Whether exchanging leggings with bicycle shorts or skipping hot coffees for refreshing iced tea, people tend to prefer light items during the warmer months of the year. This also applies to skin care.
“During the summer, you want products that are lightweight, penetrate well, and do not clog the upper layers of the skin,” says New York-certified dermatologist Julie Russak, MD. In general, to achieve all three of these things, a skin care product needs to be absorbed quickly.
While the term is used quite often in the world of skin care – especially at this time of year, when “rapid absorption” is synonymous with avoiding sticky, sweaty skin – what it really means often remains unexplained. With that in mind, we spoke with two dermatologists and two cosmetic chemists to find out what makes a product absorb quickly, as well as why these products are especially beneficial in the summer. Keep reading to learn more.
The difference in rapid absorption
If you have ever applied a moisturizing face cream or body lotion that refused to sink, you have seen first hand that not all formulas are created equal in terms of how well they penetrate the skin. “Our skin is not a sponge where everything that is applied is absorbed,” says Krupa Koestline, a pure cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants.
This is largely due to molecular size. “In general, the larger molecules remain at the top of the skin, while the smaller molecules can penetrate deeper into the skin,” he explains.
In addition, the way a product is synthesized also plays a role. “For the active ingredients in a formula, those that are better compatible with the skin will be absorbed faster,” says Nick Dindio, cosmetic chemist and Director of Research and Development at SOS Beauty. Because of this, many components are encapsulated in liposomes – which are made up of the same phospholipids as our cell membranes – to help optimize supply.
Skin care ingredients that are absorbed faster
First and foremost, Dindio says it’s important to differentiate between actual product absorption and user absorption perception of absorption. “Many products that contain high levels of volatile ingredients may appear to be rapidly absorbed, but in reality they simply evaporate,” he explains.
Koestline insists on this, saying specific products without oil and based on alcohol. “The reason many fat-free products feel faster absorbed into the skin is because they evaporate faster,” he says. “There is no heavy barrier to building this barrier – instead of using film-forming ingredients to hydrate the skin. “Sometimes, light products even contain alcohol for drying, because it evaporates quickly on the skin, giving it the feeling that your skin absorbs it immediately.”
While oil-free products can certainly feel beneficial — especially for combination and oily skin, and especially during the warmer months of the year — Koestline goes on to say that products that contain oil (such as jojoba oil, rosehip oil, evening primrose oil) , sea buckthorn oil, tamanu oil and grape oil) can be absorbed into the skin faster than the alternative.
“The sebum of our skin is made up of oils, fatty acids and cholesterol,” he explains. That’s why, when it comes to fast absorbing products, contrary to popular belief, light oils are your best friends – fat-soluble (or lipophilic) products and emulsions actually have an easier penetration time into the skin than ingredients with water based. This does not mean, however, that oil-free products are automatically ineffective. Conversely, if you are going to choose the oil-free product, you need to make sure that your product is boosted for quick absorption otherwise.
For example, look for fermented ingredients. “The fermented ingredients are gaining interest because one theory is that the fermentation process breaks down the molecules into smaller sizes, allowing better and faster penetration,” says Koestline.
In addition, Russak says that hydrophilic ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid and plant extracts such as rosemary) tend to be more effective in terms of rapid absorption. “Hydrophilic components are those that are attracted to water and can penetrate through the layers of fat, as opposed to hydrophobic components, which are rejected by fat molecules,” he explains.
Regarding specific ingredients. Dindio says that lecithin is a common ingredient used to encapsulate the active ingredients and penetrate deep into the skin. “There are other penetration enhancers, such as ethoxydiglycol and dimethylisosorbide, commonly used in reputable products to help absorb ingredients such as vitamin C,” he added. It is also worth mentioning the concentration of active ingredients. “The higher the concentration of active ingredients, the better the product will penetrate,” says Russak.
How to make skin care products absorb better
Although formulations and additives certainly enhance a product’s ability to be absorbed faster, Russak points out that healthy skin absorbs any product much better. “In order for a product to be absorbed into the skin, it must penetrate the protective barrier of the skin or the upper layer of the skin,” he says. “Leather is designed to be a barrier, so it does not allow products to penetrate. Skin absorption is actually a very complex science — we want to increase the penetration so that the products can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin where the product works best, but we also expect to maintain the barrier capacity and not disturb “.
The trick? Peeling. “Not exfoliation where we break down the skin barrier, but exfoliation where we remove the dead layers and stimulate regeneration,” says Russak.[When we do this]”There are healthy cells on the surface of the skin that can absorb the active ingredients.”
In addition to exfoliation, certified dermatologist and cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon Mohs Dr. Sheila Farhang says starting a moisturizing routine can help your products — especially those made with hyaluronic acid — sink deeper.
In addition, he calls slugging a useful way to increase the absorption of any product. “The absorption of a product also increases if a blocker, such as Vaseline or Vaseline, is used over the product,” he explains. That said, as beneficial as slugging is, Russak admits it is not the most practical application during the summer. Instead, it says focus your routine on encapsulated active ingredients, which will ensure that they travel deep into your skin instead of sitting on top of it.
Finally, the way you apply your skin care can make your serums and creams more effective. “Using a dermaroller or Gua Sha over your product can also increase absorption,” says Farhang.
Buy approved, fast absorbing skin care
Vitamin C Serum Covey Next Up – $ 59.00
Made with a 15 percent concentration of vitamin C in its most stable form, ascorbic THD, this serum is 50 times more potent than other formulations on the market. In addition, it contains vitamin E and grape seed extract to enhance the antioxidant benefits for the radiance and maintenance of the skin.
Kopari Ultra Restore Body Butter with Hyaluronic Acid – $ 32.00
This extremely lightly beaten lotion is made with hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, omega and fatty acids that hydrate your skin and help it retain moisture. It has the characteristic aroma of sweet coconut milk of Kopari together with notes of jasmine and tuberose neroli.
Revision Skincare Revox Line Relaxer – $ 145.00
Made with eight peptides, hyaluronic acid and arnica, this wrinkle relaxation serum minimizes the impact of facial expressions that cause horizontal and vertical lines to appear. It is great on its own, but it is also designed to work in conjunction with neuromodulators such as Botox to visibly reduce lines.
DS Laboratories Pure Vitamin C Serum – $ 69.00
This powerful serum combines two forms of vitamin C — 25 percent Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid and 10 percent Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbic acid — making it the highest concentration of vitamin C on the market. It is made in an anhydrous formula that allows it to remain clear and strong. It is also made with sustainable organic squalane derived from olive and vitamin E for a more intense glow and rejuvenation.
SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel – $ 86.00
This moisturizing gel combines vitamin B5 with hyaluronic acid to help absorb moisture into the skin. It can be used with moisturizer on most skin types or alone for those with oily skin with a tendency to acne.
Biophile Bio-Shroom Rejuvenating Serum – $ 74.00
This concentrated serum has a nutrient-rich blend of three mushrooms that provide adaptive support for stressed skin. In addition, it contains niacinamide, vitamin C and peptides for skin rejuvenation along with a biohydrate matrix to provide moisture.
Sweet chef celery + hyaluronic acid – $ 20.00
Take a dose of your vegetables with this serum. It is made with a mixture of broccoli, alfalfa, cabbage, wheat, box tea and radish to soothe and nourish the skin. Asterisk ingredients, however, are rich in cold-pressing antioxidant celery and hyaluronic acid that provide intense hydration.
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