At some point in time, as women and natural care givers, we’ve struggled with knowing the extent of our own boundaries - right? Many times we don’t even know we’re venturing outside of our boundaries, later we find ourselves tired, agitated and often times just plain ANGRY.
With this same unconscious when it comes to protecting our soul - it’s the same when it comes to our SKIN. That’s right, the boundaries of your skin - that create the ultimate protective barrier - for happy, healthy and joyous skin.
* Don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom for my #1 Suggestion! *
Addressing Boundaries + Barriers - in our skin.
The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of the epidermis, consisting of dead cells (corneocytes). This layer is composed of 15–20 layers of flattened cells and skin sebum. Shingles on a house - in which protects and keeps damage out of its interior is a great visual as it pertains to the stratum corneum and dermal relationship.
The Skin’s Microbiome + Leaky Gut and [FACE]
Think of bacteria as your daily “professional skin aesthetician.”
The microbes micromanage our skin’s fundamental health by which stimulate secretion and cell turnover which stimulates our pores to keep our skin supple. Just like watching a “leaky face,” we cannot look past the possibility of a leaky gut which are commonly the cause blackheads, psoriasis and can be further damaged by rancid oils that are clogging oils, increase acne prone skin.
Here’s a quick explainer video and detailed context below to further understand how to keep the biome and skin barrier optimized, plump and luminous.
The Skin’s Natural ECOSYSTEM knows how to tend for itself.
Again, our outer barrier protects the body from the external environment and is designed to hold water in and keep bacteria, microbes, and other external invaders out.
The strength and integrity of this barrier not only keeps our skin looking healthy and moisturized, it also plays a role in its clarity.
The Structure of The Stratum Corneum
The dead skin cells “bricks” and the intercellular matrix (the lipids and fatty acids – aka sebum) make up the mortar. These waterproofing lipids are what keep skin hydrated, soft, and firm in appearance by preventing the evaporation of the water it absorbs from the environment and the deeper layers of the skin. It holds the water in and keeps bacteria (including acne bacteria!) and other impurities out.
What if holes and cracks occur?
Obviously water evaporates and escapes. This is when the skin becomes compromised and barrier repair is needed in order to prevent dehydration and bacteria from getting into the cracks.
Your Re-birthing Process
Using its own natural exfoliation process known as desquamation, fresh skin cells migrate from the bottom layer of the epidermis to the outer most layer of the skin. This process is wholly dependent on adequate hydration, so when this process gets disrupted, the skin becomes rough, scaly, and dry in appearance.
If the outer most barrier isn’t repaired, the skin becomes dehydrated (even if you have oily skin), tightens and holds onto dead skin cells. Say “hello to clogged pores!” Bacteria is added to the concoction and makes a perfect soup for your body to react and attack those bacteria in which cascades quickly into inflammation.
** Therefore, even if you’ve cleaned up your lifestyle and still have acne, chances are you have a damaged outer most skin barrier.
The Outward Signs and Symptoms of a Barrier Damage
Many skin conditions can be exacerbated by a damaged stratum corneum. These include:
• Dry skin
• Flaky skin
• Premature aging
• Scaly skin
• Sensitive skin
It is thought that over 70% of people who suffer from acne have some degree of damage to their outer most barrier.
Even those with oily skin can have dehydrated skin, so don’t be fooled by oily skin and hydration levels! ANY skin type can become dehydrated because the outer most barrier has been altered causing it to lose its ability to retain moisture.
So, What Causes a Damaged Barrier to Begin With?
There are several reasons why your outer most barrier may begin to deteriorate:
1. Constantly stripping away sebum
2. Cumulative damage that has affected the skin cell renewal cycle
3. Environmental conditions like dry, cold or hot weather, and wind
4. Not enough physical exercise
5. Not enough sleep
6. Nutritional deficiencies
8. Over-washing your face
9. Poor diet high in processed foods and sugar
11. Sun damage
12. Unprotected winter skin
13. Using harsh products on your skin
14. Using hot water when washing and rinsing your1 face
15. Using too many chemicals on your skin
Experiencing any of the above for too long can start to alter the structures within the skin that are responsible for moisture retention and balance.
THE RECIPE FOR RE-HYDRATION
All this information tells us that we need to achieve balanced hydration within our skin cells in order to repair the outer most skin barrier.
The first steps you want to take are things like lowering stress, getting quality sleep, exercising regularly, drinking enough water daily, and eating a clean healthy diet.
While improving those aspects of your life, you should begin taking steps towards improving your skincare routine like using cooler water to wash and rinse, switching to a gentle cleanser, avoiding harsh exfoliants or over exfoliating, and allowing your skin to recover its hydration levels.
Water Content + Temperature
The worst thing you can do is use hot water or steam on your face, washing too often, stripping your skin’s oils, or scrubbing your skin too often. All this will do is dry out, strip, and damage the outer most barrier making it harder for your skin to hold onto water.
Harsh chemicals in your face/beauty products can weaken and strip the skin and cause irritation and deterioration of the lipid layer.
Tearing Down Your Protective Barrier
”Even if your skin pro says it’s A-OK,” beware of the motives. Using harsh exfoliants and over-doing micro-needling and peels can actually scratch open the skin (microscopically) and allow water to evaporate.
Wear your daily sunscreen if you plan on being out in the sun. 20 Minutes of raw sun is fab for natural Vitamin D needs, but anything over this is detrimental short and long term.
Up-level Your Skin Hydration
Aside from the above, here are a few tips to quickly repair your barrier:
1. Barrier restoring ingredients
Lipids are excellent ingredients to use as they tend to mimic those found in the stratum corneum. The best ones to use are those that contain ceramides and are rich in linoleic acid such as baobab, evening primrose, rose hip seed oil, safflower oil (high linoleic acid), shea butter, and sunflower oil (high linoleic acid). Most, if not all Evoq Skin products contain ceramide rich nutrients.
Humectants are essential for repairing the outer most barrier as they attract water from deep below the epidermis as well as from humidity in our environment. This moisture is drawn into the stratum corneum where it holds in moisture and repairs the skin.
Some of the best humectants include glycerin and hyaluronic acid. These are found in all of our Booster Serums.
Avoid synthetic humectants like:
• Polyethylene glycol (PEGs) – a petroleum byproduct that dries out the skin over time
• Propylene glycol – the synthetic version of glycerin, also a petroleum byproduct known to irritate the skin
• Urea – a preservative that releases formaldehyde; a known carcinogen that can cause dermatitis (there is naturally occurring urea in the skin which is part of the natural moisturizing factor of the skin or NMF)
3. Skin identical ingredients
Using ingredients like peptides, sea algae and omegas will help restore the acid mantle and balance the skin’s natural moisturizing factor.
4. Skin protectants – aka “occlusives.”
Ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, sunflower oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, squalene, evening primrose oil, and baobab oil are all wonderful emollients and are rich in phytosterols that heal and buffer the skin against dehydration.
Learn more about our TOP ceramide-rich skin protectant will help keep your skin soft, supple, and firm in appearance.
Our Youth Renew Oil is superior for repairing your lipid barrier - not allowing hydration to leak and keeping your skin bright, plump and luminous.
** Coldpressed, organic fruit seed oils rank high in omegas and naturally derived antioxidants that create the “power of 10” anti-aging benefits. Infuses your skin with omega fatty acids that protect and improve your skin from sensitivities, skin allergies, and environmental aging while enhancing cellular metabolic functions.
Thanks for joining me on yet another skin lesson! Let me know if you have any questions on setting healthy barriers in your skin + life! E: Kassandra@beautyecology.com XO MUCH LOVE!
Thank you, Holistic Health Herbalist