Over the course of the last century, we have seen the impact of synthetic chemicals on the world around us. We have been forced to understand that complex ecosystems don't respond to single chemicals in predictable ways ... when we spray DDT into an ecosystem to remove mosquitos, we succeed by killing the bulk of the small insects, but we will then start to see unintended consequences in the long term. Birds lay eggs with thin shells and fish accumulate DDT to toxic levels and so on. Although we achieve our short-term goals, the long-term effects are not easy to live with.
A person’s skin often has greater microbial diversity than their gut and skin is now viewed by scientists as an ecosystem. Human cells and microbes co-exist with both contributing to optimum skin health.
In 2015, a 3D molecular map of human skin chemistry was made for the first time. The subjects were asked to stop using all personal care products for three days to avoid contamination of the results. The assumption was that the majority of the skin chemistry would be from microbial origin and that the rest would be of human origin, with environmental chemicals making up a small but measurable portion.
The results didn't follow that pattern.
Products of microbial cells did indeed contribute twice what human cells did to the chemistry on skin. The surprise was that residues from personal care products contributed 8% of the measured chemistry.
The long-term effects of synthetic chemicals on the skin are not yet known but it seems unlikely that they would improve long-term ageing outcomes. This is why we have chosen to certify our products organic and to avoid chemicals that do not occur naturally.
Click here to view the full study: Molecular Map of Skin
Molecular cartography of the human skin surface in 3D
Amina Bouslimani et al.; PNAS Plus, March 6, 2015