The Good, The Bad, But No Ugly

The price increase announced by Rhonda Allison Skin Care was not really a surprise since we all have been impacted by supply chain issues, out of stock items and increased costs. I want you to know that this is not an across the board increase, but rather a project that entailed a review of the actual costs associated with the manufacture of each product. I love RA products because they are so versatile and can be adapted to almost any skin. I hope that you too love RA and will continue to support this great company – and me!

Because of changes in our pricing, I thought you might like to know what actually happens when you apply your skin care products.

If you’re like me, you won’t be putting down your favorite products anytime soon because there’s joy and relaxation in your a.m. and p.m. skincare applications. It’s a welcomed ritual that helps start and close our day, but beyond the”feel good” benefits, we can’t help wondering what’s happening during each slather and mist. From cleanser to SPF, every product plays a crucial part in achieving our skincare goals, but what actually happens to our favorite formulas once applied? 

To understand what happens to our skincare products once applied, and without getting too technical, first we need to understand how the skin works. Skin is our largest multifunctional organ and operates as our protective barrier against harmful foreign substances in the environment.

The skin is made up of three layers: At the top, we have the epidermis, known as the waterproof barrier. Without that barrier, we would blow up like a sponge when we get into an tub, shower or pool. Also important to note that within the top layer is the area which is made up of dead skin cells arranged like tiles on a roof, overlapping one another and glued together with fatty acids. (Minimizing those sticky dead skin cells is why we exfoliate.)The middle layer of the skin is where elastin, collagen, connective tissue, blood vessels, hair follicles, and sweat glands reside. That’s why we “feed” our skin to encourage it to make more collagen and elastin. And finally, the bottom layer of the skin is the innermost layer of the skin that comprised of fat and connective tissue.

 It’s important to note that skin is not a sponge. Not everything penetrates into lower layers of the skin. Most topical skincare products work primarily on the skin’s surface.

Then why does our skin feel like it’s absorbing (that sinking-in sensation you feel) after applying our products? 

While “absorption” means that something has made its way into the bloodstream, skincare “penetration” means an ingredient has made its way through that layer of dead, stuck together skin cells into the deeper layers of the skin. When it comes to skincare, penetration is the goal so that the active ingredients can work to hydrate and fortify the skin while remaining in the targeted skin layer for maximum efficacy.

Product penetration can be tricky because of those sticky dead skin cells which are also water-repellent. Skincare products consist of a lot of water because it’s the most effective way to dissolve and dilute active ingredients.

To get through that water resistant layer, penetration enhancers are added. These ingredients penetrate the skin and decrease the skin’s innate barrier resistance. In doing so, they allow other ingredients to enter the deeper layer along with them.

Our skincare products come in many ways; thin serums and thick and creamy moisturizers. These products penetrate the skin differently because of their differing molecule size.

Ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid can easily penetrate the skin’s top layer since they have smaller molecular size. But some ingredients have larger molecular size, which means they can’t penetrate the skin and will end up sitting on the surface of the skin. That’s not to say that these ingredients aren’t beneficial—they can seal the skin and give a hydrating effect, improving our outer skin texture.

Here’s where things get a bit dicey. There are some beauty ingredients that manage to infiltrate both the circulatory and lymphatic systems. To achieve this feat, molecules need to be ultra-small, and have both hydrophilic (water) and hydrophobic (oil) components that increase their solubility. Retinol is an example of a bloodstream-entering ingredient which is why pregnant and nursing women should avoid using it entirely. 

Certain ingredients in chemical sunscreens, such as avobenzone and oxybenzone, have also been found to absorb directly into the bloodstream—as well as chemical molecules like parabens and phthalates that mimic hormones and are distributed throughout the body. 

The effect of chronic chemical exposure on our body is unknown, but is a great reason to use a physical sun block like Rhonda Allison’s eZinc or Daily Defense, each containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.