Our skin’s barrier, or stratum corneum, is the outermost layer of our epidermis and is comprised of dead skin cells. Our barrier exists to protect us from the outside world, keeping out external environmental aggressors, bacteria, irritants, and keeping in the water necessary for properly hydrating us.
I like to break it down to my patients this way; think of your skin’s barrier as the Earth’s ozone layer. When we treat the Earth badly by polluting, we create holes in that ozone layer, leaving our planet more susceptible to severe weather, unusual climate changes, etc. Well the same thing happens when we mistreat our skin’s barrier, say you over exfoliate, resulting in stripping your skin’s barrier away. When your barrier is damaged, your skin becomes susceptible to an overproduction of oil, bacteria invading, dryness, flaking, etc.
Why is it important that our skin barrier is functioning properly aside from trying to avoid the side effects listed above? Because a healthy barrier is essential to healthy skin.
Our skin is composed of a complex network of various cells, proteins, ceramides, & lipids—but arguably, the most vital component of all is that barrier. Repairing an impaired barrier is always the first place to start when beginning your skin journey. Without that barrier we’re like dogs chasing our tails in that journey. We won’t notice progress because there is nothing there to protect the progress we’re making.
Signs your barrier may be impaired include peeling, flaking, blotchiness, redness, extreme oiliness or dryness, etc. Ways to repair your skin’s barrier include limiting your use of active ingredients, avoiding drugstore makeup wipes that contain harsh ingredients, not using your cleansing tools daily, using a moisturizer rich in ceramides, wearing SPF daily, etc.
To make a very long story short, our skin is our largest organ, it protects all of our other organs..keeping its' protective layer intact is crucial to overall skin health!
Thank you for reading!
This article of the Skinsider Scoop was graciously written by L.E., Alyssa Brock, and edited by the Clean Skin Club team. If you're interested in more from Alyssa, please shoot us an email, and follow her Instagram - @alyssatheillinoisesti