The Latest PFAS Research: Insights on Dermal Absorption

PFAS: Research Reveals Higher Skin Absorption of PFAS Than Expected

In a recent groundbreaking study, researchers from the University of Birmingham have uncovered alarming evidence regarding the absorption of toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) through human skin. PFAS, often termed "forever chemicals" due to their persistence in the environment and the human body, are now shown to be absorbed at much higher levels than previously anticipated. This revelation adds a new layer of concern to the ongoing debate about the safety of these chemicals, which are prevalent in everyday products ranging from waterproof clothing to personal care items like makeup.

The Study's Findings

The research, led by Oddný Ragnarsdóttir, utilized lab-grown tissue that mimics human skin to measure the absorption of PFAS compounds. The findings suggest that dermal uptake could be a significant source of exposure to these harmful chemicals. "This is important because we see a shift in industry towards chemicals with shorter chain lengths because these are believed to be less toxic – however the trade-off might be that we absorb more of them, so we need to know more about the risks involved," noted study co-author Stuart Harrad.

"Though modeling and research has suggested the dangerous chemicals are absorbed through skin, University of Birmingham researchers say they used lab-grown tissue that mimics human skin to determine how much of a dose of PFAS compounds can be absorbed.

The paper shows “uptake through the skin could be a significant source of exposure to these harmful chemicals”, said lead author Oddný Ragnarsdóttir."

PFAS are a class of approximately 16,000 compounds used to impart resistance to water, stains, and heat in products. Despite their widespread use, they do not naturally degrade and have been found to accumulate in the human body, leading to severe health issues such as cancer, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, and plummeting sperm counts.

Implications for the Beauty Industry  - Debunking the myth that the molecules are not absorbed as they are ionized and repel water

The beauty industry, in particular, faces a significant challenge with these findings. Many cosmetics and skincare products contain PFAS, which means consumers are potentially exposed to these chemicals through their daily beauty routines. The study's revelations debunk the previously held belief that PFAS in personal care products are not absorbed because the molecules are ionized and repel water. Instead, the research indicates that this theory does not always hold true, raising critical questions about the safety of these ingredients.

SAPPHO New Paradigm: Leading the Charge in Safe Cosmetics

At SAPPHO New Paradigm, we have always prioritized the health and safety of our customers. In light of these recent findings, we are proud to highlight our ongoing partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to develop and implement rigorous testing protocols for organic fluorine, an indicator of PFAS. Some scientists ( and corporations) will argue that some PFAS are better than others but as a company that has always prided itself on being before the massess of copycats - we will continue our due diligence on organic fluorine levels - preferring to err on the side of safety and willing to take the financial hit for doing so. 

Clean beauty was imagined to save lives - by not testing or being transparent about organic fluorine - companies are greenwashing ! 

Our commitment to transparency and sustainability drives us to ensure that all our new products undergo thorough testing to detect and reduce the amount of organic fluorine molecules found ( both studied and unstudied ) possible organ toxicants.  By collaborating with BCIT, we are at the forefront of creating safer cosmetics, setting new industry standards for clean beauty.

Moving Forward: The Future of Clean Beauty

As the awareness of PFAS and their potential risks continues to grow, it is imperative for consumers and brands alike to take proactive steps in addressing this issue. At SAPPHO New Paradigm, we remain dedicated to offering products that not only enhance your beauty but also protect your health and the environment. Our ongoing efforts with BCIT exemplify our unwavering commitment to innovation, safety, and sustainability in the beauty industry.

In conclusion, the recent study on PFAS absorption through skin underscores the urgent need for stricter regulations and more comprehensive testing of cosmetic products. As we continue to navigate this complex landscape, SAPPHO New Paradigm will remain a leader in advocating for and delivering clean, safe, and effective beauty solutions.


By staying informed and choosing brands that prioritize your health, you can help drive the change towards a safer and more sustainable beauty industry. Together, we can ensure that the products we use every day are free from harmful chemicals, making beauty routines safer for everyone.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/jun/30/pfas-absorbed-skin-study

Check out our PFAS (organic fluorine) tested foundations here!