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It is estimated that people in the United States spend around 33 billion dollars a year on cosmetic products. A large chunk of this profit is dedicated to facial creams, cleansers, and moisturizers. One of the main reasons why we spend all this money on these products is to look more attractive or to look younger. You can’t turn on a TV or open a magazine without seeing an advertisement for the newest and latest facial product. Women magazines write full articles telling you the benefits of buying moisturizers and creams with antioxidants, enzymes, peptides, retinoids, and vitamins A, C, D, K. And like so many people I believed in all of it, I can’t tell you how many times I fell for an info commercial on some product that was going to make the wrinkles around my eyes go away and make my skin glow. I would have still been spending money on all this stuff if I had never taken Anatomy & Physiology.
One of the many topics covered in the physiology portion of Anatomy & Physiology is how skin works. The integumentary system includes skin, hair, nails, and cutaneous (skin) glands. Your skin is made up of two layers the epidermis (the visible layer) and the dermis (below the epidermis). The type of tissue that the epidermis is made up of is called stratified squamous epithelium. One of the major functions of stratified squamous epithelium is protection because it’s made up of nice thick cells it makes since this would make up the top layer of skin. The epidermis is your first line of defense and protects you from bacteria, fungi, water loss, water gain, and abrasions. Some things can penetrate the epidermis, anything lipid soluble like estrogen cream, and hydrocortisone cream are both examples of steroids. Also, organic solvents like acetone and car fluids can pass through the epidermis as well as heavy metals like lead, mercury, and nickel.
The main thing that you have to understand is if the substance you are putting on your face is not lipid soluble then it’s just staying there on the first layer of your epidermis which is called the stratum corneum. It has no way of going through the epidermis or the dermis and eventually into your blood. For example Antioxidants it’s a term thrown around all the time to promote creams, food, and juices but did you know that too many antioxidants can cause damage or even kill cells studies have shown that antioxidants have no true effect on the body. Another popular one is peptides but peptides are chains of amino acids which are not lipid soluble so they render no effect on your skin. Now I’m not saying that all lotions are useless you need moisture on the epidermis so that it does not crack and then you are prone to infection. What I am saying is that all these gimmicks to increase collagen and cell production are lies and the only way you can increase collagen is by injecting it. And let’s say a cream says it has vitamin C in it (side note: vitamin C has no effect in supporting the immune system) most vitamins are fat soluble meaning the vitamins in the cream will not affect your skin. I’m not downing vitamins though it’s just you will get more out of eating vitamins and I don’t mean pill form but by eating foods high in daily essential vitamins.
You may be asking well if none of these face creams work then what do I use on my skin? The answer is simple petroleum jelly or Vaseline. Now you don’t want to use it every day one because it’s greasy looking on the face and two it can clog your pores leading to pimples. But if you can find a lotion or face cream with the same ingredients as Vaseline but does not leave your face being greasy then that’s good too.