Skincare Fact vs. Fiction Day 1 – Should I Worry about Chemicals Absorbed Through my Skin?


In this first day of our five day series on Skincare Fact vs. Fiction we are examining the common claim that 60% of all “toxic chemicals” applied to the skin are absorbed into the skin within 28 seconds (or many similar variations).  In reality this is simply not true.

Our skin is a remarkable barrier against all sorts of external invaders such as bacteria and fungi, along with harmful environmental toxins and ultraviolet rays.  Using a system similar to a brick wall our outermost skin layer, the stratum corneum, not only protects from invasion from the outside, it protects us from excessive water loss from the interior of our body.

Extensive studies have been conducted regarding absorption rates of various chemicals into the bloodstream via the skin, with rates per hour varying from .008% to 3.5%.  While it is clear that some chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream, the much higher rates that are commonly quoted are clearly not true.  If we truly absorbed high rates of toxic chemicals through our skin we would all surely suffer from chlorine poisoning after swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool (not to mention blowing up like a puffer fish due to all the water we would absorb)!

Ongoing education and research is vitally important to ensure that our skincare products are safe and effective.  At Daisy G’s we use and support evidence based research and do not rely on unsupported claims and scare tactics.  We make every effort to be aware of the concerns of our customers and to offer solid research to support the safety and effectiveness of our products upon request.

The following articles were used as reference, and may be accessed without cost:

Brown, H. S., Bishop, D. R., & Rowan, C. A. (1984). The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. American Journal of Public Health, 74(5), 479–484.

Lee, S. H., Jeong, S. K., & Ahn, S. K. (2006). An Update of the Defensive Barrier Function of Skin. Yonsei Medical Journal, 47(3), 293–306.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
Skin Exposure and Effects