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How to Keep Your Skin Barrier Healthy - Bellagena Med Spa of Bradenton

How to Keep Your Skin Barrier Healthy

Written by:

Julia Padilla - Carr

Julia had the vision of creating a clinical skin care studio with the traditional spa atmosphere for many years. Julia is a Licensed Aesthetician, Licensed Electrologist, and Certified Laser Hair Removal Technician in the State of Florida.

While we use our skin as an aesthetic tool to present our health and happiness to the rest of the world, ultimately our skin is an organ that protects our whole body. But what protects our skin?

Fortunately, this vital organ comes with its own layer of protection: the skin barrier.

What is the skin barrier?

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis. This most-superficial part of the epidermis is called the stratum corneum.

The stratum corneum is like a brick wall—almost literally. The bricks are skin cells called corneocytes, and the mortar that seals them together is made of lipids. Corneocytes primarily contain protein, especially keratin. The lipids forming the mortar are ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids.

Why is the skin barrier so important?

Just ask the doctors who train doctors: “The importance of the skin barrier cannot be overemphasized,” says the first sentence in a medical book about the skin barrier (from a series of dermatology journals for physicians). “The skin barrier is important to human life. Physically, it protects from external threats such as infectious agents, chemicals, systemic toxicity and allergens. Internally, the skin helps to maintain homeostasis and protects from enhanced loss of water from the body.”

Essentially, as we said at the top, the skin barrier is the thing that protects your body’s protective organ. It keeps the bad things (harmful contaminants) out and the good things (water) in. It’s the wall around the wall.

How does the skin barrier work?

Like any good barrier, this super-thin layer is both strong and flexible. The keratin-containing corneocyte “bricks” block away contaminants, UV rays, and help protect against physical damage into the rest of the skin.

The lipid “mortar” allows these bricks to move as your body moves and maintain that protection without revealing cracks and openings. That seal also prevents your body’s water from leaking out or evaporating.

Both the bricks and the mortars have natural moisturizing properties. And they also can allow a natural, selective permeability in order to absorb some substances as needed. However, in many cases a healthy skin barrier can prevent the absorption of topical applications—meaning you might be throwing your money away on poor skincare products that aren’t designed for permeability.

What can damage the skin barrier?

UV exposure, poor nutrition, certain medications, allergens, and even over-exfoliation can cause cracks and breaks in the skin barrier, exposing the more sensitive skin cells underneath.

What happens when the skin barrier is damaged?

Damage to the skin barrier allows damage to the skin beneath. Water can escape your skin, and other things can get in.

That means your skin may dry out, or become itchy, cracked, and flaky. Without an effective skin barrier, micro-organisms can get into your pores and cause acne.

How do we keep our skin barrier healthy?

Sing it with us now, “Sunscreen!”

On top of that, a quality moisturizer and certain natural oils can help ensure the lipid “mortar” remains intact and flexible.

And of course, for all of these cells to remain healthy and replenish themselves, you need adequate, skin-conscious nutrition.

If you’re not sure where to start in assessing the health of your skin barrier, never fear! The skin barrier is one of the first things we look at and assess in a skincare practice. Come on in and talk to our qualified Bradenton aestheticians, and we’ll make sure your skin’s brick wall is as strong as ever.

Don't Get Left Out!

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