SKIN CONCERNS 101
A destination for education to help you manage your everyday skin concerns
Why a Healthy Skin Barrier Means Glowing Skin
A strong skin barrier is the best defence against sensitive, sore and problem skin but how do you ensure yours is working properly? Follow our expert guide to find out.
The First Line of Defence
Our skin is our biggest organ and the first line of defence in keeping us healthy. It is constantly hard at work, with the stratum corneum, the outermost part of the epidermis, acting as a vital front-line, protecting us against the perils of the environment; UV, pollution, infection, and other aggressors. Just like a security guard for your skin, the barrier is there to stop these aggressors passing through and causing problems. A thin, weak or damaged skin barrier allows irritants in, or irritates more easily - and so building up this surface layer could be the key to reducing skin sensitivity, irritation and premature ageing long term. On a more superficial level it’s the most visible sign that we’re healthy from a cosmetic point of view.
Understanding Your Skin Structure
To understand how to keep your skin healthy, it’s important to understand the skin’s structure. Think of the stratum corneum – that’s the outer layer of the epidermis - as a brick-wall like structure. This outer layer is comprised of corneocytes (bricks), which are held in place by a defined ratio of intercellular lipids (mortar) consisting of ceramides (oils), cholesterol and fatty acids.
When the lipid bilayer is compromised this causes the skin barrier to break down leading to moisture loss. The skin will start to look dry, dull and possibly scaly, feel itchy and become more vulnerable to external irritants. This means chemicals can penetrate more readily and potentially cause inflammation, which manifests as skin sensitivity.
Why the skin barrier is sometimes weak
There are many reasons factors why your skin barrier might be weakened. Aside from environmental factors, your skin can be affected by genetics, colour and age. Generally, the paler the skin, the thinner the barrier, which means pale skin is more prone to rashes, sensitivity and irritation. Added to this, as we age our skin gets weaker, largely due to the amount of hydration in our body. When we’re born we are composed of 75% water but as we age this percentage drops dramatically. Hello wrinkles, fine lines and dry, cracked or problem skin.
The products we use can be responsible for weakening our skin barrier too. Some ingredients like perfume in products can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Even some prescription creams for acne and steroid creams prescribed for severe irritations such as eczema, may cause a thinning of the skin which, while reducing the inflammation, leave skin vulnerable to further irritants. So how can you strengthen that all-important surface layer?
How products can help keep skin healthy.
Sensitive or not, building up the skin’s outer barrier will benefit the appearance of the skin and increase its resilience and flexibility. If your skin barrier is working optimally, it will retain water effectively keeping it hydrated. It’s also likely to look more radiant as a consequence. While your skin naturally produces hyaluronic acid and ceramides to keep it healthy and hydrated factors, including genetics, environment, pollution, diet and age can compromise skin’s ability to act properly. And this is where carefully chosen, topically applied products can step in and really help.
The award-winning CeraVe range has been developed with dermatologists specifically to protect the skin’s barrier function for healthy, hydrated skin. It contains 3 essential ceramides (1,3 and 6-II) and its carefully formulated blend of active moisturisers, skin natural ingredients and emollients help to protect the skin’s natural barrier, along with hydrating hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring sugar that can absorb up to 1000 times its weight in water to help retain skin’s natural moisture levels. The solutions are all powered by revolutionary MVE technology, which ensures the continuous release of actives over a long period of time, for 24h hydration. Moreover, CeraVe’s formulas are fragrance-free, non-irritating and non-comedogenic (won’t block pores).
The CeraVe range includes moisturising creams, lotions, hand creams, eye creams and cleansers to suit every skin type and preference. It’s the affordable beauty essential you can’t afford to be without.