How Environment Influences Skin Barriers

Researchers now have an explanation for how the environment impacts skin changes. Results from the Faculty of Science at Lund University in Sweden show that the skin regulates itself based on air conditions. These new insights on how skin functions are always of interest to us.

The skin’s outer layer is described as a thin, film like barrier. They found that this outer layer changes properties, allowing more or less water to penetrate its surface, depending on whether the surrounding air is moist or dry. The mechanism for such changes occurs on a molecular level. What’s fascinating is how the skin regulates itself based on the environment. Changes in the nanostructure inside the skin’s barrier film were examined using X-ray and microscopy.

The researchers also found that properties of secondary barrier films such as skin cream play a role. “A layer of skin cream can serve as an additional barrier that can open or close due to changes in humidity. The cream can also be designed so as to release its active substance better or worse, depending on whether the air is dry or humid,” says Emma Sparr, who led the study with Dr. Kevin Roger.

It’s interesting to know that by changing external conditions, such as humidity levels, it’s possible to affect the barrier function. While this may all sound rather geeky, knowing what lets more molecules through is of practical use when formulating a skin care product. The science behind such research also guides us on how best to recommend usage of our products.

Understanding the science behind how the skin regulates itself and how substances penetrate the skin can lead to healthy skin benefits. It’s an example of the awesome power of science and nature working together for better skin care solutions.

Learn To Understand Your Product Labels

REPOST We are reposting this article because we feel it is filled with basic 101 tips that can help you learn about your skincare products.

Before putting any skin care product on your body, read the label. You may trust the product’s reputation or be lured by beautiful packaging, but reading product labels will tell you what ingredients are included, if it is recyclable; where it was packaged, manufactured or distributed, and proper usage. One or all of these things might matter to you in a significant way. Take a few minutes before buying and make reading skin care product labels a good habit.

The list of ingredients should matter to everyone, not just those with sensitive skin or people prone to allergic reactions. If you are looking for a particular benefit from the skin care product, such as moisturizing properties, look for ingredients known to moisturize. If you want to avoid synthetics (petroleum/chemical based) ingredients
look for botanicals containing plant-based nutrients. The order in which ingredients are listed is important. The highest concentrations are listed first, the lowest last. The right amount of active ingredients in the skin care product is essential to get the results you are looking for.

If you want eco-friendly skin care products that won’t harm the environment during production, use, and disposal, read the label. Overcrowded landfills may be one concern of yours but also think about what you are washing down the drain everyday. Do not dispose of nail polish, polish remover, or medication in your sinks. Water systems and the life that depends on it may be affected. Clogged pipes are another reason for not washing toxins down the sink.

Packaging and containers for lip balm, soaps, lotions, body wash, shaving cream and hand lotion are just some of the materials that can be recycled. Look for “recyclable” on the label.

Where a skin care product is packaged, manufactured, or distributed may be another concern. Some people want only products made in the U.S.A. Some don’t want to invest in products from countries that don’t adhere to stringent quality controls, decent wages for their workers, or environmental controls. If these things are important to you look at how and where the product is manufactured.

Who knows better than the manufacturer how the product is best used? Some times you can find some great skin care tips. Look to see if there are any warnings about use. If you are concerned about the safety of a product do an online search, relying only on the most reputable sources such as Mayo Clinic. If you have sensitive skin or allergies, always do a test on your skin before lathering it all over your body.

Read the label if you want to be intentional about your skin care product purchases. It’s a small thing that can help you feel good about your decision.

Did I miss anything? Let me know what you look for on a skin care product label.

Below is a NO list that was compiled by Thorne Organics that we thought was an excellent reference source to help you when checking your skin care product labels.

1. Animal Testing
2. Animal B-Products
3. Artificial Colors
4. Artficial Fragrances
5. Benzene
6. Bisphenol A
7. Dimethicone
9. Formaldehyde
10. Gluten
11. GMO’s
12. Hydrogenated Oils
13. MEA-,DEA-, or TEA(Triethanolmine)
14. Mineral Oil
15. Parabens
16. Petrolatum
17. Plastic/Phthalates
18. PVC’s
19. PEG’s 1,4-Dioxane
20. Silicates
21. Silicones
22. (SLS) Sodium Sulfates or Laureth Sulfates
23. Wheat