When it comes to discussing whether or not the ingredients you put on your skin can enter your bloodstream, there seems to be two camps of thought. One group tends to argue that yes, anything you put on your skin can and will eventually reach your bloodstream. The other argument suggests that your skin’s protective barrier is so effective that almost nothing can be absorbed deeply enough to ever reach your bloodstream. So what’s the answer? In short, it is much more complicated than a simple “yes or no” answer. For the longer, more detailed answer, read on.
How the Skin Barrier Works
First, we need to understand the components of the skin barrier and how it works. This barrier, called the stratum corneum, is the topmost layer of the epidermis, which is the outer layer of your skin. A substance called natural moisturizing factor, or NMF, exists in the stratum corneum and is specifically designed to help regulate which molecules are able to pass through into the deeper layers of your skin. NMF is primarily comprised of amino acids, although there is a mixture of natural lipids and fatty acids that also exists in the stratum corneum to aid in its barrier function and hydration . Beneath the epidermis is the middle layer of skin, called the dermis. This is where specialized cells called fibroblasts are located. These cells use amino acids to synthesize collagen and elastin, the fibrous proteins that give your skin its strong and supple structure. Thus, when you apply topical anti-aging products, they need to be able to pass through the skin barrier and epidermis in order to reach the dermis and be effective. However, just because a particular ingredient is able to reach the dermis does not necessarily mean that it will be able to travel into the hypodermis–the innermost layer of skin–and beyond via your bloodstream. In the same sense, though, it is possible that some ingredients could make it this far in the right conditions.
Formulation Is Key
As you can see, the skin is such a complex organ that it is difficult to say with any definitiveness whether or not a significant amount of topical products can reach your bloodstream. That said, we do know enough about the skin’s makeup that we can formulate certain products in such a way that will either encourage them to remain near your skin’s surface or penetrate more deeply into the dermis. Sunscreens, for instance, are specifically formulated to stay near the skin’s surface. Otherwise, they wouldn’t offer much UV protection. Anti-aging products that contain beneficial ingredients like amino acids and peptides, on the other hand, need to be properly formulated so that they are able to reach the dermis and therefore work to stimulate the production of collagen.
While there are valid arguments both for and against the idea that topical ingredients can make their way into your bloodstream, the reality is most likely somewhere in the middle. Ingredients that you put onto your skin do have a long way to go before they reach your bloodstream, but it isn’t entirely impossible for this to happen. If you’re concerned about possible side effects of skin care ingredients getting into your bloodstream, choose products that don’t contain harsh chemical ingredients that may have the potential to be unsafe if circulated. Because they are already abundant throughout your body and skin, amino acids are some of the safest, gentlest, and most effective ingredients in skin care . The bottom line is that there is still much to be learned about the inner workings of our skin. However, a growing body of research continues to uncover more information about the benefits of topically-applied amino acids for your skin. The fact that these ingredients are considered to be safe even if they were to enter your bloodstream is yet another reason why amino acids are poised to become the skin care solution of the future. If you’re interested in learning more about the latest research and news in amino acid skin care, and to receive exclusive offers on AminoGenesis products, sign up today to become an AminoGenesis Insider.