The skin barrier or stratum corneum is the outermost layer of the skin’s surface. It consists of cells and lipids (these are fats). It is the skin barrier which prevents water and nutrients from evaporating from the skin while also shielding the skin from pollutants and bacteria by producing antimicrobial peptides and proteins.
Skin barrier function
The strength of the skin barrier and how well it protects the skin from the external environment is known as the skin barrier function.
When your skin barrier function is poor the skin will feel like it is burning, it may be red, irritated, you will likely suffer from breakouts and rashes. It will probably be dry and tight.
Conversely, developing and maintaining a good skin barrier means even-toned, soft, smooth and clear skin.
How to help your skin barrier
So, what do we need to do to reach skin barrier nirvana?
Research suggests that you should consider the following:
- Have a nutrient-rich diet. Food high in Omega 3s are particularly important.
- Wear sunscreen and avoid the sun.
- Avoid overcomplicating your skincare routine and use skincare products that are natural and without nasty foaming agents and fillers. You don’t want to strip your skin of moisture.
- Use warm water to wash your face – not hot water.
- Don’t over exfoliate. If you are using manual exfoliation (like our Purifying Mask) be very gentle when massaging it into your skin and when you take it off. Although the mask has been finely milled and won’t scratch the skin, we still need to treat the skin with care. And finally, we believe weekly exfoliation is best – any more frequently can be problematic for sensitive skin. If using chemical exfoliation be mindful of the percentage of exfoliating agents (more isn’t always better) and the ph.
- Consider whether supplementing your diet with oral ceramides and Essential Fatty Acid supplements would be useful for you.
Be kind to your skin
You can develop good barrier function by being kind to your skin. All it takes is a good diet and excellent nurturing skin care. Having glowing, clear, soft and even skin is worth the effort.