Why does skin care matter?

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Skin awareness and seasonal

Why does skin care matter?

What ends up where and how?


The absorption of active ingredients through the skin is an exciting topic. Is it worth applying cream or do skin care products only act on the surface of the skin? And can potentially harmful ingredients also be unintentionally introduced through the natural skin barrier?

Our skin as an organ of absorption

Every living being has its own individual ecosystem. Within this system, there are many factors that determine overall function and well-being. Therefore, each organ can demonstrate in its own unique way whether it is doing well – and the same is true for our skin, the largest organ in the human body.

How is the skin cared for regularly? What external influences is it exposed to over the years? What is the state of health of the other organs that have an influence on the skin? In addition to these three aspects, many other things also influence the condition and receptivity of our skin. And does everything we use in cosmetics actually enter our organism directly through the blood?

The fact is that scientific research to date confirms the assumption that some of the active ingredients applied are absorbed through the skin and can therefore also enter our blood.

How can substances penetrate our skin? 













Source: Anjamakie, Transportwege durch das Sc, CC BY-SA 3.0


There are basically four routes for the absorption of active ingredients via the skin

Between the individual skin cells (intercellular) or through the skin cells (transcellular). Or via the sweat or sebaceous glands (transglandular) or via hair roots (transfollicular). This means that the skin surface can be used as a transport route for various active ingredients and substances that enter the bloodstream through the skin. Many are familiar with pain or hormone patches, for example, precisely the way in which this possibility is used.

Or the use of ultrasound or iontophoresis in cosmetic treatments, precisely through which this transport ability is improved again in order to reach deep skin layers.


What does the absorption of active ingredients through the skin depend on?

Whether certain active ingredients can penetrate the protective skin barrier depends on various factors. These include:

  • physicochemical properties of the active ingredients, such as molecular weight and concentration as well as the composition of the cosmetic product.
  • condition of the skin barrier, skin region and duration of contact with the skin


Are there any scientific studies on the absorption of active ingredients through the skin?

To be honest: “Not enough for me because it’s complicated!”

In the past, most of the studies conducted on the topic of “absorption via the skin” were based on laboratory tests with animals. Unfortunately, there are countries, such as China, where such animal testing is still common.  Unethical for any animal lover like me and furthermore always only an approximation of the possibilities of human skin. Today, therefore, “laboratory skin” is mostly used – a cell system reconstructed from collagen and human epidermal cells as a skin substitute. This allows us to research and learn more about important parameters such as the effect, tolerability or absorption of active ingredients in the skin and body.

A lot of money for research in this area also comes from the cosmetics industry. For example, much has been achieved in recent years through the development of so-called transport molecules. They bind to the active ingredient and thus transport it through the skin barrier, precisely to where it is supposed to exert its effect – a system that we have also made use of in our skin care products.

Therefore, it is clearly proven that the daily care of our skin is indeed sensible and necessary to keep our largest organ healthy and beautiful. The right care products with valuable natural oils and modern, effective power ingredients strengthen the skin barrier and the protective acid mantle. In addition, care should replenish, moisturise and nourish – or improve skin problems.

With today’s knowledge, it should go without saying that we should avoid using potentially harmful kerosene oils (cheap oils made from by-products from the petroleum industry) or questionable preservatives such as parabens because as we learned before, unfortunately these can also enter our bodies through the skin.

Don’t forget this: every care product must always be tailored to your skin type or skin problem. In order to make the right choice here, we would like to invite you for a free skin analysis in the Hautzentrum Wien.


Dear friends and all those interested in skin,

I know it is an exciting yet complex topic but again and again I hear from my patients the reasonable question as to whether the whole “skin care mania” is justified at all or perhaps exaggerated? I hope to have brought a little clarity and information for you with my contribution – this time not only from the world of dermatology but also from the world of science.

Yours, Dr. Sabine Schwarz