Your skin barrier is one of the key measurement of how healthy your skin is.
The outermost layer of your skin (the epidermis), is known as your skin barrier, protects you from the outside world and acts like a shield.
A healthy skin barrier keeps irritants out, while locking natural oils and moisture in.
The main purpose of your skin barrier is to prevent excess water loss. Water is essential for many enzymatic processes within the skin, to ensure that skin cell turnover is regulated. The second vital role of barrier function is to provide a protective shield to prevent bacteria, toxins and allergens from entering the body.
Your skin barrier is composed of one key piece called the acid mantle. This is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of your skin (made of natural oils, amino acids and sweat) that helps shield your skin from bacteria, viruses.
The acid mantle plays a really important role in protecting your skin barrier from external threats by working with skin-natural ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol, enzymes, sweat and even our skin’s own oil. But when it’s out of balance, skin conditions such as dryness, acne, inflammation, enlarged pores and oiliness can arise.
Skin barrier aggressors:
- Using skincare products that have the wrong pH or strong surfactant properties
- Over-cleansing / Over-exfoliation
- Using topical moisturisers with known irritants (such as SLS, Parabens, synthetic fragrance and colours)
- Over-use of AHA’s
- Over-use of Retinol
- Aggressive skin treatments
- UV and environmental damage – not protecting against free radical damage
- Low fat diets – essential fatty acid deficiency
How to Identify If Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged
If you’re suffering from a skin condition such as acne, rosacea, eczema / dermatitis or psoriasis, then you have a compromised skin barrier.
Some common questions to ask would be, “Does your skin feel tight after cleansing?” and “If you didn’t apply a moisturiser would your skin feel tight?”
If the answer is ‘YES’ to either question, then this is a sign of impaired barrier function because the skin is unable to retain moisture naturally.
Other physical signs are if the skin feels rough to the touch or appears shiny but not oily. This is also a sign that water is being lost too quickly.
Skin thinning, skin redness, inflammation, skin peeling are signs of a compromised skin barrier.
Protecting your skin barrier
You will want to do the following to protect your skin barrier:
- Apply skincare rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, ceramides, polyphenols, and squalene like Garden of EDEN’s Argan Oil Plus Serum to stimulate the skin’s natural immunity and defense for long term healthy skin.
- Apply an SPF 30 sunscreen to protect the skin’s first line of defense against UV rays. It is best to use sunscreen that has antioxidants in its formulation to give an optimum level of skin protection.
- Avoid strong chemicals in skincare
- Avoid overuse of AHAs and BHAs
- Avoid over-washing and over-exfoliation (2-3 times a week is fine using a very gentle scrub!)
- Use gentle cleansing products for skin cleansing.
Remember that healthy skin is a journey. It takes time and commitment as various factors including your lifestyle can contribute to having healthy skin. Hit us up if you need advise at our Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/goe_skincare) or Facebook (https://facebook.com/goeskincare) if you need suggestions or for a chat!