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What is MSM and What Does It Do?

I get asked this question and others like it very often.  People may be familiar with MSM as a nutritional supplement taken internally but may not be aware of its benefits as a topical application in body and skin care products.  I’ve been using MSM  in our Neos products from the beginning.  And with good reason.  Others are now catching up and finding out just how great MSM is for the skin in topical applications and as a beneficial beauty nutrient.

The Rundown On MSM

Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM as it is most commonly known as, is a pure organic sulfur that’s naturally-occurring and often found in plants, fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products.  It’s a naturally occurring substance in the human body as well, although the body’s production of it does tend to diminish as we age.  When taken internally, it supplies sulfur to the body, which aids in the natural function and the healing and regeneration process. When applied topically, it supplies sulfur to the skin which also allows the skin to function more efficiently to heal and regenerate itself.  MSM also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

One key attribute that makes MSM a beneficial and active ingredient in topical products is it acts as a penetration enhancer, helping to carry nutrients and other beneficial properties from the other ingredients into the deeper layers of the skin. Notice I said “into the deeper layers of the skin”, not into the body. Remember skin is a barrier with multiple cell layers within structural layers. Anatomically, very little can penetrate beyond the two main structural layers of skin, the epidermis and/or dermis layers. There is some evidence that MSM itself may penetrate the skin barrier and get absorbed into the bloodstream. But the scientific jury is still out on that one. Even if MSM can penetrate through the brick wall-like maze of cells and layers of the skin, that doesn’t mean it will act as a “carrier” to deliver or push other substances beyond the skin into the bloodstream and internal tissue. This is important to know and remember with any ingredient or product.

As the photo above of my own supply shows, the MSM used in cosmetics and topical applications usually comes in a fine granular powder form. It’s 100% water-soluble, making it easy to dissolve in most non-oil based liquids. This hydrolyzed form and MSM’s molecular structure makes it easily absorbable and transportable into the skin. Overall, in topical products and dermal applications, MSM is gentle to skin but big on benefits.

How Does It Benefit The Skin?

Well, as stated above, it helps skin heal from the inside out, reduces inflammation and bacteria, is gentle, easily absorbed and helps carry nutrients to the deep layers of skin on a molecular level.  MSM has been reported to help deter and reduce wrinkles, and eliminate or fade brown spots. It’s also reported to be an effective treatment for skin tumors and spider veins. MSM is known to contribute to healthy skin, hair and nails by feeding into the body’s formation of collagen and elastin, which is what keeps skin resilient and youthful. In other words, it aids in anti-aging, brings life into the skin and contributes to a more smooth skin feel and younger appearance.

But Wait…There’s More! The Medical Community’s Is Discovering MSM

Yes, even the medical community is realizing the extraordinary benefits of MSM and it’s now being used very successfully and more frequently in the repair of scar tissue, to repair cut, scraped, damaged and even burned skin.  Doctors throughout the world are using MSM as a part of preferred treatments for burn victims because it works so well in healing and repairing the skin.  Medical professionals are learning that MSM can do wonders in the aid of skin disorders as well.  When used topically, this sulfur compound is showing great promised in being helpful for treating skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, dandruff, scabies, diaper rash and certain fungal infections.  And get this.  MSM is currently being tested and showing great results as an effective “non-toxic” treatment agent against metastatic melanoma. If it pans out, that’s an exciting discovery in the medical community.  Methylsulphonymethane has also been used quite successfully in helping treat chronic pain and inflammation as well as debilitating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.  I myself took it internally along with chondroitin and glucosamine for osteoarthritis in my knee prior to knee replacement surgery at the age of 40. It did help considerably and even my orthopedic surgeon said it probably allowed me to avoid joint replacement a little longer. I did say MSM was extraordinary, didn’t I?

SO….Why Do We Use MSM In The Majority Of Our Products?

It’s really a no brainer for me.  I use it for all the reasons that are talked about above.  It is such a wonderful ingredient that enhances all the other ingredients and contributes to the health and youthfulness of skin.  It’s ability to act as a penetration enhancer is why I include it as part of my proprietary “deep delivery system” in so many of our products.  As you become familiar with Neos and our products, you will see MSM is in almost all our products, from our lotions and creams to our body mists to our facial products and serums at various percentages. The only exceptions are the anhydrous (all oil, no water or equivalent) products such as massage and body oils, balms and such.  The only reason I don’t use it in these is because the highly concentrated MSM powder I use will not dissolve in oils.   We add a higher percentage of MSM in some products and it’s definitely one of the reasons it works so well at getting the good stuff deep into the skin and beyond.  As far as I’m concerned, it is one of the “must have” water-soluble ingredients in any and all of the water based products that we offer.  It dissolves well in our formulas and just adds so much more to them.  I just love it and what it does.

How Will I Know It When I See It?

If you look for MSM on the Neos products and labels, it will be listed as it’s common name, MSM, along with the INCI name “dimethylsulfonymethane”.

So there you have it. Our secret is out. MSM. It’s just one of the reasons why Neos products are so fabulous and effective.

NOTE:  MSM is a sulfur compound and should not to be confused with sulfa, which some people find they are allergic to.  They are very different in chemical composition. For more on this, I recommend you read the following article.  

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