Skin is the largest organ in the human body. It protects us from friction, microorganisms, and physical or chemical injuries. The first line of defense of the skin is its natural barrier — the outermost layer of our skin that protects us from the external environment. It also helps prevent water loss and keep the deeper layers of the skin healthy. Any disruptions to the skin barrier may lead to skin issues such as sensitivity, itchiness or even be associated with specific skin problems such as eczema or dry skin. In this post, we'll review what skin's natural barrier is, what can damage it and what we can do to keep it healthy.
What is the Skin Barrier?
Our skin consists of many layers, and the two very top layers make up the skin's natural barrier. The sebum barrier, also known as the acid mantle, regulates the skin's microbiome and protects against bacteria. Underneath the sebum is stratum corneum — layers of dead skin cells with ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids. A healthy skin barrier is key to keeping the skin plump, bouncy, and youthful.
How Does Your Skin Barrier Get Damaged?
It's a common misconception that the damage to your skin barrier is caused by one thing, such as a specific acne treatment. In fact, it's a result of many different things, including:
- The environment you live in (pollution, weather conditions, temperature extremes)
- Potentially irritating products (harsh soaps and detergents, some fragranced products)
- High concentration actives (especially if your skin routine consists of multiple products)
- Over-exfoliating (this includes physical and chemical exfoliants)
- Using too hot water (it can melt away the critical components of the skin barrier)
There are common signs that your skin barrier might be damaged. However, some can also be caused by different skin issues or a combination of multiple problems. For example, your skin has become more sensitive or reactive, feels dryer than usual, or looks red and inflamed. As a result, it is possible your skin barrier has been compromised, and you may need extra care to repair it.
How to Repair a Damaged Skin Barrier?
The first thing you can do to the damaged skin barrier is to eliminate the potential causes we listed above. That means switching to gentler products, pressing pause on active skin treatments, and exfoliation to let your skin try healing itself. In addition, there are skincare products formulated with ingredients that are beneficial for the skin barrier:
- Emollients can be found in face oils and moisturizers and work by softening and smoothing the skin. Many of the plant oils have repair effects on the skin barrier.
- Occlusives form a sealing layer on the skin to prevent moisture loss and protect the skin. Ingredients like petrolatum or lanolin can be found on the ingredient labels of moisturizers, balms, and ointments.
- Soothing ingredients like Cica, Bisabolol, CBD, and Colloidal Oatmeal can help boost skin hydration levels and calm irritated skin.
We recommend incorporating Seed Hydrating Face Oil to moisturize the skin and restore the skin barrier's lipid balance. Isolate Pure CBD Balancing Face Oil will soothe the sensitive or sensitized skin while adding plant oil emollients like rosehip and black cumin.
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