The skin barrier: one of the most commonly-uttered terms in the skincare community. From extreme warnings – “Protect it at all costs!” – to more gentle reminders, it is certainly a hot topic of discussion.
The term is pretty self-explanatory, but do you know what it actually is? As much as we’d like to think that a context-clue-based definition is good enough to work with, the scientific meaning is arguably more reliable. The Stratum Corneum, or in other words the outermost layer of your skin, and other components such as lipids, proteins and immune cells, are what we normal folk like to call the skin barrier. Its primary job is to protect your body from its external environment.
Strengthening your skin
So why is it so important, you may ask? Your body has an incomprehensible amount of white blood cells and a plethora of vitamins and minerals to fuel it when it needs protection. Now, think of your skin barrier as the first line of that defense mechanism. Yes, viruses and bad bacteria are common aggressors, but there’s also the sheer star power of the sun we face every day.
It’s a tough job, but thankfully there are ways we can help fortify our own lines of defense.
1. Hydrate your skin
Let’s start easy. One cannot simply discuss the topic of healthy skin without emphasizing how important hydration is. Whether your goal is to nurse your already dry skin type or heal your skin barrier, it should undoubtedly be a given in your daily routine.
There are two ways you can help your skin stay hydrated.
- First, and most obvious: choose a good skin moisturizer. Ideally, one that is rich in Hyaluronic Acid, like Wild Algae Quench Creme or Bulgarian Rose Glam Gold Satin Creme. Moisturizers are made up of oil-based ingredients that create a seal on the surface of your skin that prevents water from escaping.
- Second, and more frequently overlooked: drink lots of water every day. As much as you lather the most luxurious creams and serums on your face, you will still shrivel up by the end of the day if your body itself is lacking water. For men, the recommended amount is 15.5 cups. For women, it is 11.5 cups.
2. Do not exfoliate too much
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like a good scrub to get rid of all the dead skin and muck after a long week. But over-exfoliating can do much more damage than good. Your skin is resilient, yes, but we have to preserve the healthy microorganisms on our skin as much as we want to get rid of the bad ones. So keep your salt and sugarcoat scrubs to about 2-3 times per week. Listen to your skin and adjust if you feel like it is trying to tell you it needs a break.
3. Use sunblock daily
Perhaps the most important part of your day-time skin care ritual that you sometimes forget. There is no denying the power of the sun. And yet we face it every day. Despite its overwhelming ability to do irreversible damage, the list of benefits it gives us goes on and on. It provides us with vitamin D, it strengthens our bones, it can regulate our immune system and even reduce high blood pressure. But all this does not matter if we do not take precautionary measures. And it is as easy as putting some SPF on to do so!
4. The more natural the better
It goes without saying that the list of chemicals and ingredients we should not be putting on our skin is a long one, yet, it seems like almost every skin-care product has them. So this begs the question as to how we can possibly win this losing game? Well, an almost sure fire way is to go for more natural skincare products. Like we have said time and time again, us and Mother Nature are two peas in a pod - she is just waiting for us to reap the rewards of this mutually beneficial relationship. Once you go natural, you’ll never look back.
5. Know your skin type
You cannot solve a math equation without learning the basics first. Learning about your skin type is like learning how to add and subtract - it is essential to know before tackling any problem to do with your skin and especially its barrier. Lucky you, we have made it super easy – just take the skincare quiz on our homepage for quick guide on how to identify your skin type, plus a truly easy-to-understand definition of what it means to have naturally oily, dry or combination skin.
Once you have more knowledge of what products work most with your skin type, the easier nurturing your skin barrier will be. And before you know it, results will begin to show through your replenished, glowing skin.
Get to know your skin-barrier
Whether you have dry, oily or combination skin, tip number #5 leads me to my next point: what are the symptoms of a damaged skin barrier? Well, it is hard to say as this hard-working army within your skin is virtually not present to the naked eye but there are some indications that you should be paying attention to:
- Dry scaly skin
- Rough or discolored patches
- Inflamed areas
- Increased sensitivity
- Excessive oiliness
Notice that all these symptoms are things that do not naturally occur on your skin. They are the results of either over-exposure to harsh environments, like extreme heat, cold or even humidity or the lack of nutrients present on your skin.
Work in progress
Learning and healing your skin barrier is definitely a work in progress. The skin may be our first line of defense against the tiny but mighty enemies we face everyday but it is important to keep in mind that it is still an organ. Just like our heart and lungs, we need to treat it with love and respect as it works in our favor every single day. So as a gesture of gratitude, the least we can do is take measures to nourish and protect it. Only then will we begin seeing how mutually beneficial our own microbiome can be.If you want to truly reap the benefits of a natural skincare ritual, visit us as purecultureph.com