When I first heard the term “Skin Barrier Function” over 10 years ago, when I entered into this industry, my thinking was “This is going to be scientific, switch your brain on Nat!”, but once you get your head around it, it really is quite simple. Let me break it down for you.
Understanding Your Skin Barrier Function
When I first heard the term “Skin Barrier Function” over 10 years ago, when I entered into this industry, my thinking was “This is going to be scientific, switch your brain on Nat!”, but once you get your head around it, it really is quite simple.
Let me break it down for you.
Firstly, the “Skin Barrier Function” can also be referred to as your “Epidermal Shield” or your “Epidermal Barrier”, or your “Acid Mantle”, just to confuse matters more, they’re all the same thing. Think of a beautiful castle (that’s you), it’s surrounded by a moat of water and guards at the entrance holding up their shields, ready to defend the castle, the latter being your Skin Barrier Function. Its role is to defend your skin against any aggressors and to balance your skin.
The Epidermal Barrier’s role it to provide an outside-inside barrier that has three primary functions:
- Limiting Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL)/aka Dehydration
- Protecting against environmental aggressions (e.g., chemical, ultraviolet light, allergens…)
- Preventing microbial infection.
The Epidermal Barrier is composed of a mixture of “ingredients”; a portion being bacteria and another being oils. If you have a perfect combination of bacteria and oils, you get an ideal Acid pH Range of 5-5.5, and hooray!! You have a perfectly balanced and protected skin! This is what I always refer to as “Balanced skin”. As a member of the “Balanced Skin” Society, your skin will be smooth, even in its tone, and it will emit the optimum amount of oils; in other words, you will have near to perfect skin, and you no longer need to read past this point, Luck you!
However, most of us aren’t in the “Balanced Skin” Society, you will know if your Skin Barrier is disrupted if you suffer from any of the below symptoms:
SO WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHY
It can be a combination of reasons, but they are thankfully limited to:
Uneven levels of Good and Bad Bacteria on the skin
Our skin is home to millions of bacteria, fungi and viruses. I know … ewww… but we need them as they play an essential role in the general health of our skin. However, these bacterium need to be balanced out, because if they’re not, it causes problems. For example, an abundance of P.Acnes bacterium , which is prevalent during our teenage years, will produce more acne.
A Lack of Hydration
Hydration is key to achieve any healthy skin. Whether you’re oily, sensitive, dry or a unicorn …. You need hydration. So give your Skin Barrier a helping hand in its role to prevent Trans Epidermal Water Loss and Hydrate!
A Lack of Oils
The role of oil is simple, to soften the skin, to protect the skin, but most importantly, to prevent the precious hydration from leaving your skin. Oils, which are mainly found in facial creams and facial oils, are primarily designed to prevent Trans Epidermal Water Loss.
Too much dead skin on the surface aka Keratinised Skin
Have a feel of your skin, does it feel peachy and soft? No? A little bit rough then? This is known as Keratinised Skin, too many layers of dead skin on the surface. This is a problem as it prevents your skincare from properly absorbing into your skin, all those precious ingredients are not really absorbing properly, so let’s remove that dead skin!
THINGS TO AVOID DOING TO MAINTAIN THE HEALTH OF YOUR SKIN BARRIER:
- Don’t strip your skin
Too many sebum-regulating products will only dry out and dehydrate your skin, triggering your skin to only produce more oils. Fight the urge!!
- Don’t over-exfoliate
Over-Exfoliating, whether it’s chemical or manual exfoliation will only sensitise your skin further and disrupt the balance of bacteria
- Staying in the shower or bath for too long
I know, this one is weird, but it’s really dehydrating for your skin. Ever had that tight feeling on your face when you emerge from a really hot shower? Yup! That’s dehydration!
- Too many strong ingredients in your daily routine
High amounts of Hydroxy Acids, Retinoids and Vitamin C can disrupt the skin and make it reactive, opt for one type of high active at a time.
PRODUCTS TO INVEST IN THAT WILL RESTORE YOUR SKIN BARRIER FUNCTION:
Focusing on Balancing the bacteria part of your routine, I absolutely love The Facial Low as its main role is to balance the microbiota of the skin by injecting a healthy supply of Lactobacillus & Cocos Nucifera Fermentum.
Focusing on Hydration, it’s imperative to always include a hydrating serum in your routine, I personally adore the Renewing Serum by Sapelo as it contains varying sizes of Hyaluronic Acid molecules to hydrate the skin in different ways. I apply at night and wake up to a lovely plump skin!
Focusing on Oils or Creams, this would very much depend on your skin, but I personally love the Ayuna Cellular Oil, it smells wonderful (but not irritating at all), it’s not comedogenic and it leaves my skin supple and smooth.
Focusing on Removing Dead Skin, you’ll need an exfoliator for this one! If you fancy a gentle exfoliation which is both chemical and manual, I love the Essence mask by Ayuna. It contains Gluconolactone which is a gentle exfoliating acid and micro-crystalline cellulose which will gently manually exfoliate the skin.
I very much hope the Skin Barrier Function is now better understood, but as always, if you have any questions about your specific skin, we are always more than happy to advise!
Simply email us or call us (02033589997) and we’ll get back to you rapidly.
THE FACIAL LOW
Please do let us know how you get on with trying them out!
Lots of love,
By Embassy of Beauty