When choosing a product our focus mainly goes to the presence of positive ingredients, also called “the actives”. Actives such as the iconic peptides, the holy niacinamide and the blessed hyaluronic acid
We apply an impressive arsenal of time-fighting products on our skin: a day cream, a night cream, a sunscreen, a serum, a mask, a tonic, a scrub, a peeling, and so on. We need them desperately to maintain our reflection in the mirror unchanged.
When choosing a product our focus mainly goes to the presence of positive ingredients, also called “the actives”. Actives such as the iconic peptides, the holy niacinamide and the blessed hyaluronic acid.
The choice for a cosmetic product is also influenced by negative ingredients: blacklisted ingredients. Ingredients such as the criminal parabens, the scandalous silicones, and the notorious mineral oil.
They need to be avoided at all cost. All these ingredients, positive and negative, enjoy a tremendous amount of attention on social media and internet. And then, there are shadow ingredients.
Ingredients that seldom get any attention, but that are secretly crucial for the success of a cream.
Indeed, you cannot just make a cream with peptides and vitamins alone. They need to be incorporated in a base, a vehicle. It turns out that this quite boring base, this base that never receives any attention, determines whether an active is performing or not.
An active is interesting for the skin only if it can penetrate and reach the appropriate skin site. Penetrating the skin is easier said than done; the skin is a solid barrier. Therefore, actives cannot penetrate fast. They need time to become available to the skin. This is precisely where the base comes into the picture, as the base has a serious influence on the skin-availability of active ingredients.
When applying a gel on the skin, the water with actives touches the skin. The warm skin evaporates the water in just a few minutes. Most of the precious actives crystalises on the skin surface and can never penetrate. Only 6.9% from allantoin penetrates from a gel into the skin (1). A gel is like a quick kiss on the skin.
When applying an O/W-emulsion on the skin, the water with actives still touches the skin and evaporates, but the oil hinders the evaporation. The actives are longer available to the skin and therefore they can penetrate better. 15.4% allantoin penetrates from a standard O/W emulsion (1).
When applying a W/O emulsion, water is not the first to touch the skin, but oil. In this oil the water with actives are imprisoned and cannot escape. The water with actives stay longer on the skin. Actives have now a much greater chance of penetration. 20% from the allantoin penetrates through a W/O emulsion into the skin (1). A W/O emulsion is like an intense, passionate kiss on the skin.
The best choice from performance point of view is to go for W/O-vehicles. Unfortunately, this passionate kiss might feel greasy unless performed by an excellent kisser, such as NEOCARE P3R.
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(1) Sznitowska and Janicki, The effect of vehicle on allantoin penetration into human skin from an ointment for improving scar elasticity. Pharmazie 43 (1988)