Do you suffer from dryness, flakiness, or dehydrated skin?
Or maybe irritation, itchy or chapped, red skin is a concern?
These are all signs your skin’s lipid barrier is undermined.
To treat this imbalance, it is important to understand what is going on under our skin.
As an esthetician with 20 years of experience, I have treated many skin conditions.
The biggest concern is the compromised lipid barrier, which presents itself as dehydrated skin that’s red, inflamed, and sensitive.
Typical skin concerns
- my skin is red, inflamed, dry, or dehydrated
- all products that I apply sting, so I don’t know what to use to help heal my skin
- I have to keep my skincare routine really, very simple, and it is frustrating
- I try to use products created for sensitive skin, but my skin still feels irritated
- my sensitive skin has started to get worse in my 40’s
- my doctor prescribed me hydrocortisone, but it only made my skin more sensitive
After treating so many clients with these concerns, there is no doubt in my mind that many products and treatments are too aggressive and lead to a damaged protective moisture barrier.
The protective barrier function
Your barrier function comprises lipids, complex fatty components such as ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids. This complex layer of materials contains inter-cellular lipids, which prevent foreign bodies and irritants from entering; it also protects against water loss and dehydration; I refer to it as a fort wall – a beautiful protective barrier.
Although we have this barrier, harmful bacteria and viruses can still get under our skin. Imagine that your cells are like bricks in a wall, and there is the cement that holds these bricks together.
Well, in the same way, cement fills spaces between bricks; your skin has oils or lipids that fill the gaps between the skin cells, preventing foreign bodies from slipping through.
If you’ve DROPPED LEMON on a CUT, you’ll know that feeling all too well; this is because the inter-cellular matrix has become impaired, and this is exactly what happens when your skin becomes dry or chapped, lost lipids allow easy penetration of foreign bodies, which in turn releases a cascade of inflammation.
Healthy lipid barrier: When our protective barrier is intact, our skin is healthy, nothing can invade and penetrate this protective barrier. Skin is plump and hydrated because the water stays in the tissues, and skin tone and texture are completely free from redness.
An impaired lipid barrier: When the skin’s barrier function becomes impaired, it allows penetration of ingredients. If you think back to that lemon, you can relate to how the citric acid burns the skin when it hits a nerve ending.
Gaps appear in the dermis allowing moisture to escape from the deeper layers; this can cause a whole host of skin conditions and inflammation, causing once-healthy cells to become sensitised; this is why it can be difficult to treat sensitivity.
A lot goes on when your skin barrier is compromised, and the goal is to prevent foreign bodies such as bacteria, allergens, and irritants, including our lemon juice, from getting under our skin. When our lipid barrier is intact, the skin is free from inflammation, dehydration, and dryness.