How To Repair Damaged Skin Barrier
Have you ever wondered whether your skin has any kind of natural protection?
The truth is that our skin has its own defensive mechanisms that protect it from different threats such as environmental pollution, ultraviolet and electromagnetic radiation, household pollutants, bacteria, stress as well as aging.
The thin layer of skin that is just 1mm thick and is responsible for protecting our skin from both internal and external threats is our skin´s protective barrier or the so called acid mantle, which is very important for our skin staying healthy.
In this article, we will talk about what threatens our skin barrier, how to recognize the signs of a damaged moisture barrier and its symptoms as well as how to repair damaged skin barrier.
What is the Acid Mantle Made Up Of?
The skin barrier or acid mantle is made up of a layers of dead skin cells bound together by a mixture of fatty acids (10%), ceramides (50%) and cholesterol (25%).
When everything is working properly, the combination of all of the above looks like a transparent film that wraps the keratinocytes around to prevent loss of water from the deeper layers of the skin but also to stop harmful elements from penetrating into the skin.
Imagine the skin barrier as the body’s first line of defense from the outside world. As long as the acid mantle is intact and safe, then our skin’s health is not at risk.
What Damages Our Skin Barrier?
There are different factors that can damage the protective skin barrier and they include extreme weather conditions such as intense heat or cold and freezing air as well as stress, bad eating habits, lack of sleep and environmental pollution.
All the above factors imbalance the epidermal barrier and contribute to the deterioration of the lipids that exist in the outer layer of the skin.
Also, the cumulative effect of ultraviolet radiation weakens the immune system and degenerates skin cells.
In addition, harsh skin cleansers strip the surface of the skin from its sebum and break down those valuable lipids. The same thing happens when we excessively exfoliate the skin and use chemical peels.
Damaged Skin Barrier Signs
One of the first symptoms of a damaged skin barrier is skin dehydration which gradually evolves into intense dryness.
Other signs of a damaged acid mantle include over sensitive skin, rosacea, dermatitis, skin rashes and of course premature aging. All these signs indicate the deterioration and reduction of lipids that bind keratinocytes together and keep them healthy.
Ingredients to Restore your Skin´s Acid Mantle
There are various ways to repair a damaged skin barrier, but choosing effective ingredients that due to their biomimetic action, they get more easily absorbed to the skin, they replenish moisture and strengthen the acid mantle is the best choice.
Here, we will see three of these ingredients that are great for restoring and healing your skin barrier.
Ceramides occur naturally in the skin and their goal is to maintain water at normal levels thus enhancing the protective barrier of the skin.
Natural aging, over use of hard cleansers and low-fat diets contribute to the reduction of ceramides in the skin.
So, skin care products that contain ceramides such as ceramide creams are proven to increase the skin´s moisture levels and repair the damage of the skin barrier.
Cholesterol lipid is a lipid that our body produces and has an active role in the synthesis of cell membranes. In the right amounts, this lipid can only be described as beneficial.
When it comes to the skin, it is one of the three structural components of the skin barrier of the stratum corneum and prevents water loss.
Together with the ceramides and fatty acids, they all keep the keratinocytes healthy and joined together. As we age and by the age of 40, the cholesterol lipid has already reduced at 40 percent and cracks are created in the skin barrier.
Skin care formulas that contain this cholesterol lipid are great for preventing moisture loss, softening the skin as well as strengthening and repairing its protective barrier.
Fatty acids are the structural components of all plant oils. The most important fatty acids for a healthy skin barrier are omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which unfortunately our bodies cannot produce.
These polyunsaturated fatty acids keep the water levels in the stratum corneum at normal levels and the same thing goes for the nutrients in the cells.
They also contribute to the antioxidant protection of the skin and some of them have a skin soothing function while they also promote better absorption of vitamins and other nutrients.
A source of fatty acids is primarily a healthy diet. However, the application of skin care products that contain fatty acids is equally beneficial.
Another way to benefit your skin with the protective properties of fatty acids is to use creams, moisturizers or serums that are enhanced with plant oils.
All in all, learning how to repair damaged skin barrier using effective skin care ingredients is a good way to keep your skin healthy.
In addition, enriching your diet with antioxidants, staying away from the sun, getting adequate sleep and finding ways to relieve stress are also great solutions to protect and heal your skin’s acid mantle.