The skin is a membrane uniquely structured to protect our bodies from environmental toxins. While highly sophisticated and incredibly protective, it is not impervious to micro molecules. At LINNÉ we see this as an opportunity to provide the body with desirable nutriment, and encourage the use of not only clean skincare, but clean fabrics, fragrances and cleaning supplies. We cannot control everything in our environment but perhaps understanding more about how chemicals behave will make us more aware and empowered by the choices we make.
There are three ways that chemicals can be absorbed into the skin: intracellular absorption, intercellular absorption, or follicular absorption. Thanks to the dense network of functionally dead cells in the stratum corneum, only tiny molecules are able to transport via intraceullular absorption. Larger molecules, namely oils, are able to absorb via the intercellular material as this substance is made of compositionally similar components such as fatty acids, cholesterols and ceramides. Lastly, pores and hair follicles provide a channel between the various layers of the skin. The pores and hair follicles represent only about 0.1% of the total surface of skin, so they are less likely to be the main avenues of skin absorption but they do provide a very direct route to the blood vessels in our deeper dermis. Any ingredient that makes it this far can have an effect on the structural tissues such as collagen and elastin as well. This is valuable when the desired function is to firm and plump skin but because those compounds can circulate into lymph and blood, it's essential that the ingredients absorbed are beneficial to the body as a whole. For better, or worse, product absorption is most significant on the face as it has the thinnest skin.
Because oils have a higher absorption rate as compared to water-soluble ingredients, it can be beneficial to not only choose healthy lipid sources (think organic, cold pressed, unrefined plant oils vs. petroleum sources) but to also blend your oils with water-soluble ingredients (hence why we advocate mixing RENEW with BALANCE or REPAIR). Essential oils and synthetic fragrances have some of the tiniest of molecules. Aware that they easily end up in our blood stream we thus use organic and wild-harvested sources that not only serve the skin on a topical level, but also indirectly support the skin by providing balance to organs and bodily systems.
Thanks to our detox organs, most chemicals can be filtered relatively quickly - yet some remain in our body for years! To learn more about some of these formidable ingredients and how to avoid them we recommend Environmental Working Group and Skin Deep database.
Feeling overwhelmed? I hope at the least we can provide you some comfort that the ingredients we choose are both gentle to you and the planet. Have any questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org