Skin Barrier 101: What it is and how to protect it
In past articles I have spoken to you about the skin’s barrier and the importance of keeping it healthy and intact. Today I will talk about what the barrier is made of, and how to protect it.
Your skin, the largest organ in the body, is made up of many layers. Each layer plays an important part and is key in keeping your skin healthy and blemish free. Although there are five specialized layers of the skin, today we will be talking about the stratum corneum and the stratum basale. Let’s break down these layers and talk about their role.
Outermost Layer of Epidermis (Skin)
The stratum corneum is the outermost, superficial layer of your skin. It is the one that is visible to you and constantly exposed to the outside environment. There are approximately 15 to 30 layers of cells in the stratum corneum. In the past there was a long-standing belief that the stratum corneum consisted of dead cells and had no function. The stratum corneum is now understood to be live tissue that performs protective and adaptive functions. Think of the stratum corneum as a brick wall, made up of layers of older skin cells that are ‘mortared’ or stuck together with lipids or fats. This layer creates the outer barrier. The stratum corneum exists to protect the inner layers of the skin. If everything is working properly, the stratum corneum will help protect you against:
- Cell dehydration, by preventing water loss
Innermost Layer of Epidermis (Skin)
The deepest or innermost layer of the epidermis is called the stratum basale, or the basal layer. This layer is the birthplace of new skin cells. Once a new skin cell is formed, it begins it’s journey up through the layers of the skin, towards the stratum corneum. Along its way, it pushes the older cells in front of it towards the surface. As the cells progress towards the stratum corneum or outermost layer, they age and become a ‘keratinized’ or hard surface that allow them to form the strong barrier known as the stratum corneum. The stratum basale also contains two other types of cells: Merkel cells and melanocytes. Merkel cells send messages to the brain and get translated as your sense of touch. Melanocytes produce melanin, which is the pigment or color in your skin and hair. Overactive melanocytes will produce to much pigment, which show up on your skin as dark spots or ‘melasma’.
Best Way to Protect Skin
Now that you have learned about two very important layers of the skin, what is the best way to protect and keep them healthy?
- Cleanse your skin daily – preferable twice per day.
Clean skin is healthy skin, as long as you are not stripping the protective layer or stratum corneum. Make sure to use a hydrating cleanser that does not contain chemical ingredients that could damage your protective barrier. High priority FOAMING FACE CLEANSER, is an aloe based, nutrient dense cleanser that will leave your skin clean, hydrated and protected. As mentioned above, it is preferable to cleanse your face morning and night, but if you are opting to cleanse only once per day, make sure it is before bed. The PM cleanse will remove make up, dirt and debris from the day and allow your skin to renew itself while you sleep.
- Exfoliate – once to twice per week
Once the outermost skin cells have run their course, they can become old, sticky and flakey. Exfoliation is the process where you help remove those old, tired skin cells so the new, baby-fresh cells can take over as the protective layer. High maintenance PEELING MASK provides your skin with 3 types of exfoliators to purify, resurface and smooth your skin.
- Treat – nightly
With all the work it does, your skin’s protective barrier needs to be treated with the highest-powered ingredients to keep this barrier healthy and hydrated. High expectations FACIAL OIL contains BioCanna®, formulated with hemp seed oil, bioflavonoids and pure plant essential oils. This nutrient dense formulation will help calm inflammation, protect with potent antioxidants, balance oil production, and hydrate and replenish your skin’s protective barrier while you sleep.
- Moisturize – daily
As important as treating your skin at night, so is moisturizing during the day. No matter your skin type, you should always moisturize after cleansing. Not only will using a moisturizer like high five FACIAL MOISTURIZER keep your skin hydrated and glowing, this nutrient and vitamin dense formulation in combination with CoQ10 and Vitamin C will boost cellular turnover, protect with potent antioxidants and brighten for healthy, protected skin.
- Finally – Apply an SPF – daily
As a final layer of protection, make sure you are applying an SPF every day, even on cloudy days. This added layer will protect your skin’s barrier from UVA and UVB rays, hyperpigmentation, premature aging and skin cancer.
Here at High, we believe taking care of your skin should be simple and effective. Follow these easy steps and you will be left with not only an intact protective barrier, but healthy and happy skin!