More often than not I run into various well-meaning mommy blogs that proclaim that our skin 'needs to breathe' and giving you multiple advices on this topic, but without any scientific proof that skin is actually capable of breathing. So does it? Or does it not?
Let's get to it.
Debunking this myth is very easy, starting with the obvious. We breathe with our lungs, converting an oxygen to carbon dioxide. Our bodies need oxygen to live. An oxygen reaches different parts of our body to release energy. It’s an amazing part of our human physiology and we would die without being able to breathe. If we don't receive enough oxygen, within minutes we will start to suffocate.
Will our skin start suffocating and gasping for air if we dare to take a bath or apply a skin care product? No. It doesn't have lungs that are responsible for breathing. Our skin is covered with millions of pores, that represent openings of hair follicles and sweat ducts.These pores do not ‘breathe’ in the usual sense – our lungs take care of that need.
Does our respiratory system include our skin? Of course not. The skin is the body’s largest organ and makes up about 15% of our body weight. It does lots of amazing things like hold all our internal organs together, regulates our temperature and being a vital part allowing us to feel a touch, but it doesn’t play an active role in helping us breathe.
So, why do we often see that cosmetic advertisers promise that their products will allow your 'skin breathe'?
It simply means that their products do not contain pore clogging ingredients, leaving your pores open. In other words, they are 'non-comedogenic'. 'Breathing skin' term sounds a lot better than 'clogging pores', wouldn't you agree?
When an ingredient is known to block pores, it is also called “comedogenic”. A comedo is a blocked hair follicle in the skin – a spot or a pimple. Luckily, the internet is filled with helpful lists of which ingredients are comedogenic and which aren’t.
Another popular statement I really love is - "Your skin absorbs 60% of everything you put on it."
But that will be a topic of another post.