Our skin is much a complicated yet sophisticated organ. It comprises many layers to keep our bodies protected from external environmental stressors or microorganisms. To keep them healthy and function normally, our skin is armed with a barrier layer or commonly known as the “skin barrier”.
Let’s learn more on how to keep it healthy, prevention from damage, and what to do when it is unintentionally damaged.
What is the skin barrier?
Our skin barrier is part of our skin’s top layer called the stratum corneum. It is made up of corneocytes (skin cells) and a lipid interface that glues them together. It is also called the “brick-mortar” structure—corneocytes as the brick and lipid interface as the mortar. The lipid interface comprises free fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides. In their best state, it will shed off the top layer, where it naturally exfoliates itself. This keeps moisture intact and protect allergens from getting in and causing irritation.
Causes of Skin Barrier Damage
Our skin barrier can be disrupted due to many possible reasons. When it’s damaged, the tight arrangement between the skin cells is lost. This allows external irritants to get in our skin a lot easier and lead to more water leaving our skin. They are characterised by irritation, dehydration and flaky skin. Your skin is red, irritated, tight, yet very oily.
Does this sound familiar to you? When these happen, your skin barrier has probably been damaged. Before we learn how to deal with it, it is better to track down the root cause since some might be caused by our own skincare mistakes that we can prevent in the future.
How can you tell if it is damaged?
When your skin barrier isn’t functioning properly, you may be prone to developing the following skin symptoms and conditions:
- sensitive or inflamed areas
- bacterial, viral, or fungal skin infections
Common external cause can vary from our basic routine up to environmental factors:
- Over washing
Overexposure to water and a harsh cleanser may cause a damage. It can strip away the natural lipid barrier on our skin. Instead of protecting your skin from dirt and impurities, it could damage the skin’s first protective layer, which provides most of the protection.
With more varieties of exfoliating products in the market and the tendency for instant gratification in your skincare routine, over-exfoliating is a pretty common thing today. When you over-exfoliate your skin, you’re not only taking away the unwanted dead skin cells on the top layer of your skin but also the functional “skin barrier” that is present to protect you in the first place. Always be mindful while using your exfoliating products and look out for any differences on your skin; this allows you to STOP doing it when needed.
- Pollution, bad or dry air quality
Research has shown that pollution and dry air can affect it’s layer. Thus, it is very common for people to experience sensitive and itchy skin when the air quality is poor. Therefore, it is best to limit outdoor activities in polluted areas, wear protective masks and clothing outdoors. Use an air purifier in your living space to keep the air clean. This won’t only benefit your skin but also your general health in general.
- Stress and lack of sleep
Have you ever experienced a “bad skin” day when you lack rest and sleep? Yes, lack of sleep or rest can damage it and lead to increased trans epidermal water loss. Your solution is definately to get more rest.
Some internal factors that are out of our control in general:
While this is much beyond our control, some people have a genetically impaired skin barrier component. They lack the production of any components linking to one another needed for it to function healthily. We commonly see this in people with atopic dermatitis or eczema. However, we can totally practice safe and healthy skin care habits to prevent them from getting even worse.
Unfortunately, as we age, the barrier gets weaker. This is why it’s not uncommon for people to experience drier and more sensitive skin as they age.
So once it happened, what should you do next?
Here we compile some tips on each step and what to do.
Picking the right skincare products to help accelerate your skin repair, desensitise skin, and keep your skin barrier healthy anytime. There are several ingredients that you might want to look out for to treat your irritated skin. Ingredients that help with skin barrier restoration are Ceramides, Free Fatty Acids, Natural Moisturising Factors and Niacinamide. While water-retaining ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and panthenol will support your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Last but not least, various skin-soothing ingredients from natural plant extracts such as Aloe, Centella Asiatica, Calendula and many more can help to tone down any redness and irritation on your skin.
Skin Barrier Repairing Ingredients
|Ingredients for skin barrier restoration||Water-retaining ingredients||Skin soothing ingredients|
|Free Fatty acids||Acid Glycerin||Centella Asiatica|
|Natural moisturizing factors||Panthenol||Calendula Extract|
There are a few of Plant oils that may help repair the skin barrier and also prevent your skin barrier from losing moisture. Many of these oils have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects too.
Plant oil which is able to replenish your skin barrier
- Jojoba oil
- Argan oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Rosehip oil
- Sunflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Borage oil
Your skin barrier is your body’s frontline defense against everything the world thrown at you. Keeping it healthy is much more than a cosmetic concern.
TCT Nutraceuticals Sdn Bhd is an OEM Skincare Manufacturing company in Malaysia. Our in house R&D capabilities is able to assist you in creating your skincare product. With proper planning and correct marketing methods, you can be assured that your brand will grow. Whatsapp us at +60126886256 or email us at email@example.com to know more.