to intercellular lipids depletion.
As such, we are more prone to dry, rough, and wrinkled skin as we age.
This highlights the vital role of skincare. To age gracefully, it's important to choose skincare products that are safe and effective. To boost skincare absorption, you also have to apply these products properly.
Here are some tips to follow.
1. Double Cleanse
Double cleansing helps create a clean canvas for your active ingredients. A quality cleanser melts away makeup, dirt, and debris. Then, the second cleanser washes it all out.
Active ingredients can be absorbed more effectively without these impurities blocking your skin. It would be best if you also exfoliated 2-3 times a week to remove dead skin cells.
2. Apply on Damp Skin
After cleansing, do not let your skin completely dry. It's better to apply skincare products while the skin is still damp. Since your pores are still open, they can better absorb the products. Using skincare products on damp skin also helps seal in moisture.
3. Layer Your Skincare Products
Make sure to apply your skincare products from the thinnest consistency to the thickest consistency. Toners, essences, and serums should go first. They have smaller molecules so that they can be absorbed more deeply.
Your emollients and occlusives should always be last. Since they have larger molecules, they tend to sit on the skin. They also create a protective barrier to enhance your skin barrier function.
4. Combine Active Ingredients Properly
You want to incorporate active ingredients that go well together, and compatibility is just as important when boosting skincare absorption.
For example, retinol — a potent but irritating anti-aging ingredient — goes well with a humectant like hyaluronic acid and an emollient like ceramides. You can also combine vitamin C with niacinamide or vitamin E to enhance your complexion.
5. Choose Skincare Products with Transdermal Delivery
You now know that not all skincare products are made equal, and even with the same active ingredients, one product may not work as well as the other. So when choosing skincare products, you may opt for those that utilize a transdermal delivery system.
At SKIN by XND, we aim to provide safe and effective skincare products. Our products are formulated with high-quality ingredients, including vitamin C and retinol, with high bioavailability. We also utilize the latest skincare innovations to ensure optimal skincare delivery and absorption of our products.
Maximizing Transdermal Absorption of Skincare
Transdermal delivery isn't just for skincare after 50. No matter your age, you can benefit from having better skincare absorption. You can choose transdermal creams and products formulated to penetrate the deeper layers of your skin.
As you maximize skincare absorption, avoiding ingredients that may cause harm is also vital. Since not all skincare is made equally, some products may still use chemicals such as phthalates and parabens that can damage the skin.
You'll see better skin results by following the steps to boost skincare absorption.