As quoted by Dr. Vetrano in Dr. Shelton’s Review, June, 1979. Other comments by Dr. Vetrano.
Substances can pass through a hair follicle, when they can’t get through other areas of the skin. Soaps, chemicals, and harsh rubbing makes this occur easily. You can demonstrate absorption through a hair follicle by just placing a five percent aqueous solution of histamine or norepinephrine on the hairy forearm.
Very soon you will see little blanched bumps around the hair follicles, called wheals, with the hair standing on end. “Washing the skin first with soap and water, or prior defatting with ether or chloroform, somewhat enhances penetrability of the above agents from aqueous solution.”
The reason we so often have bad reactions to deodorants, especially while fasting is probably because they are rubbed into a hairy region, such as the axilla; also because the axillary skin is weakened by shaving and soap and water washing. Shaving weakens the skin’s protective ability by loosening and disrupting the stratum corneum (for definition see Lesson 61), or the layer of the horn, and soaps wash away our protective oils and other secretions.
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Actually there are only two ways that substances can enter the skin. One is by passing directly through the epidermis, the transepidermal route. Certain substances can get into the body via this route but not many. The other way that substances get through the skin is through the orifices of the hair follicles as I have shown. This is the pilosebaceous route.
More substances get into the body through the follicular holes than can pass through the skin itself. This is why you are always cautioned, when using permanent wave solutions or hair dyes, to make a test curl first, because applying chemicals to hair regions can be hazardous to your health. If there were no hair follicles the skin would be even more impermeable than it is presently.
…”By entering the follicular orifices, substances can bypass the epidermal barrier altogether. If miscible or soluble in fat, they can seep down into the sebaceous duct and pass through the sebaceous gland, fanning out from here into the dermis. The pilosebaceous route is the chief means of transit through the skin. Penetration is, therefore, best in densely hairy areas. Conversely, absence of follicles in atrophic or senile skin lowers permeability.”