You'll hear me talk about the skin's barrier often.
1. The skin's barrier function is super fascinating to me - hello! I'm a skin science nerd, but also life on earth would literally NOT be possible without a barrier on our skin to save us from dehydration, so there's that.
2. It's incredibly important when it comes to tackling skin conditions and keeping your skin healthy.
Let me take you through what exactly the skin barrier is and how it functions, so you can see what I see.
What is the skin barrier?
Plainly, the skin barrier is the outer surface structure of our skin.
It includes the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of the skin as well as the next four layers of skin that make up the total epidermis.
The skin barrier's primary job is to regulate the moisture of our skin and prevent outside bacteria from getting in.
How does the skin barrier work?
The outer most layer, the stratum corneum, is composed of skin cells, amino acids, fatty acids and lipids.
Their structure is often described as a “brick and mortar” wall, where the tough skin cells, known as corneocytes, are the “bricks” and the lipids (or oils) are the “mortar” that binds them all together.
Inside the skin cells are keratin and natural moisturizers. The lipid layer contains cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides. Those lipids move moisture between the cells.
This incredibly, awe inspiring thin brick wall is literally keeping you alive.
It helps to protect us from external threats like free radicals, potentially invading bacterias, toxins and the sun. The skin barrier also helps our bodies to stay in a state of homeostasis, which literally helps our bodies to self regulate and not completely dry out!
Your skin barrier is essential for good health and needs to be protected in order to function properly. The stronger the barrier, the more healthy, balanced, and hydrated your skin will be.
How do I know if I have a healthy skin barrier?
Ask yourself one easy question. How does your skin feel?
If you have a healthy skin barrier, your skin will feel well hydrated, smooth and be more resilient to environmental factors meaning you'll notice less sensitivities.
If your skin barrier is unhealthy, you'll see dry, flaky skin. You'll also find it's more prone to inflammation, irritation, redness, (thinking your skin is sensitive anyone?) or even infection.
Now that we have discussed what your skin barrier is, what it does and how to tell if it's healthy or not, let's discuss what we can do to repair and defend it here.
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