Building Your Skin Barrier – Keep the Outside Out
Let’s take a moment to recognize National Healthy Skin Month, a good reminder of why we should take good care of our body through our skin, and discuss a key element to maintaining that healthy skin, the skin barrier.
As mentioned in our other blogs, your skin is your largest organ. It’s most important function is protecting all other organs in the body. Therefore, there’s good reason for “building ones skin barrier” to be the beauty buzz term of 2022.
Skin barrier is also top of mind, since the COVID pandemic. Some of us are still wearing masks and facial coverings daily, causing breakouts and irritation from the friction and heat of wearing a face mask.
While consulting with your dermatologist can help when it comes to maintaining beautiful skin, if you’re not educated on the health of your skin barrier, even the most expensive skincare products will only take you so far.
What Is Your Skin Barrier? And Why Is It So Important?
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the epidermis, also known as the stratus corneum. These following functions of the skin barrier are vital to one’s overall health:
This layer is the first line of defense against sun and other free radicals.
It helps retain moisture, while preventing transepidermal water loss, which can cause dry skin.
The outer layer stops irritants and germs from penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin, causing adverse effects within your body.
Here is what Dr. Lawrence Desjarlais and Physician Assistant, Jill Spindell, have to say when weighing in on the importance of one’s skin barrier. “Building your skin barrier is important to help protect your body from external irritants and maintain an internal homeostasis,” says Spindell. “When the skin barrier breaks down, itching, flaking and burning happen and allow eczema, psoriasis and acne to flare,” says Dr. Desjarlais, “Be nice to your skin and it will serve you well.”
Note: Skin conditions like eczema and diabetes present a weakened skin barrier and can contribute to further skin barrier degradation and worsening symptoms.
How to Avoid Skin Damage? Keeping the Outside Out
The objective is to keep your skin barrier healthy and functioning to keep harmful factors in the environment out of the body. Let’s look at four basic strategies to avoiding damage to your skin.
- Avoid harsh skincare products (like cleansers)
- Limit exfoliation
- Always wear SPF
While beauty stores or beauty isles in drugstores are lined with products claiming to act on your body’s skin barrier we prefer to keep your skincare simple. Look for these key ingredients: antioxidants, Vitamin C, peptides, amino acids and lipids
Also keep an eye out for certain indications of a compromised skin barrier. Listen to how your skin is trying to communicate with you by seeing these signs of damaged skin:
- Dry and Flaking
- Easily irritated
- Rough, discolored patches
When looking to restore, rebalance and reinforce the skin barrier refer to these products. A great product for the body is Avene XeraCalm AD Lipid Replenishing Cream as it helps rebalance the microbiome barrier while supporting skin's defense system for healthy skin. All four lines we carry have wonderful antioxidant products. Go to our product page on our website to learn more or stop into our office.
The understanding of keeping your skin healthy is much more than a cosmetic concern. Work with your dermatologist to take the appropriate steps in building your skin barrier, creating a wall to keep out harmful organisms and substances. Your skin will be happier and you will feel empowered with the knowledge and confident to tackle the world around you.