Our skin comprises three layers, each performing essential functions in protecting our body.
- The epidermis, or outer thin layer
- The dermis, or thick middle layer
- The subcutaneous fatty layer
The outer thin layer acts as a skin barrier and is our body’s first line of defense. Often described as a brick wall, it consists of rigid skin cells called corneocytes bound together by mortar-like lipids.
These walls are tightly bound together by mortar-like fats such as ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids. The outer layer also contains a protein called filaggrin, which helps make natural moisturizing factors (NMF) for the skin.
Our skin barrier has several functions. It protects us from the following:
- Harsh Environment
- Ultraviolet rays
- Irritation, inflammation, and infection
- Toxins, Pathogens
- Chemical exposure
The skin barrier regulates water loss from the inside out, retains moisture, and keeps us hydrated.
Additionally, without our skin barrier, the water inside our body would escape and evaporate, leaving us completely dehydrated.
Therefore, our skin barrier is essential for overall health and needs to be protected to help our body function properly.
We can help repair our skin’s barrier by:
- simplifying your skin care regimen
- using products with a suitable pH
- using a moisturizer that contains ceramides or a humectant like hyaluronic acid
Remember that our skin barrier is our body’s frontline defense against everything the environment can throw at us. So keeping it healthy is much more than a cosmetic concern.