It’s Cool to Protect Your Skin! All You Need to Know About Skin Barrier Protection
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, but often the most neglected one. The main function of our skin is to protect us from the environment, which is full of toxins, inflammatory agents, microbes, water, and harsh weather conditions. These factors would have easily harmed us, if not for our skin.
What is a skin barrier?
Our skin has 2 layers – the dermis and epidermis. The epidermis is further divided into 5 layers. Most of the protective functions are carried out by the top layer, or the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum is a tough cornified layer, often known as a ‘brick wall’.
The reason behind this name is its structure which consists of cells bound together by lipid molecules. This layer is further reinforced by ceramides, cholesterol, keratin, and many other strengthing agents.
Skin with a healthy barrier is well hydrated, resilient, and flexible. A healthy barrier is going to do its job efficiently by protecting your skin from inflammation. If you observe your skin becoming dry, dull, and sensitive, you have a sound reason to suspect a weak or broken skin barrier.
Hereby, the question arises: How do you repair a broken skin barrier?
Ways to Repair & Protect Broken Skin Barrier
Here are some ways by which you can repair a damaged skin barrier so that it can do its functions without any misgivings.
Use sunscreen daily, even when you do not plan to stay in the sun for long. For added benefits, make sure that your sunscreen has antioxidants like niacinamide, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Avoid going out during peak hot hours. If you really have to go, use a hat or umbrella to protect yourselves from the worst effects of the sun.
One of the best ways by which you can repair a weak barrier is by moisturizing thoroughly. Using moisturizers with ingredients such as ceramides, peptides, urea, and/or hyaluronic acid replenishes your skin’s natural barrier in a matter of weeks.
All of us love using active ingredients in our skincare regime. However, the skin might not be able to handle actives if its barrier is damaged. Therefore, it is best to lay off actives when your skin barrier is weak.
Use a gentle cleaner that does not strip natural oils from your skin. Also, do not over-cleanse, for it will further damage your skin barrier.
The skin has a pH of around 5.7 which needs to be maintained to make sure the barrier remains intact. Some skincare ingredients have a very high or low pH which disrupts the skin’s natural pH. Therefore, before incorporating a product into your routine, make sure it has a pH level similar to the skin. Or, the average pH of all your skincare products in your routine should be close to 5.7.
You are what you eat
Along with a solid skincare regime, a good diet is essential for a good skin barrier. Do not neglect your fruits and vegetables. A healthy, balanced diet is what you need if you really want your skin to glow from within.
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