Your skin barrier protects your body from free radicals. Harsh environments are frequently the cause of destruction. Protect it with lubricants, ceramides, and other substances.
The shelves of beauty boutiques and drugstores are stocked with products designed to protect and revitalize the complexion. Some of them exfoliate, others plump, and still others hydrate.
All of these items act on the Skin barrier, the outermost layer of your body.
But what is the skin barrier, its function, and what can impair it?
This article will explore the measures you can take to protect and restore this important protective layer.
- 1 What is The Skin’s Barrier, and What is its Function?
- 2 What can damage the skin’s barrier?
- 3 How can you know if your skin barrier is damaged?
- 4 How to Protect and Replenish Your Skin Barrier
- 5 The Bottom Line
What is The Skin’s Barrier, and What is its Function?
Your skin is composed of layers, each of which performs essential protective functions.
The outermost layer, known as the stratum corneum, often refers to a brick wall. It is composed of strong skin cells called corneocytes that are held together by lipids that resemble mortar. This is your skin’s protective barrier.
Inside the skin’s cells, or “bricks,” are keratin and natural moisturizing factors. The lipid layer is composed of:
- fatty acids
This incredibly thin brick wall literally keeps you alive. Without it, a variety of harmful environmental toxins and pathogens could permeate the skin and cause damage to the body.
In addition, without your skin’s protective barrier, the water in your body would escape and dissipate, dehydrating you.
Your epidermis barrier is vital to your overall health and must be safeguarded for your body to function correctly.
What can damage the skin’s barrier?
Daily, the skin defends against a barrage of threats, most of which originate from the outside and a few from the inside.
Some of the external and internal factors that can impact your skin barrier are the following:
- Humid or dry environment –
- Allergens, irritants, and pollutants
- Too much sun exposure
- Alkaline soaps and detergents
- severe chemical exposure
- Over-exfoliation or over-washing
- distress psychologically Trusted Source
- Genetic factors may increase susceptibility to skin disorders like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
What is the Role of Acid Mantle
Your skin barrier has a slightly acidic barrier. This acidity (the acid mantleTrustworthy Source) is a buffer against the growth of harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi that could harm your skin and contribute to infections and other skin conditions.
Protecting the acid mantle around wounds is especially essential because the skin’s acidity is required for many healing-related biological interactions.
Sometimes, health conditions such as diabetes or incontinence can alter the epidermis’s acidity, weakening this buffer. For individuals with these conditions, experts recommend slightly more acidic skin care products from trusted sources.
How can you know if your skin barrier is damaged?
When your skin barrier is damaged, you may be prone to the following skin symptoms and conditions:
- dry, scaly skin
- rough or discolored patches
- sensitive or inflamed areas
- bacterial, viral, or fungal skin infections
How to Protect and Replenish Your Skin Barrier
Given the significance of sustaining a healthy skin barrier and acid mantle, how can you preserve their functionality? Let’s examine five helpful strategies.
Simplify your skincare routine
Accidentally decreasing your skin’s barrier may occur if you perform a complicated daily skin routine involving a large number of products. Consider discussing the essential and most effective skincare products with a dermatologist or other skin care expert.
Note how your skin reacts to the method you use when exfoliating. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, individuals with sensitive skin and darker skin tones may benefit from using a gentle chemical exfoliant and a delicate cloth.
Some scrubs and brushes may cause temporary skin barrier injury.
Pay attention to Your Skin’s pH
According to a reliable source, your skin’s delicate acid mantle has a pH of 4.7. However, the pH of some skin care products can range between 3.7 and 8.2.
Researchers advise using a cleanser with a pH between 4.0 and 5.0.
Maintaining a healthy skin pH may protect against skin conditions such as dermatitis, ichthyosis, acne, and Candida albicans infections. Although not every product specifies its pH, some do.
Try a Plant Oil to Replenish Your Skin Barrier
Certain plant oils, according to research from 2018 Reliable Source, may aid in repairing the epidermis barrier and preventing it from losing moisture. Several of these oils also possess antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Consider using the following plant oils on your skin among the most effective:
- Jojoba oil
- coconut oil
- almond oil
- argan oil
- borage oil
- rosehip oil
- sunflower oil
- soybean oil
- primrose oil
- black currant oil
There are several methods to apply plant oils to the skin.
You can apply moisturizers and lotions containing one or more of these essential oils. Alternately, you can pour a small volume of the oil into the palm of your hand and massage it into your skin until it is fully absorbed.
Look for products that have ceramides in them.
Ceramides are viscous lipids that are particularly abundant in the stratum corneum. They are essential for the correct function of the skin barrier.
Research from 2019 reveals that products containing pseudo-ceramides may help improve the dryness, itchiness, and scaling caused by a poorly functioning barrier. Moisturizers rich in ceramides may also improve the structural integrity of your skin barrier.
If you have acne, ceramide moisturizers may be especially beneficial. The barrier is frequently compromised in acne-prone skin, and acne treatments can dehydrate and redden the skin. Additionally, ceramide-containing products may protect darker skin types. A 2014 review of studies revealed that darker skin tones have reduced ceramide levels.
Try moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, or glycerin
Dry skin is a prevalent issue, and moisturizers are frequently recommended as a remedy.
An occlusive moisturizer strengthens the skin barrier by decreasing the quantity of water loss. These products leave a thin film on your epidermis that helps prevent moisture loss.
According to experts, one of the most commonly recommended occlusive moisturizers is petrolatum, which can block up to 99% of water loss from the epidermis.
Similarly to occlusive moisturizers, humectants can enhance the function of a barrier. Humectants attract water from the environment or the body and bind it to the epidermis barrier. The researchers at Trusted Source recommend hyaluronic acid, glycerin, honey, and urea.
Not all skincare ingredients are effective for all people. Therefore, you may wish to experiment with various products to determine which is most effective at maintaining your skin’s health, protection, and hydration.
The Bottom Line
The outermost layer of your skin, also known as the skin barrier, protects your body from environmental hazards while preserving its vital water balance.
Symptoms, including dryness, irritation, and inflammation, can indicate a disruption in this vital barrier.
You can aid in epidermis barrier repair by:
- Simplifying your skincare routine
- using pH-appropriate products
- using a moisturizer containing ceramides or a humectant such as hyaluronic acid
- Moisturizers containing petrolatum can help your skin barrier retain moisture.
The skin barrier is your body’s first line of defense against all environmental threats. Maintaining its health is not merely a cosmetic concern.