Are you tampering with nature by moisturizing your skin?

edited February 2014 in Root
MKN says…I am a sixty-five year old male who has been his wife’s hair colorist for most of the 42 years we have been married. I have slightly better taste in women’s fashion than she tho’ we almost always agree on her clothing purchases. She almost always solicits my advise on cosmetic purchases; and again […] Are you tampering with nature by moisturizing your skin?


  • Perry,

    You said, "A: The protein matrix of which you speak is in the lower levels of the skin. The occlusives sit on the surface. So the matrix can’t “squeeze out” something that’s located layers of skin above."

    Lower levels, really? I don't think so.

    The keratin filament matrices are located in corneocytes in the stratum corneum, the most superficial layers of the epidermis:

    The stratum corneum, the outer layer of mammalian skin, provides a remarkable barrier to the external environment, yet it has highly variable permeability properties where it actively mediates between inside and out. On prolonged exposure to water, swelling of the corneocytes (skin cells composed of keratin intermediate filaments) is the key process by which the stratum corneum controls permeability and mechanics.

  • MKN, thanks for providing the article which you had referenced earlier. Since we hadn't seen this before, Perry and I made the assumption your were referring to skin structures which existed deeper in the epidermis. Thanks for correcting us!

    I've read the abstract and, although I'm unable to access the full study, it appears the authors are discussing the mechanism by which skin swells when it is saturated with water (in other words, why your fingers and toes turn "pruney" after soaking in the bath.) Fortunately, occlusive agents don't provide this degree of saturation so we don't have to worry about getting pruney skin from our moisturizers.     
  • Randy,

    You said that since you and Perry had not read the journal article to which I had referred in my first post on this thread, you and he had  "made the assumption your were referring to skin structures which existed deeper in the epidermis."

    Really? To what structures and in what stratum of the epidermis did you think I was referring. I would appreciate your answering with the technical name of the structure and stratum, please.

    To assist you please refer back to my original post in which I referred to a "protein matrix that expands to absorb water and then—-unsurprisingly—–contracts to squeeze it out." 

    Now you acknowledge that this matrix is comprised within corneocytes within the stratum corneum. Consequently, you and Perry are making the claim that there exists at least one other protein matrix that performs this function in a lower stratum of the epidermis.

    What is this structure called and where in the epidermis is it?


  • MKN: I've already acknowledged that I made a mistake and I thanked you for providing additional information on skin structure. (FYI, I'm a cosmetic chemist, not a biologist or dermatologist, and there's plenty that I DON'T know about skin structure.) 

    Perry and I are here to help people think critically about beauty products; hopefully we can do that in a way that is both informative and entertaining. I really don't see how continuing to debate the origins of my mistake benefits the rest of the Beauty Brains community. Thank you for understanding.     

  • I reject your accusation that I am debating with you or Perry about anything and the implication that I am otherwise beating a dead horse. On the contrary, you and Perry alone are responsible for keeping this thread alive.

    To wit:

    I started this thread under "Temporal effectiveness of occlusive," on February 20th; Perry promptly responded the same day; I asked a few follow up questions the same day; and Perry responded again on February 21st. And that ended the thread; or so I thought.

    Inexplicably, Perry resurrected this thread on February 28 under "Are you tampering with nature by moisturizing your skin? " But instead of posting our entire dialogue on February 20 and 21, he repeated only my original question and his original answer, including the assertion that "The protein matrix of which you speak is in the lower levels of the skin. " In response, I pointed out the protein matrix which controls skin hydration was comprised within corneocytes in stratum corneum.

    Rather than just admitting that you and Perry were in error in asserting that the protein matrix was comprised in a lower layer of the epidermis, you claimed that you and he thought I was referring to another structure, which I regarded as implausible.

    MK bottom line:  I have admitted that all that I know about organic chemistry is how to spell "organic" and "chemistry." I also admitted in my February 20 rejoinder to Perry that he was the scientist and that I am zip. A responsible debate occurs between subject matter experts with the same degree of expertise. I would not dare to debate you and Perry. Still and all, I asked a few questions in good faith about the efficacy of moisturizers to two cosmetic chemists who had presumably formulated skin moisturizers and who would thereby out of necessity know something about skin hydration physiology, which clearly Perry and you know. But perhaps I presumed too much.

    I am not pandering here but I do believe that you and Perry are providing an invaluable service; both of you hammer home incessantly the message that cosmetics of comparable efficacy can be purchased at 1/10th, 1/50th, if not less the cost of cosmetics with ingredients like botanicals and vitamins that essentially do little or nothing. My questions about the efficacy and possible harmful effects of occlusives were asked in line with that mission. Alas, I wonder if your message is falling on deaf ears. I should say more accurately that I SPECULATE that the vast majority of your readers have turned off the volume to that message because I have not found in their posts any evidence that your message----incessant and loud and clear----has resulted in any appreciable reduction in the amount your readers spend on cosmetics. (As soon as I found your wonderful site, I concluded that your target audience ought to be husbands and not their wives.) Like any good scientist or in my case a fan of science, all of my conclusions are tentative and provisional and subject to even radical change upon presentment of evidence---perhaps a poll?----that proves that by reading the label on cosmetics, your readers have changed their buying habits.

  • @mknjlaw - While it might seem that our readers aren't listening, we get emails (from women) that tell us we've changed their buying habits.  Anecdotal evidence for sure, but enough evidence that encourages us to continue our efforts.

    Thanks for participating in the forum.

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