The beauty world is flooded with products that aims to shield and revamp your skin health and beauty. Some of these products exfoliate, glow up and others lock moisture. Well, these products have one thing in common, they all act on the skin’s outermost layer called the skin barrier. Also, skincare experts talk more about the importance of keeping a strong one. Yes, the “skin moisture barrier” can make a huge difference between dull, dry, and plump, supple skin.
Read on to know what exactly your skin barrier is, its benefits and ways to restore and protect this defensive layer.
What’s Skin Barrier And Its Role?
The skin is made up of different layers, each of which does a specific vital role in safeguarding the body. The outermost layer is called the stratum corneum, which is termed a brick wall. It comprises tough skin cells called corneocytes that are surrounded together by mortar-like lipids, and this is the skin barrier. While the inside of the skin cells or bricks are made up of keratin and natural moisturizers and the lipid layer contains fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides.
This impressive thin brick wall works hard to keep the skin healthy and alive. Without it, harmful toxins and pathogens can easily penetrate the skin and damage the system. Further, without a skin barrier, the water inside the system would evaporate and making you dehydrated. Thus, the skin barrier is pivotal for optimal health and needs to be shielded.
The skin barrier is slightly acidic in nature, this helps to make a kind of buffer against harmful microbes that could damage the skin and lead to infections and skin problems. Hence, it’s important to protect the acid mantle around wounds, as the skin’s acidity is vital for carrying out many biological interactions in the wound healing process.
How Does Skin Barrier Gets Damaged?
The skin is constantly being exposed to a storm of threats, most of which are external factors and a few that come from within.
Some of the conditions that can impede the skin barrier include:
- Too dry or humid weather
- Pollutants, irritants, and allergens
- Too much sun exposure
- Using highly alkaline soaps and detergents
- Harsh chemicals
- Over exfoliating
- Skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis
When the skin barrier isn’t functioning well, one may be highly prone to develop the below skin conditions and symptoms:
- Dry, flaky skin
- Rough, discoloured patches
- Inflamed or redness
- Bacterial, viral or fungal skin infections
Effective Ways To Restore Skin Barrier
Make It Simple
Well, if you’re following a complex skincare routine comprising a spectrum of beauty products, then you are weakening the skin barrier. Seek advice from skincare experts about right products and while exfoliating, choose a mild exfoliant as per your skin type. Moreover, some types of scrubs and brushes may temporarily damage the skin barrier.
Focus on pH
The skin's delicate acid mantle is around a pH of 5.7, however, some beauty products range from 3.7 to 8.2. Skincare specialists recommend using cleansing products that are close to the skin’s natural pH. Maintaining the skin’s pH at a healthy level may support to shield the skin from skin issues like dermatitis, ichthyosis, acne, and Candida albicans infections.
Choose Natural Oils
Several studies show that certain plant oils support repairing the skin barrier and avert it from losing moisture. These oils are attributed to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidants actions that help the skin cells to regenerate from the inside out and fend off skin woes.
Some of the plant oils that are well-known to enhance skin health include:
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Argan oil
- Rosehip oil
- Sunflower oil
- Soybean oil
Use creams and lotions that contains one or more of these natural oils or take a small amount of these oil and massage it gently into the skin until it’s completely absorbed.
Use Skincare Essentials Containing Ceramides
Ceramides are waxy fatty acids found in high levels in the stratum corneum and are vital for the healthy functioning of the skin barrier. Products containing ceramides are beneficial in reducing dryness, itchiness and scaling caused due to poor skin barrier function. Ceramide rich moisturizers can also strengthen the structural integrity of the skin barrier and prevent acne breakouts and pigmentation.