Your skin is made up of three primary layers – the epidermis (top layer), dermis (middle layer) and subcutaneous tissue (bottom layer). But your moisture barrier comes into play on the outermost layer of your epidermis, known as the stratum corneum. This layer comprises a wall of cells containing oils and fats that act as a layer of protection from bacteria, irritants and environmental aggressors (a.k.a pollution and UV damage). This layer also sheds dead cells when we exfoliate our skin and is strengthened with electrolytes and nutrients to prevent water and moisture loss (preventing dryness and dehydration).
Why is it so important:
Your moisture barrier is vital to help the skin remain supple, plump and hydrated.
Your moisture barrier is made up of fats like butter to put in a very simple way without getting too scientific. Like butter in a sandwich it holds skin cells together to prevent cracks or gaps from forming on the skin. So when your moisture barrier functions properly it can draw in moisture effectively and defend itself.
Infact the skin's barrier is considered by many experts to be the cornerstone of the entire healthy skin equation. Meaning if you understand yours, you'll have a much easier time avoiding common skin concerns from acne to dullness.
Most issues we have with our skin is due to a skin barrier that becomes compromised.
However there is a lack of education on this although its been said to be the '101 of esthetician school'.
You may be wondering why the title' your skin is a houseplant'. Imagine your skin is a plant, says Dr Bhatti New York based dermatologist., the leaves are nice and soft and everything is great. But if you stop watering the plant, or the heat is turned up or in very hot climates the house will tend to get really hot during the day.
It then becomes too dry and there is not enough humidity, the leaves turn dry, they crack and become brittle.
That is what happens to the skin barrier if you're not caring to the hydration; the skin reacts to the environment, because it has no protection. if you keep the barrier controlled, hydrated, its going to feel like that smooth, soft leaf.
The to Improving your skin barrier depends on if your skin is dry or oily. If your are an oily skin then you cannot be splurging on Vaseline or Aquaphor it will clog pores. It doesn't add to hydration it just helps to occlude the pores to prevent moisture loss. Thus if your have acne prone skin, slugging on these products is probably not for you.
If you have dry skin or eczema then this method may help.
So you don't need to do this if you have normal to oily skin as this may cause breakouts by blocking pores and causing irritation.
A checklist of factors that can compromise your skin barrier:
Extreme changes in environment
allergies, irritants and pollutantss
soaps and detergents
skincare retinoids overuse
How to keep your moisture barrier happy:
Keep your routine gentle
allergies, irritants and pollutants once or twice a week and introduce gentle exfoliating products and cleansers. SB products stock gentle cleanser and exfoliants.
Keep an eye on the PH of your skincare products as this is important for balancing your moisture barrier. Products with PH of 4.5-5.5 are the best. This means your acid mantle the top of the stratum corneum is healthy and can absorb unhealth bacteria , viruses and fungi etc.
Introduce ingredients for barrier repair:
They help to keep skin supple and moisturized. Humectants like hyaluronic acid are also vital as they pull water to the skin to keep it hydrated and antioxidants such as Vitamin C Fights off aggressors. Oils such as squalene are also essential to keep skin rejuvenated, smooth and supple without clogging.
This is the coat of skin care. Its the last regime in your skin care routine before sunscreen is applied. Without moisturizing the skin, its like dressing up and stepping out into the cold without your jacket. You want a moisturizer that is packed with much goodness as possible and which is right for your skin type. That is if you know your skin type and that is why you need to know your skin type. Moisturizers formulated with oils rich in fatty acids that mimic your skins natural oils, vitamins and antioxidants.
Your goal is to keep your skin hydrated.
Your skin barrier can be repaired which is good news. You just have to be patient and consistent.
Next Blog we can talk about how to repair skin barrier in more detail.