The skin barrier – our body’s first line of defence

Skin Barrier
Image courtesy of Feepik.com

Our skin is such a complicated yet sophisticated organ. All around the clock, it’s keeping you protected from external environmental stressors like microorganisms, pollution, UV rays, dust, gunk—the list goes on. It is made of many layers with an outermost barrier layer or also commonly known as the “skin barrier’. It is this barrier that acts like the first line of defence for your body.

Our skin barrier is part of the top layer of our skin called the stratum corneum. It is made up of corneocytes (skin cells) and lipid interface that glued them together. The lipid interface is made up of free fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides. On their best state, this skin barrier will shed off their top layer which causes our skin natural exfoliation, keep our skin’s moisture intact and protect allergens from getting inside and causing irritation.

How does your skin barrier become damaged?

The bad news is that although the body is generally pretty good at protecting itself, when it comes to our skin barrier, modern life can really start to wear it down. Especially during the Coronavius epidemic the use of strong sanitizers can really negatively impact our skin. Redness, flakiness, tightness, itchiness, rough to the touch, fine lines, increased breakouts and rashes are all signs of a compromised barrier.

Possible causes of skin barrier damage

Signs of a compromised skin barrier are often mistaken for other skin concerns such as acne, rosacea and sun damage so it is really important to find the cause of the irritation. Look out for sudden or new changes in your skin and that would indicate that it something you are doing or in your environment.

The most common causes of a damaged skin barrier are:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Aggressive skincare habits, such as over-washing and over-exfoliating
  • Environmental aggressors, like UV exposure and pollution

How to Repair Your Skin Barrier

Less is more when we’re talking about your skin’s barrier, so go back to the basics. Overcomplicated routines are just asking for trouble – keep it simple for effective, nurturing skincare. Here are some helpful tips that can help with a healthy skin barrier:

  1. Skincare routine: review your skincare habits and assess if it suits your skin type. If you have oily skin, cleansing in the morning and again at night might be fine. But if you have dry skin, you may be better off sticking to cleansing only at night and splashing your face with water in the morning.
  2. Products: make sure you invest in a range of products that are as natural as possible and free from harmful chemicals. Jojoba oil (as found in our Le Bleu Advanced Repair Oil Serum) is most similar to the natural oils found in human skin (called ‘sebum’) and is high in Vitamins A, B complex and antioxidants. This makes it great oil for sensitive skin and to promote skin healing.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate: the single most important thing you can do to help heal your skin barrier is to keep it hydrated. Natural ingredients contain moisture as well as nutrients that nourish you skin. While products containing parabens only coats the skin with a thin layer that feels like it is doing something, but actually provides no moisture or nutrients to the skin. Hyaluronic Acid is one of the miracle ingredients (found in our Le Bleu Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Seum) that provide deep hydration. And our Advanced Repair Body Butter is great for blemishes and problem skin.
  4. Diet: we all know this one, but we forget that our skin needs nutrients in order to repair itself and fight off microorganisms. Try to slowly cut our sugars and fatty food and introduce more fresh fruit and vegetables. And most importantly drink lots of water, at least 8 glasses a day, to keep your body and skin hydrated from the inside.
  5. External factors:  it is not always possible to change external factors such air conditioning at work. But once you have identified the problem, you can implement measures to counteract. For example, if sanitizers are drying out your hands, invest in a good moisturiser such as our Le Bleu Hand & Nail Butter.

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