Skin Absorption and Natural Soap Most people take soap for granted. They think that as long as soap keeps you clean from dirt and bacterias it’s fine and there is not much to it. But there is so much more going on in one of the most often repeated ritual we all do every day - using soap and cleansing products. Think about it. How many times a day you use soap. How much soap do you use in a month? Now think about this. Human skin is the largest organ in the body and although many people think that skin is absorption proof, skin is virtually a breathing barrier that protects your body from environment, but it also absorbs and releases things from outside of the body. One example is nicotine patch. It’s a patch that through person’s skin slowly inject nicotine in bloodstream. There are many other well-known examples of using skin’s ability to absorb elements from outside. But we normally don’t think about how careful we should be about applying various chemicals to our skin especially considering that we could be doing it everyday or several times daily.
Did you know that there is soap with caffeine in it to give you almost the extra morning boost just as a cup of coffee does. Somehow it doesn’t sound too healthy. And a cup of coffee is probably a much better option.
Of course one might say that when using soap it is almost immediately washed away. And it is true, normally we don’t have soap on our skin for such long periods as a person would be caring a nicotine patch. But we don’t apply nicotine patch to the whole body either. And of course, doesn’t matter how well you rinse, not 100% of the soap is always washed away. There are still small amounts of soap left on our skin even after we leave a shower.
So next time when you go to your shower think about the diet that you have your skin on. Is it all healthy, or is it more like junk-food full of chemicals, preservatives and potentially dangerous things that can accumulate with years of use?
Obviously natural and especially organic natural soap will “feed” your skin natural ingredients and if it will leave any traces behind, they will be very mild and natural. Natural soap doesn’t just leave you with a great feeling skin, it is also a great peace of mind.
How Essential Oils Enter the Body
There are three paths that essential oils can enter into the body:
absorption through the surface of the skin
inhalation through the olfactory system
The optimum way for the body to absorb the therapeutic qualities of essential oils is through a combination of inhalation and dermal absorption which can be achieved through massage and bathing.
When essential oils are inhaled, the molecules rise to the top of the nose and meet the olfactory mucous membrane. The olfactory membrane has thousands of receptors that identify the smell and thus, the sensory stimulation is sent through the olfactory bulb, which acts as an amplifier, through the olfactory nerve into the limbic system of the brain. This is the oldest area of the brain. It deals with emotional and psychological responses. The limbic system is triggered by nerve impulses. The scent is compared to a known scent, compared and labeled, thus we can have memories associated with the scent information and react emotionally and physically through our autonomic nervous system. These responses are determined by the specific qualities of the essential oil being used, and can range from relaxing to stimulating. The nerve impulse in the limbic system leads to other areas of the brain that are responsible for secreting hormones and regulating body functions. The entire process from the initial inhalation of the oil to corresponding gland secretion takes place in a matter of seconds. Therefore, a simple inhalation can cause changes in the body from stimulating the immune system, to initiating the digestive system into action and so on.
The skin is relatively permeable to fat soluble substances and relatively impermeable to water soluble substances. Essential oil molecules are so minute that when they are applied to the skin; they are able to pass through the strateum corneum (the outer layer of the epidermis). From here the oil molecule passes through dermis, into the capillaries and into the bloodstream. Absorption also occurs through the hair follicles and sweat ducts. There are many factors that effect absorption of an oil molecule. Both rate of circulation and the warmth of the skin increase blood flow to the surface, therefore increasing the skin’s ability to absorb the oil. Circulation and warmth can be increased by massage. The larger the area of skin that is covered, the more essential oils will be absorbed. The permeability of the skin is also a factor. Thinner skin ie: skin behind the ears and the inside of the wrists are very permeable. The palms of the hands and feet, armpits and scalp will more readily absorb oil molecules than the arms, legs, belly, back etc. Oils are also easily absorbed through cuts, scraps and abrasions, burns, excema etc.
Having clean skin is also beneficial as the skins pores will be clean and free of dirt, which may impede absoption.
The other factor to consider when applying essential oils to the skin is the viscosity of the carrier oil in which the oil is diluted. Sweet Almond and Grapeseed Oil are less viscous and will penetrate the skin more easily than Olive or Avocado oils, which are thicker.
Studies show that taking essential oils internally is the least effective way to absorb their therapeutic properties. The oil ends up in the digestive tract where it has to pass through the stomach and small intestine before it reaches the bloodsteam. From there the oil molecules which, by now have been chemically altered by the materials they have come into contact with in the stomach and intestine; will reach the liver, pancreas, reproductive organs and eventually be excreted via the kidneys, bladder and large intestine. It is not advised to ever take essential oils internally unless under the direct advise of a medical doctor who is also a Registered Aromatherapist.
not me this is a ad i found online below...
I spoke with one of my new customers at the farmer’s market today about salt bars. She said she had tried one before and it raised her blood pressure. I wondered about that… Really makes you realize how much your skin absorbs – and why it’s so great to use handmade soaps and lotions!
I found a great article about this at EcoVoice.com. Here are some excerpts:
Our skin, the largest eliminatory organ in the body and our first line of immunity, is permeable to all chemicals. Medical research shows that significant amounts of cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogenic substances, penetrate the skin and end up in the blood stream. Many chemicals in cosmetics don’t cause obvious signs of toxicity on the skin but slowly poison us thorough repeated use.
This makes perfect sense too:
Today, the administration of drugs and medicines is often through transdermal skin patches. This has been shown to be up to 95% more effective than oral medication. However, cosmetic manufacturers are not supposed to claim that the skin absorbs their products. If they did the products would be labelled a drug and governed by much stricter regulations.
This is both good and bad for us. Good because it means our skin can be fed, nourished and treated from the outside with some wonderful substances.
Yes! Like fresh goat’s milk soaps, Jojoba-Shea lotions without petroleum products…
Bad because it means we can absorb commonly used cosmetic ingredients that would never be allowed to be taken orally as a food or drug, through our skin.
Want to see what you’re putting on your skin? Check out the Skin Deep cosmetic database. It has the ingredients that go into most of the personal care products on the market with a toxicity rating for each one. Pretty interesting stuff!
Les' Serendipity Soaps and Essentials aka (Les' Serendipity Co) These products are not intended to treat, cure, prevent or mitigate any diseases. Statements made on this web site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to treat any diseases.