I often get asked questions regrading skincare, and how I maintain my skin... How do you get a healthier looking skin? It all boils down to a healthy skin barrier.
What is a Skin Barrier?
Skin barrier: The skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin’s surface, and it consists of cells and fats. It is also known as the moisture barrier, and it is responsible for making sure essential water and electrolytes don’t evaporate from skin. It also serves as a protective shield against harmful microorganisms by producing antimicrobial peptides and proteins. On top of that, the skin barrier helps sustain skin’s immunity, and it regulates inflammation.
When your skin barrier is healthy, your skin appears smooth, clear, even-toned, and balanced. It may not be perfect but with a healthy skin barrier it has those characteristics. However, if your skin barrier is unhealthy, that’s when you’ll experience redness, irritation, breakouts, rashes, burning sensations, broken capillaries, dryness, tightness, flakiness, a blemish prone skin and other symptoms you’d attribute to having sensitive skin. I always tell my clients to think of their skin as a brick wall, that is how your skin cells look through a cross section image. The cement that holds the bricks together is made up of moisture (fats and water). When a wall breaks down it is because there isn't enough cement or mortar to hold it together. This being a broken skin barrier.
Causes of an Unhealthy Skin Barrier...
Age: as you get older, your skin barrier function weakens.
Stress factors: emotional and mental stress caused by life experiences, such as work problems, family issues, etc.Physical stress which can present itself as fatigue, dehydration, malnourishment. Environmental factors: climate/weather changes, indoor overheating or overcooling, or toxins in the air or water like pollution, smog and chemicals. Smoking dehydrates the skin and slows down collagen production and cell metabolism.
Over-exfoliation: exfoliating skin when performed in moderation, can be a great way to keep skin fresh, smooth and clear, but overdoing it can disrupt the delicate skin barrier. Don’t do it more than 3x a week for normal skin.
Excessive facial cleansing: using foaming or harsh cleansers, or over cleansing can strip the natural moisture from the skin barrier, especially with hot water.
Using sensitizing ingredients: like artificial fragrances, colorants, SD alcohol, products containing sulphates or high foaming agents and preservatives are known to trigger skin sensitivity.
Cosmetic procedures: laser resurfacing, chemical peels and other methods used to remove the top layer of skin can damage the skin barrier if not performed properly.
Consuming dehydrating beverages: drinks such as alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate skin tissues and even dilate capillaries, which causes redness.
Sun damage: Without protecting skin from UV rays, skin can become sensitized.
Health nutrition: a generally poor diet can manifest on skin, but low-fat diets and spicy foods have been linked to weakening the skin barrier. Go for a balanced diet with adequate water.
Do you want to know what to do to repair your skin barrier? Subscribe to my website and you will get a notification of my part 2 article; on how to repair your skin. For now, check on what you may be doing to improve or decrease the health of your skin barrier.