What is the skin barrier?
One of the things you don’t hear too much about is the skin barrier.
The skin barrier refers to the outer layers of skin (the epidermis). It’s what we see when we look in the mirror.
What does the skin barrier do?
That epidermis works hard. It literally keeps your body together and protects it from invasion from the outside world.
Some of its many jobs include:
- Controlling water balance
- Guarding against invasion by microbes and foreign matter
- Shedding old skin cells
- Maintaining the skin’s elasticity, which lets your skin bounce rather than tear (ouch!)
How does the skin barrier work?
The layers under the epidermis (called dermis and hypodermis), produce a natural moisturizer made of fats, water, sugar, minerals, and amino acids. This biological cocktail forms a nice, intact barrier on our skin.
Sounds pretty tough, right?
Right. It is tough. But it’s also easily damaged. Something as simple as a strong soap can negatively influence our skin barrier.
In fact, this tough organ of ours can be damaged by a whole host of issues including:
- Harsh soaps and alkalis
- Environmental stressors such as pollution, cold, and wind, especially when combined with damp weather
- UV damage from the sun
- Certain skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema
- Aggressive skin treatment like dermabrasion
- Chemotherapy and radiation
What happens if our skin is damaged?
If the skin barrier is damaged, our skin gets dry and flaky because the natural moisturizers are removed. Water can more easily evaporate across the barrier. Our skin can become inflamed.
Hello, chapped, cracked, sunburned, red skin.
Inflammation of the skin can lead to cytokine release, which is associated with systemic inflammation. That means that your whole body can become inflamed when your skin is inflamed!
What’s worse is that systemic inflammation is linked to many chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes.
If you’re surprised that your skin’s condition can have such a negative effect on the rest of your body, just remember that skin is your body’s largest organ.*
How can we protect our skin barrier?
So far we know that keeping your skin healthy and the skin barrier intact is important to the health of your whole body.
We also know that as we get older, our skin naturally becomes thinner. This means that keeping the barrier in good shape is more critical than ever.
Here’s the good news. You can protect and restore your skin’s barrier and reduce inflammation by using skin care that includes hydrating and moisturizing ingredients.
Hydrating ingredients draw water to the skin cells. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by our bodies. It can draw and hold 1000x its weight in water. This powerhouse keeps skin moisturized, facilitates skin repair, helps in transportation of blood and nutrients skin layers, and helps plump up skin cells to provide cushioning and lubrication to the cells (and make them look great too).
As we grow in years, our bodies make less hyaluronic acid. Thankfully, we can add it to our skincare.
Moisturizing butters and oils help support and protect the skin’s barrier and provide nutrients such as essential fatty acids, lipids, minerals, and vitamins. Using a nourishing moisturizer twice a day has been shown to improve the skin barrier and reduce inflammation.*
SunWindSnow understands the importance of the skin barrier and has developed products to protect, nourish and restore it.
When you use these moisturizers twice a day, you’ll see the hydrating benefits and protect your skin barrier.
Serums and moisturizers like SunWindSnow’s SunUp and SunDown provide skin barrier protection and nourishment with hyaluronic acid, and wonderful oils and butter. It also ups the ante with restorative botanical ingredients like
- antioxidant berries
- green tea
- gotu kola
- reishi mushrooms
- adaptogenic herbs