The words “skin barrier” are often used incorrectly.
In dermatology, the correct use of the term skin barrier means the skin's ability to hold onto water and keep out allergens, irritants and microbes.
WHAT IS THE SKIN BARRIER?
The skin barrier exists in the stratum corneum - the uppermost layer of the epidermis. It is made up of skin cells called keratinocytes, which are surrounded by a lipid bilayer. This lipid bilayer consists of equal parts fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol and is arranged between each keratinocyte, similar to the mortar that holds each brick into place in a building.
This lipid bilayer is arranged in such a way that the water-loving heads of the lipid molecules face outward, and the water-hating tails of the molecules face inward. Thus, water cannot pass through the bilayer, preventing water from leaving the skin. At the same time, this bilayer also prevents irritants and allergens from entering the skin.
When the skin barrier is damaged, the skin cannot retain water and is exposed to potentially harmful microbes.
WHAT CAUSES DAMAGE TO THE SKIN BARRIER, AND WHAT ARE SIGNS OF AN IMPAIRED BARRIER?
Some people are genetically predisposed to skin barrier damage, although other factors such as aging, stress, sun exposure, friction, harsh skincare ingredients can also cause impaired barrier function..
An impaired skin barrier will cause dryness, dehydration, sensitivities, and irritation. However, using the proper skincare regimen can effectively restore healthy barrier function and eliminate these symptoms.
HOW TO RENEW AND STRENGTHEN THE SKIN BARRIER?
The proper skincare regimen can renew skin barrier function, restoring healthy, hydrated skin. The first step is to avoid using products that will cause damage to the skin barrier. Choose a gentle gel-based cleanser, for example, rather than cleansers that contain harsh surfactant ingredients. Choose a gentle gel-based cleanser, for example, rather than cleansers that contain harsh surfactant ingredients.
The second step is to use a barrier repair moisturizer that mimics the skin's natural radio of fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol present within its lipid bilayer. MEDATURE PSL Repair Moisturizer 4 is a physiologic skin lipid (PSL) mixture specifically formulated to revitalize and strengthen the skin barrier.