Our skin is susceptible to many irritants that sometimes don’t even cross our minds. It’s not necessarily just things that come into direct contact with the skin, such as makeup, laundry detergent and sunlight. Sometimes elements in the air, a specific environment and even the food we consume have similar unsavory effects on the skin. However, properly measuring just how things like additives and solvents can negatively impact the different components of the skin can be difficult.
Swedish researchers were recently interested in how to accurately figure out just how to measure the effects of molecules from specific solvents that exist in medicated ointments, cleaning products and even skin creams. These solvents don’t have a generally good interaction with the skin’s own molecules and researchers went on a specific quest to figure out how to gauge and quantify these interactions.
In the study, they isolated molecules that interfere with the skin directly and observed exactly how the skin would react to them. There is only a small amount of molecules of the skin that exist in a fluid state. Other molecules are important as they help to determine things like barrier function and molecular elasticity. The researchers found that they were able to detect specific variances and fluctuations based on different solvents that were exposed to the skin. They were also able to pinpoint how the added molecules were affected by the overall interactions.
“These types of measurements have not been done before,” said a professor at the Department of Chemistry at Lund University. “Our results complement previous studies that have measured how molecules penetrate the skin under different conditions. Our contribution is that we have now increased our understanding of how molecules – both added components and skin molecules – are affected by each other,” states a professor at the Department of Chemistry at Lund University.
It depends on how the active molecules penetrate the skin. Something like a medicated ointment or a skin cream can make the skin softer and smoother while having disinfectant properties that don’t harm the overall markers of the skin. However, despite these positive results, depending on their level of solvents or additives, they can also negatively impact the skin on a micro level not feasibly seen or noticed by the individual.
Obviously, in other cases, the negative effects are much more obvious as the skin has negative reactions to some components of the entity. It can be anything from ingredients that affect the skin on a macro level to the packaging of the product. Skin can be deeply sensitive and we tend to think that if we don’t recognize a symptom or an issue right away then it isn’t reacting to what it’s exposed to. That’s not always the case. Sometimes the reactions happen on a much more microscopic level.
It’s important to have a much more cohesive and complete understanding of how molecular mechanisms can and do completely alter and affect the skin, whether in the negative or positive sense. This is why it’s incredibly imperative that you know exactly what type of ingredients are in the products that you expose your skin to. Even if your skin doesn’t have a strong reaction, sometimes the simplest solvents can be harmful or compromising to your skin’s molecular makeup. Always be cognizant of this fact and do your research before using a product for a long period of time to prevent this from occurring.