Looking after your skin barrier is crucial if you want a healthy and amazing skin. In this article, I want you to learn how your skin works so as to save it from damage.
What you have to understand is that your skin gets exposed to so many harsh things such as the weather and products. You have seen how your skin looks when you expose it to too much sun without sunscreen or those who look paler than normal because the skin has been bleached too much.
All these harsh ingredients in products work against the health of your skin and it is time you did something about it.
What is skin barrier and how does it work?
The skin barrier refers to the barrier or fence that is necessary between the skin and the external environment.
Quite frankly, the skin barrier is what will determine the performance of your skin and the layer of the skin (called Stratum Corneum) is what protects and strengthens the skin from outside threat.
So, here is a simple definition of this. The outer part of the skin serves as a brick wall. In this brick wall which is your skin, you find the bricks and these are the dead cells that get removed when you exfoliate with papaya enzymes or other natural exfoliants.
The dead cells are called corneocytes. Around these bricks, there’s the cement called intercellular matrics. This is the glue that is meant to keep the bricks intact or else they will fall, right?
Now, intercellular matrix consists of lipids whose main job is to keep your skin hydrated.
Imagine for a moment what happens when the skin as a barrier is not functioning well.
- Bacteria and impurities get trapped in, thereby causing more breakouts
- No protection from outside threats such as the environment.
- The skin gets dehydrated and dry
- The skin loses the ability to hold moisture or water and as a result, bacteria stay in the skin.
- Since exfoliation stops to happen, the skin layer also stops to get strengthened (it remains thin)
How to repair the skin barrier
If you trace back to a time in your skincare journey, you’ll notice a period where your skin felt dry, irritated or sensitive. In fact, that might still be the case now. This indicates a damaged skin barrier.
When irritants enter the epidermis of the skin, it leads to inflammation such as a sensitive skin. When fats in the layer of the skin are damaged by harsh products (like the super abrasive exfoliants and chemicals) or the external environment (such as washing your face with hot water) the skin loses water and causes for a dehydrated skin that is vulnerable to allergens.
With that in mind, consider these few ways in which you can repair the skin barrier again;
- Avoiding using harsh products, specifically chemicals on the skin.
- Exfoliating too often is a bad idea, especially if your skin is sensitive or has active acne.
- Avoid harsh cleansers such as soaps that strip the skin of its natural sebum.
- Stay away from environmental conditions that can leave your skin damaged such as strong winds, super hot water and dry air.
- Use products that can protect your skin such as sunscreen, and moisturizers.
These are simple but often neglected ways in which the skin can be cared for in order to avoid any damage or depletion to the skin’s barrier.
How to build up your skin barrier
Ensuring that you have a tough or thicker skin is what will keep your skin free from sensitivities.
Having a strong barrier will not only benefit the appearance of your skin (since it traps in water) but will keep irritants and allergens away.
Believe it or not, your skin barrier acts like a guard against anything that can pass through the skin. But how do you build up your skin barrier?
- Take yourself back to your skincare regimen, and have a look at how you care for your skin. Do you use harsh products? Do you moisturize properly? Getting rid of products that are astringents such as alcohol, is a good place to start.
- From now on, reading the label of every skincare product is paramount. If you’ve been reading up on my blog posts, then you would know that I switched everything to natural. That reduces the time that would be required to read up on labels I don’t even understand. The best example of my experiments is the diy face wash for acne that works perfectly for all skin types.
- I’m sure you have heard of sodium lauryl sulfate which is a scientific way of saying “this ingredient will really dry your skin out” It won’t only do that, but it’ll leave the skin barrier open to the external environment with no protection.
- Splashing your face with super hot water is a no, no. Hot water only strips the skin of moisture. A good way to enjoy your shower while not irritating your skin is to stick to warm water.
When your skin is dry you assume you need more moisture and when your skin starts to break out, you quickly take your trusted oils and diy mixtures to fix the problem.
However, there are various factors to consider when the skin start’s to act up but the most important of all is ensuring your skin barrier is in optimal health.
Here are some daily factors that can affect our skin barrier, some we can fix while others we can’t. Let’s begin with age.
- Age: The older you get, your skin barrier weakens as nature takes its course. However, while you’re young, you can take care of your skin to slow down the aging process.
- Smoking and drinking: Such actions really dehydrate the skin and slow down the collagen production.
- Environmental conditions: Weather plays a huge part in how our skin behaves, particularly because our skin is sensitive to super cold or super hot weather. Also, toxins in water can weaken the skin barrier and so can the air we breathe. Lastly;
- Stress: Stressing the body only leads to many issues which show up through physical signs such as fatigue (which links to a poor diet since you can’t eat well) and dehydration.
Have you heard about skin barrier? How will you begin to repair it? Comment down below.