Skin Barrier
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Skin Barrier: What You Need to Know and How to Protect It

healthie_folks 
Skin Barrier

In order to prevent free radical damage to your body, your skin barrier provides protection. The most common cause of damage is harsh environments. Oils, ceramides, and other moisturizers can help protect it.

The shelves of beauty boutiques and drugstores are filled with products that promise to rejuvenate and protect your skin. There are some that exfoliate, some that are plump, and some that moisturize.

There is one thing these products have in common: they all work on the skin barrier, the outermost layer of your body.

However, what exactly is your skin barrier, and what causes damage to it?

We’ll answer those questions in this article and also examine how to restore and protect this crucial protective layer.

What is the purpose of your skin barrier?

There are several layers to your skin, each of which performs an important function.

Stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin, is often described as a brick wall. There are tough cells in the skin called corneocytes. Lipids bind these cells together. This is the barrier to your skin.

A layer of keratin and natural moisturizers lies inside each skin cell, or “brick.” Lipids consist of:

  • cholesterol
  • ceramides
  • fatty acids

It is literally this thin brick wall that keeps you alive. Your skin would be vulnerable to harmful environmental toxins and pathogens if it was not protected from penetration.

Moreover, a lack of skin barrier would lead to water escaping from your body and evaporating, leaving you completely dehydrated. In order for your body to function properly, your skin barrier must be protected.

Your skin barrier can be damaged by what? 

In addition to defending itself against threats from the outside, your skin also defends itself against threats from within.

Your skin barrier may be affected by a number of external and internal factors, including:

  • Environments with too much humidity or too little moisture
  • Certain genetic factors may increase your risk of developing skin conditions like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis
  • Harsh chemicals exposure
  • Detergents and soaps formulated with alkaline solutions
  • steroids
  • Over-exfoliation and over-washing
  • irritants, allergens, and pollutants
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Stress-related mental health problems

Acid mantle role

A small amount of acidity is present in your skin barrier. This acidity acts as a buffer to prevent the growth of fungi, bacteria, and viruses that could cause infections and damage your skin.

Protecting the acid mantle around wounds is important since many biological interactions take place during healing that requires the acidity of the skin.

Occasionally, diseases like diabetes and incontinence can harm your skin’s buffer by changing its acidity. Skin care products that are slightly more acidic are recommended for people with these conditions.

What are the signs of a damaged skin barrier? 

There are several skin conditions and symptoms that may arise when your skin barrier isn’t functioning properly:

Skin that is dry and scaly

Scaling, itching, and cracking are all common symptoms of dry skin. A number of factors can lead to this condition. There is a possibility that your skin is naturally dry. In spite of having oily skin, you can sometimes suffer from dry skin.

You can experience dry skin anywhere on your body. The most common areas affected are the hands, arms, and legs. Treatment can often be as simple as lifestyle changes and over-the-counter moisturizers. The doctor should be consulted if these treatments don’t help.

It is also possible for your hands to become dry when you use hand sanitizer or wash them frequently. If you wash your hands frequently, it is a good idea to apply moisturizer afterward.

Skin itchiness

Pruritus, or itchy skin, is a sensation that makes you want to scratch in an attempt to relieve the irritation. An internal illness or skin condition can cause itchiness.

When itchy skin doesn’t have an obvious cause, consult a doctor. Treatments can be provided for relief once the underlying cause is identified.

There are a number of home remedies that you can use to stop itching, including creams and moisturizers you can purchase over the counter.

Patches of rough skin or discoloration

Any change in your skin’s tone that is not in line with its natural tone is called skin discoloration. A variety of colors can be seen in these areas of discolored skin, including:

  • red
  • blue
  • brown
  • black
  • purple
  • pink

In addition to benign causes of skin discoloration, like birthmarks, there are some conditions that may result in discolored skin when they are untreated.

Depending on the level of melanin in a specific area, discolored patches may also appear on the skin. As well as providing color to the skin, melanin protects it from the sun’s rays. There can be differences in skin tone when too much melanin is produced.

Skin cancer is another possibility, which should be investigated by a dermatologist as soon as possible.

Acne on the skin

A pore is a tiny hole in your skin that can be blocked by oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and dirt. It is possible to develop pimples, sometimes called zits or blemishes, as a result.

There is a possibility that you have acne if you get pimples frequently, especially numerous ones at one time repeatedly. Basically, acne causes pimples on the skin.

There are many people who suffer from acne. Globally, 9.4 percent of people suffer from acne, according to research. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports acne as the most common skin condition in the United States.

You shouldn’t worry if you suffer from acne, but it can still be painful, especially if the condition is severe. Scarring may also occur as a result of acne over time.

The emotional distress associated with acne cannot be denied. Self-esteem and self-confidence can be affected by acne and acne scars on the face and in other visible areas of your body.

Condition of acne is common, so you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it.

Aside from being very treatable, acne can also be prevented. There are several effective treatments available to help minimize scarring and reduce pimples.

Areas of the skin that are sensitive or inflamed

In order to maintain your overall health, you need a strong immune system. By detecting and neutralizing foreign invaders, including infectious microbes and cancer cells, it protects the body. It is possible for inflammation to occur as a result of this.

Immune responses can be triggered by your skin as well as by any other part of your body. A rash usually forms when there is inflammation in the skin. Immune responses typically occur in response to conditions like:

  • due to allergies
  • An internal illness or condition

Inflammation of the skin can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Skin infections of many types
  • dermatitis
  • psoriasis

A fungal, bacterial, or viral infection of the skin

Your body’s largest organ is your skin. Basically, it prevents infections from entering your body. A person’s own skin can become infected. The causes of skin infections are wide-ranging, and the symptoms can be mild or severe.

Medications and home remedies may be able to treat mild infections, while medical care may be required for more serious infections.

Fungal Infection: Everywhere there is a fungus. Their presence is common in plants, soil, and even on the skin. When these microorganisms multiply quickly or penetrate your skin through a cut or lesion, they usually do not cause any problems.

A fungal skin infection is often caused by sweat or damp areas that lack adequate airflow since fungi flourish in warm and moist environments. Skin folds and feet are examples of such places.

Skin discoloration or scaly rashes commonly accompany these infections.

It is very common to get fungal infections on the skin. There is usually no risk of serious consequences from the infection, despite the fact that it can be bothersome and uncomfortable.

Direct contact is often the cause of fungal skin infections. It can occur when clothing and other items are in contact with fungi, as well as when a person or animal comes into contact with it.

Bacterial Infection: There is a tendency for bacteria to cause small, red bumps on the skin that gradually grow larger over time. Depending on the severity of the infection, topical antibiotics may be sufficient to treat some bacterial infections, while oral antibiotics may be necessary for others. There are several types of bacterial skin infections, including:

  • impetigo
  • cellulitis
  • Hansen’s disease (leprosy)
  • boils

Viral Infection: An infection caused by a virus that occurs on the skin. There is a wide range of severity in these infections. Viral infections can be classified as follows:

  • Molluscum contagiosum
  • (herpes zoster)
  • measles
  • chickenpox
  • hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • warts

Skin barrier protection and restoration

To maintain a healthy skin barrier and acid mantle, what should you do to ensure they are both functioning properly? Here are five strategies you can use.

Streamline Your Skincare Routine

The complexity of your daily skin regimen may inadvertently weaken your skin barrier if you’re using a lot of products. Obtain advice from a dermatologist or a skin care specialist about what products you should use.

Exfoliate your skin using a method that suits your skin’s needs. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends soft clothes and mild chemical exfoliants for those with sensitive skin.

There is a risk of temporarily damaging your skin barrier when using scrubs and brushes.

Pay attention to the pH

It is normal for your skin’s acid mantle to have a pH level of 4.7. However, some skin care products have pH levels from 3.7 to 8.2.

The pH of cleansing products should be between 4.0 and 5.0, according to researchers.

Skin conditions such as dermatitis, ichthyosis, acne, and Candida albicans may be prevented by keeping your pH level healthy. Many products do not list their pH, but some do.

Boost your skin’s barrier with plant oils

Several plant oils have been shown to aid in the repair of the skin barrier and to prevent moisture loss through the skin barrier according to research. A number of these oils have antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidant properties as well.

You may want to consider using the following plant oils on your skin:

  • argan oil

The oil has traditionally been used on skin, hair, and nails, both topically and orally. In addition to having a number of beneficial properties, it contains many vitamins that boost the health of your skin.

  • Jojoba oil

Skincare routines often include jojoba oil. That’s for a good reason. Despite its reputation as an acne and dry skin remedy, pure jojoba oil has plenty of evidence to support its use.

  • almond oil

Skin irritations and minor cuts have been treated with almond oil for centuries. The oil has been used as a skin treatment for eczema and psoriasis for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic cultures.

  • rosehip oil

Oranges and lemons don’t have as much vitamin C as rosehips. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C are well known. Free radicals caused by ultraviolet light may be reduced by vitamin C, according to research. As well as supporting collagen production, vitamin C reduces wrinkles. In addition to helping heal wounds and prevent dry skin, vitamin C may also improve wound healing.

  • coconut oil

There are various types of skin disorders that involve chronic inflammation, including eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.

A study has shown that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties.

  • sunflower oil

Oil from sunflowers is effective at killing bacteria and germs because of its linoleic acid content. Sunflower oil was shown to significantly reduce infant mortality caused by hospital-acquired infections, such as sepsis, in a 2008 study performed on premature infants in Bangladesh.

  • black currant oil

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends blackcurrant seed oil for easing psoriasis symptoms, despite the lack of scientific research on the oil’s effectiveness.

Psoriasis patches can be slowed down if blackcurrant seed oil is taken orally. Skin that is dry, itchy, or stinging can also be treated with it directly.

  • soybean oil

Vitamin E is a nutrient that can enhance skin health. Soybean oil is rich in vitamin E. When applied topically, it can help prevent inflammation and retain moisture in the skin.

Some studies suggest that vitamin E is beneficial for treating acne and atopic dermatitis as well as protecting the skin from damage.

  • borage oil

There are a number of potential uses for borage seed oil, including inflammation, acne, eczema etcetera.

  • primrose oil

Using plant oils on your skin can be done in a variety of ways.

Using creams and lotions containing these oils can be beneficial. The oil can also be poured into your palm and gently massaged on the skin until it gets absorbed.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) may be responsible for its healing properties. Plant oils contain omega-6 fatty acids called GLA.
Acne can be cleared with it. As a result of GLA in EPO, acne may be prevented through a reduction in skin inflammation and the number of lesions that arise. Moisture may also be retained by the skin when it is applied.

Moreover, eczema may be eased by it. EPO has been approved for the treatment of eczema, an inflammatory skin condition, in some countries other than the United States.

Be on the lookout for formulations that contain ceramides

The stratum corneum contains high concentrations of ceramides, which are waxy lipids. A healthy skin barrier relies on them.

The results of research from 2019 indicate that pseudo-ceramide products can alleviate dryness, itching, and scaling caused by a dysfunctional barrier. Additionally, ceramide-rich moisturizers can enhance your skin barrier’s structural integrity.

Those with acne may benefit especially from ceramide moisturizers. Skin that is acne-prone often has impaired barriers, which may result in redness and dryness. Dark skin may also be protected by products containing ceramides. Ceramide levels were found to be lower in darker skin tones, according to a study published in 2014.

Hydrating creams with hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, or glycerin are recommended

Moisturizing the skin is often recommended as a solution to dry skin.

Occlusive moisturizers help to maintain your skin’s barrier by preventing water loss. A thin film is left on your skin when you apply these products, which helps keep moisture in.

Experts say petrolatum can prevent over 99% of skin water loss, so it’s one of the most popular occlusive moisturizers.

Humectants also repair barrier function, similar to occlusive moisturizers. Water is drawn into the skin barrier from the environment or from inside your body by humectants. A hyaluronic acid-based product, a glycerin-based product, a honey-based product, or a urea-based product may be a good choice as per the researchers.

Everyone’s skin responds differently to certain skincare ingredients. Therefore, you should try several different products to find the one that best works for preserving the health and moisture of your skin.

What do healthierfolks want to say?

As your body’s outermost layer, the skin barrier provides protection against environmental threats while also safeguarding the critical water balance of your body.

Inflammation, itching, and dryness can indicate a disruption in the barrier.

By following these steps, you can assist your skin in repairing its barrier:

  • Streamlining your skincare routine
  • A pH-appropriate product should be used
  • Hyaluronic acid or ceramide-based moisturizers are recommended

Your skin barrier can also be strengthened by moisturizers containing petrolatum.

As your body’s first line of defense against the environment, your skin barrier is one of the most important parts. The health of your skin goes far beyond cosmetics.

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