The skin barrier or stratum corneum is a specialised layer that forms the outermost part of the epidermis. It's our vital front-line defence to protect us against the perils of the environment, UV radiation, pollution, infection, toxic chemicals and so on.
Much like a security guard for your skin, the skin barrier is designed to prevent the entrance of harmful microorganisms or irritants. A thin, weak or damaged skin barrier allows irritants in, or skin to irritate more easily. Building a stronger thicker skin barrier is the best defence to reducing skin sensitivity in the long term.
Skin is the largest organ of the body. The outermost layer of the skin surface is the skin barrier. The epidermis, the top layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone. The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue. The skin barrier is made up of 7-10 layers of dead skin cells. Cells that began in a deeper layer of the skin and migrated to the surface. These skin cells are stacked on top of each other and held together at the skin surface with a substance called lipids. To picture how they are held together think of a brick wall structure bricks (skin cells) which are held together by a complex mixture of mortar (lipids). Even though these skin cells in the skin barrier are technically not living cells. They are responsible for the health of our skin and play an important role in protecting skin from outer bacteria and viruses, along with the microbiome.
Our skin holds water and nutrients by creating a waterproof barrier. Sealing moisture in to keep the skin lubricated while allowing waste products to pass out. The skin's lipids are essential components of skin that play a crucial role in maintaining the strength of the skin's protective barrier. It is the fatty acid's job (lipids) to keep the cell healthy and the membrane functioning optimally, aiding in the skin's natural repair process. When there are not enough of these fatty acids the structure of the "brick wall" (skin barrier) becomes unstable. Accelerating Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) leading to dry skin and allowing irritants to penetrate through the skin more easily. Maintaining lipids levels is crucial to having healthy skin. If your skin barrier is working well, it will retain water effectively, maintaining good hydration balance.This means it contains the right amount of lipids, and the right amount of Natural Moisturising Factor. If it’s not, skin will look dry, dull and possibly scaly.
If your skin is dry, dehydrated or lack lustre then giving it a topical boost of lipids will immediately improve the quality and condition of the skin. We recommend using a whole plant serum containing linoleic acid, an omega 6 fatty acid. It’s an essential fatty acid that we can’t manufacture ourselves, so we must obtain it through diet or topical application. It helps to repair barrier function and is also an effective moisturising agent. A damaged skin barrier can be repaired, restored and maintained with whole plant actives. By adhering to a proper cleansing regimen, limiting your skin's exposure to harmful elements, and integrating repairing remedies into your life, you will begin to see the effects of a stronger, healthy skin barrier.
Looking after you skin barrier with botanical actives and phytonutrients will help you achieve smooth, plump, resilient skin. Plus optimal skin health and vibrant beautiful looking skin.
At NUN we recommend a targeted approach to building your skin barrier. Use TRANSFORM Phyto Boost containing Safflower and Sunflower oil both rich in linoleic acid to boost and rebuild the lipid barrier. Our HYDRATE Phyto Boost has a unique combination of Essential Fatty Acids 3, 6, 9 and Omega and best for skin that is severely dry or dehydrated.