Friday, May 13, 2011

Does Skin Really Breathe?

Do We Breathe Through Our Skin?

Many of us have seen the phrases associated with cosmetic and skincare products, "allows skin to breathe" or "won't allow skin to breathe" or "will oxygenate the skin." The last phrase is used to sell some skincare products by insinuating that the skin takes up oxygen or is somehow oxygenated giving a plumper, fuller look to the face.

I did an article many moons ago about this very thing on a product that claimed to do just that, but the reality is, it certainly falls short of being proven or actually accomplishing this miraculous feat. For those of you that may have missed this article Oxygenating Skin Creams - Do They Really Work?, take a peek and find out what is really nothing but marketing hype, which also includes an article in response to such claims provided by Dr. Benabio, Dermatologist. It is actually quite humorous. Plus you will learn what ingredient can and will create an oxygenation process on the skin which in turn helps to fight acne.

The other phrases are really more about conveying the function of ingredients and are more or less a metaphor for products that are not occlusive (pore clogging). I have even used these terms as a way to inform that many of our mineral makeup and skincare ingredients perform well without causing problems to skin, basically allowing skin to breathe....but this is not to be taken literally, only to metaphorically assure our customers that they shouldn't cause problems or pose health issues related to acneic conditions.

The term breathable has also been used based on many applications of skincare or pancake type makeup as being so heavy and thick that it makes women feel uncomfortable, as though they are weighing skin down, essentially a feeling as if they are suffocating their faces. That is why so many skincare applications are now being created with a lighter consistency, removing mineral oil and waxes by providing formulations which are feather light with herbal extracts and botanical ingredients, and why mineral makeup is also becoming so popular, due to how light it feels on the skin.....not as though you just applied a heavy layer of grease or oil to the face.

True Oxygenation Of Skin

The fact is, our skin receives its oxygen through our circulatory system which is provided by veins and capillaries under the skin, not through any product applied to our skin or by taking a walk out in the fresh air. The skins main function is to act as a protective barrier to our bodies, which also makes skin rather impermeable, and is why most OTC skincare and makeup products will not pass further than the epidermis. Nanotechnology on the other hand is another subject and is being created for delivery of medications through patches applied to the skin, but makeup and skincare products do not fall into this category due to the particle size of most ingredients.

This is similar to those that claim that applying something topically that doesn't allow our skin to breathe is also preventing our skin from releasing toxins from our bodies. Well the good news is, this is not the skins function to perform this task, but is the job for the liver and kidneys. The only toxins that your skin may release are those that are produced in the form of a bacterial function, such as those that suffer from acne or cystic acne. Clear the pore of dirt and debris, pore clogging sebum, and the bacterial toxin that is produced by propionibacterium acnes, and this will allow the pimple to heal.

If your skin can perspire, then your skin will breathe, metaphorically speaking. Makeup or skincare products will not prevent our skin from perspiring so this action helps to flush out dirt and debris which plugs pores, but only if we make sure to wash it all away. Allowing perspiration to sit on the face for prolonged periods can contribute further by blocking air flow, whereby experiencing a plugged pore. Headbands, hats and certain types of clothing contribute to acne issues by again blocking airflow to that part of the body.

That is really the gist of it.....nothing more, nothing less. Since the bacteria in acne is anaerobic, then oxygen is what kills it since oxygen is aerobic and is why the phrases are used to describe skincare and makeup products as "allows skin to breathe" with the emphasis that it won't cause acne.

So in short, our skin does not literally breathe and our skin is not a sponge of all things that come in contact with it, but a barrier that resists most things applied to it including being able to swim and stroll in the rain. I think that is also why many of us enjoy warm weather since we are able to wear as little clothing as possible, which literally feels good on our skin.....I don't know how many times I have said to myself, how great if feels to let my skin finally breathe after a long winter and have the sun warm my bones or a summer shower bathe me with cooling rain.

Have a lovely weekend!

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