Protecting the Skin Barrier: Your Natural Defense for Beautiful, Healthy Skin
Posted On Sep 21, 2015
What’s the most important step in your skincare routine? Today dermatologists are putting an emphasis on protecting the skin barrier, otherwise known as the moisture barrier. Our skin is the body’s defense against injury and infection. More than 90 percent of the skin barrier function occurs in the epidermis, primarily in the outer layer or stratum corneum, which is composed of a protein called keratin. This outer layer is protected by a hydrolipidic film composed of water, lipids and oils.
Function of the skin barrier: The skin barrier defends skin in four ways:
Slows the loss of water from the stratum corneum to keep our skin smooth and supple
- Protects against environmental factors such as the elements
- Acts as an immune system by protecting skin from bacteria, allergens, pollutants and other potential irritants
- Shields against the damage caused by free radicals
It’s vitally important to keep the skin barrier intact. Dry skin is prone to cracking, and any fissure, nick or cut creates a portal of entry for bacteria and other potential irritants, creating the risk of infection, inflammation and/or allergic reaction.
Signs of damage to the skin barrier: The hydrolipidic film that optimizes the skin barrier function is compromised when skin is exposed to harsh environmental conditions such as sun, wind and extreme temperatures, as well as drying skincare products. Chronic dry skin, a tendency to break out in rashes and contact dermatitis are a few signs that damage has been done to the skin barrier. As we age, our natural supply of lipids decreases. After 50, our skin does not have the buffering capacity to bring the pH of the skin back to an optimal level of 5.4, which is needed for ideal skin barrier function, according to dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in NY. “This makes the skin less protected and more sensitive,” says Dr. Graf.
How to protect the skin barrier:
- Look for products that are allergy-tested and/or dermatologist-tested
- Avoid cleansing/showering with hot water and ditch harsh cleansers—both can strip skin’s protective lipids
- Prevent inflammation, which can accelerate the natural aging process, by protecting skin from the elements and using a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen
- Check labels for antioxidants, which neutralize skin-damaging free radicals
- Restore the hydrolipidic film with ingredients that help skin retain hydration such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin
Perfect Protection for the Skin Barrier: If you’re looking for a skincare product that offers excellent protection, consider LIFTLAB LIFT + FIX™, an ultra-light, restorative serum infused with Cell Protection Proteins®, first discovered as the secret to survival in plants and marine life that thrive in icy Arctic conditions. “Cell Protection Proteins® cover cells like a blanket, protecting them from the harmful effects of extreme dryness, pollutants, cold-induced skin changes and UVA/UVB rays,” says LIFTLAB founder and CEO Elliot Entis. “They also increase your skin’s immune system responses by promoting an increase in skin’s production of natural antioxidants, regenerative proteins and proteins that signal the body to increase other critical proteins, including collagen and elastin.” LIFT + FIX™ also contains Aquafill with Hyaluronic Acid and Barley Extract for long-lasting hydration and lipid barrier protection.