The skin barrier: How it gets damaged and how to repair it!

The skin is the largest and most important part of our body, and even though it protects all the organs, it also needs to be protected itself. The epidermal barrier is responsible for that crucial protective function, and even the slightest disruption can cause various skin issues and dermatological conditions, ranging from ordinary blemishes to full-blown eczema. But you have to understand what the skin barrier really is and why it’s essential to keep it healthy before you start any kind of treatment.

What is the skin barrier?

The epidermis, dermis (skin itself), and subcutaneous fat are the three main layers of our skin. The barrier function refers to the stratum corneum layer of skin, which in its structure can be compared to a brick wall:

The bricks are the corneocytes – dried out, non-living keratin skin cells, bound together with proteins and stacked in 10 to 25 layers.

The mortar (cement holding the bricks together) is the intercellular matrix, composed of ceramides, free fatty acids and cholesterol. It is vital that all those ingredients are present in the right proportions; otherwise, the wholeness of the skin barrier is compromised.

The corneocytes layer is highly impermeable, meaning no beneficial or damaging ingredients can get through it. Molecules try to squeeze through the mortar, but only lipids can get to the intercellular matrix. When it comes to water, a healthy barrier prevents its loss or entrance.

Only the tiniest molecules can get through the corneocytes, and what is more, not all the ingredients used in skincare products can do that.

A hydrolipidic film consisting of natural oils, sweat, and acids covers the barrier. This film creates a slightly acidic environment with a normal pH of 5.5. It’s highly important to maintain it at that level, as the bacteria that are beneficial to our skin are comfortable in such environment, while the harmful ones die.

That is why dermatologists advise against using any alkaline face washes, which disrupt the hydrolipidic mantle, thus creating favorable conditions for harmful bacteria. It is also why you need to use a face toner after cleansing – it helps to restore the pH balance.

Factors that influence your skin barrier’s function:

– excessive sun exposure and ultraviolet radiation;

– frequent showers and spending too much time in the pool;

– cold or overly dry air, due to air-conditioning or heating systems;

– physical damage: wounds, cuts, scratches, etc.;

– exposure to superficially active substances used in makeup or skincare;

– frequent contact with chemical cleaning products;

– metabolic or lipid synthesis disorders;

– oxidative stress, causing the body to produce a lot of free radicals;

– constant stress and nervousness, causing the body to produce a lot of hormones that are harmful to our skin;

– unbalanced diet.

What happens to the skin once the barrier is damaged?

When the lipids in the mortar are damaged or depleted, skin starts to lose water very fast. Our skin gets inflamed, irritated, flaky, and itchy. Your sensitivity to sun, wind, and makeup may increase dramatically.

Your skin can get dehydrated, no matter the skin type. The main cause of this problem is an incorrect or ill-fitting skincare routine.

Other toxins, microbes, and allergens can get through the damaged barrier as well. They will most likely trigger inflammation, acne, or dermatitis, even in those who are usually not prone to such skin problems. The best way to deal with this is to stop using acid-based peelings or abrasive scrubs right away and choose a gentle new regimen.

How to repair your skin barrier?

Healthy skin needs about 12 hours to restore 60% of its barrier; however, it may take damaged skin up to a month to do the same.
Don’t worry – you can take some measures to speed up the process:

1. Ditch the harsh skincare products and use only the gentlest ones.

2. Use hydrating and nourishing moisturizers regularly.

3. Don’t forget to incorporate some hydrating, clearing, and nourishing masks into your routine.

4. Use sun protection and ditch abrasive scrubs or peelings.

5. Use products with hydrolipidic film-restoring ingredients (collagen, silicones, and others).

The most common moisturizing ingredients are urea, glycerin, emollients, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and fruit acids. Oils are used to restore the lipid barrier; however, many of them can oxidize when they come in contact with air. As we know, oxidation slows down the rejuvenation process and destroys the skin at the cellular level.

That’s where squalene oil comes into the picture! It is a light, non-comedogenic, non-oxidizing natural oil derived from squalene, which is found in olives, shark liver, sugar cane, rice bran, and wheat germ. The chemical structure of squalene is similar to sebum, so it is easily integrated into the epidermal barrier and is a truly magic agent for dehydrated skin. It is advised to incorporate this oil into your skincare starting at 23 years old.

However, for one reason or another, not all the skincare manufacturers use this unique component in their products. One of the best examples of squalene-enriched products is Yofing’s Squalane Nourishing Cream, for which squalene is derived from olive oil. This magic elixir prevents the formation and appearance of wrinkles and restores cracked and flaky skin faster than any other product would. In addition to its smoothing, moisturizing, lifting, and firming effects, it has healing properties, which are especially handy if you have eczema, atopic dermatitis, or couperose.

Additional benefits:

– sinks into your skin in moments without leaving an oily film,

– provides an antibacterial effect,

– reduces the negative effects of UV rays,

– prevents the appearance of age spots and pigmentation,

– protects from numerous infections and fights against free radicals.

Just look at the celebrities attending red carpet events – their skin has that radiance and beautiful glow from within. You don’t have to resort to beauty injections and surgeries to get the desired complexion – a suitable everyday skincare routine will do the trick! Yofing products can become your loyal assistant and a tried-and-true go-to for luminous healthy skin. Plus, unlike anti-aging injections, these products are widely available and not only hide but effectively eliminate all imperfections.

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