Does our skin always absorb what we put on it?

Have you heard that “fact” that says what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream within 26 seconds? I heard it for years, and I would knowingly use toxic shave cream and body wash and frantically rinse it off before my 26 second in-my-head countdown went off!

Now that I’m more educated on what is safe for our skin, lungs and other organs, I can’t help but laugh at the sheer lunacy of my in-shower ritual.  There is an idea in the clean beauty industry that EVERYTHING we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and causes dire health consequences. And that’s simply not true.

 

WHAT IS THE ABSORPTION CAPACITY OF OUR SKINCARE PRODUCTS?

The everyday product I’m most passionate about helping others switch to safer is SKINCARE. Why? Because the average woman uses 12 products on her skin daily which can contain upwards of 100 different chemicals – most of them with little to no safety testing and many of them with proven harmful effects such as immunotoxicity, hormonal imbalance, reproductive/fetal harm, infertility, PCOS, autoimmunity, and cancer. 

 

While 100% of every chemical we put on our skin does NOT reach the bloodstream, many chemicals have UP TO a 60-70% absorption rate (some have a 0% absorption rate or will only be absorbed if skin is broken – i.e. a cut, scrape or open blemish). Each chemical we apply to our skin has a varying penetration and absorption rate. Some chemicals in presence of others increase absorption rate and broken skin significantly will increase rates as well. Molecule size affects the ability of products to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which is why there are certain chemicals we don’t have to worry about being absorbed like gluten (the molecule size in it’s non-hydrolyzed state is too large to penetrate the skin barrier) and silicone (which creates a barrier blocking absorption but can also clog pores). 

 

Think you’re completely immune to what goes on your skin entering your bloodstream though? I ignored the facts for years until I read countless studies showing correlative and causative links between the ingredients I was putting on my skin and my chronic health issues that DO NOT RUN IN MY FAMILY. I recommend using PubMed to do your own research too (search words like “phthalate”, “paraben”, “triclosan” “personal care products”) to find science-backed articles examining these particular chemicals. 

 

In fact, phthalates are one of the most heavily studied environmental toxins used widely in the personal care industry with dangerous health effects documented in hundreds of studies worldwide. Not only do their metabolites show up in your urine, but men with higher concentrations of phthalate metabolites in their urine also demonstrated decreased total sperm count and concentration as well as altered sperm morphology.

 

IF YOU WANT TO NERD OUT, HERE ARE 38 ARTICLES ON PHTHALATES EFFECTS JUST ON MALE SPERM AND FERTILITY.

 

 

HOW QUICKLY CAN WE DETOX THESE CHEMICALS OUT?

 

Did you ever see this ABC news segment showcasing the lab work results for the anchor who eliminated toxic chemicals from her skincare/makeup routine? Within less than a week of eliminating her previous products, her lab work showed a significant decrease in levels of harmful chemicals.

 

In a separate study, in just 3 days teenage girls who eliminated toxic personal care products saw a  significant reduction in the concentration of hormone-disrupting chemicals in their urine. Our bodies have several mechanisms for proper detox and methylation – they just need a break from the daily load in order to regain efficiency. Trust me, your internal organs will thank you for the support! We live in a toxic world and many of the toxins we simply can’t avoid (i.e. Round-Up impacts all of our air quality not just farmer’s), but the ones that touch our skin… we have an immediate ability to say “No” and choose better.

 

THE (HARD TO HEAR) FACTS

  • More than 200 chemicals have been found in the body of nearly all Americans – including newborn infants – and the majority of them have toxic or potentially toxic effects. These chemicals are frequently absorbed via the skin and respiratory system.

  • 16 different hormone-disrupting chemicals, linked to early puberty, hormonal imbalances, reproductive concerns, PCOS and more, were found in the bodies of teenage girls

  • Currently, more than 85,000 chemicals are registered for use in the marketplace with the vast majority of them with little to no safety testing

  • Only 2% of the chemicals in the marketplace have been verified for safe use on children

 

WHY I CHOSE BEAUTYCOUNTER OVER OTHER SAFER CLEAN BEAUTY BRANDS WHEN I WAS MAKING THE SWITCH

 

The clean beauty industry is growing rapidly which means there are plenty of safer options in the marketplace now. You can’t even walk down the beauty aisle of Wal-Mart without seeing packages adorned with green leaves and words like “all-natural” which hold no industry regulation. Greenwashing, or the marketing industry’s slippery tendency to use words, colors and images that mislead consumer’s to believe their products are “healthy” is a whole OTHER topic though.

 

The reason I personally support Beautycounter and joined their mission as a Consultant is because they set the bar high for industry safety standards. Our headquarters also works tirelessly to lobby for stricter regulation at the federal and state level – so we’re not just changing the industry with our products but with legislation too. I wanted to be able to provide my audience a solution to the very real problems I was presenting; a solution that I trusted, loved using myself and have been using on myself and my kid (soon to be kids) for over two years now, nearly exclusively.

 

Beautycounter’s strict ingredient screening (from source to finished product), contaminant and heavy metal testing, and commitment to only using ingredients they feel confident will not have a harmful effect on human, animal or environmental health is bar none. I’ve never found another makeup company that tests for heavy metals – let alone TRIPLE tests for them in every single batch. I find it empowering each day I’m applying my lipstick or foundation that I know *not just am guessing* my makeup has been tested this stringently.

And what makes every lifestyle change more doable? If you love what you’re doing or using! Think of how much easier it is to make a healthy dietary switch when you’re armed with the best-tasting recipes or starting a new fitness routine when the activity gives you joy! Same goes for personal care products – and Beautycounter has made the switch to safer so much easier for me because the products PERFORM like all my old toxic faves that I had so much fun playing with!

 

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