• Núria Estapé, science journalist

    A cosmetic’s journey into the skin

    Manufacturers promise flawless skin if we use cosmetics that they claim penetrate the skin and improve cell functioning. And yes, of course they do penetrate – but to what depth? The skin’s outermost layer, specially designed to act as a barrier, is formed of nearly impermeable tissue. So, how can cosmetics penetrate the skin?


    No cosmetic active ingredient has yet been invented that crosses the epidermal barrier and penetrates deep into the skin. In fact, a substance that appears to penetrate the dermis and hypodermis is most likely absorbed by the blood vessels. In that case it would be a drug, not a cosmetic active ingredient, because it affects metabolism. With nicotine patches applied to the skin, for instance, tiny nicotine molecules travel via the skin layers until they reach blood vessels. Does nicotine act on the skin on its way to the blood? The answer is no. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    The skin’s natural moisturizing factor

    31 Mar The skin’s natural moisturizing factor



    Practical Dermatology

    Our skin is equipped with the perfect machinery whose function is to retain water and prevent dehydration. The skin, a vital organ in our body, has the crucial function of protecting all the other organs within it. And it does so through a complex network of molecules called the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which ensures a delicately balanced epidermis, despite environmental variations in humidity and temperature.


    When we are born our skin is already equipped to stay hydrated and protected from UV rays. Time and environmental aggressions wear down the skin’s mantle, with the result that we lose the water-retaining capacity in some of the beneficial substances in the skin, which should contain some 10% to 15% water. If the water level falls to under 10%, dry skin problems develop: the skin becomes brittle, rough and dull and is more prone to eczema and infections. How can we ensure that the skin retains a minimum of water? Read More

  • Susana Andújar, chemist

    Daily care of dry skin

    24 Dec Daily care of dry skin

    Understanding our skin and its needs should be the basis for our choice of cosmetics, so if you have very dry skin, you need to use products that are specifically formulated to treat dry skin and that also take into account your life stage. Below we provided some basic guidance for people with very dry skin.


    Dry skin has various causes, among them, genetics, aggressive drugs, overexposure to cold or sun, natural ageing, etc. But dryness is always the result of two factors: lack or excess loss of water (dehydration) and deficient sebum secretion by the sebaceous glands. A healthy, elastic, comfortable-feeling skin requires an optimal level of water in the stratum corneum. Certain components in dry skin are altered, but can be restored by suitable cosmetics. Hydration is the best way to maintain youthful skin and delay the onset of signs of ageing. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    The skin and environmental stress

    Air pollution, extreme temperatures, artificial light, ultraviolet radiation, noise, cigarette smoke and traffic fumes: all these environmental stressors threaten the health of our skin. Recent studies show that when the skin is continuously exposed to various forms of environmental stress it ages much faster and becomes vulnerable to diseases such as cancer.


    The skin is the wrapper that connects us to the environment and protects our body from the inclemencies of the weather. This is hardly surprising, as the skin is the body’s organ that suffers most when our living environment is toxic and inhospitable. Our skin reflects everything, whether it comes from within or without, whether it’s psychological problems, the repercussions of what we eat, the air we breathe or what touches our skin. Living conditions in large cities and industrial areas have created new problems for our skin, designed to be able to adapt to temperature and humidity variations in natural habitats. Read More