Why a healthy skin barrier is so important

You may have noticed it on your hands during this Corona time. Due to the frequent washing, your hands are dry and you may even have cracks or eczema. Or suffer from a contact allergy. Cause? For your skin aggressive ingredients in soap or disinfectant that affect your skin barrier. As a result, your skin is less protected, becomes dry and more sensitive to external irritants, which makes contact allergy easier.

What is the skin barrier like now? And what can you do to keep it strong, to make it stronger and to damage it less? You can read all about it in this blog.

Your skin barrier - what about it?

Skin barrier function Your skin is made up of three layers. The upper skin (epidermis), the dermis (dermis) and below that the subcutaneous connective tissue. The top layer is your skin barrier layer. If it is healthy, it protects your skin against unwanted intruders from the outside. And it prevents your skin from losing moisture, which can dry out the skin. Your skin feels soft, strong and supple.

Stones & cement

You can compare your skin barrier with a brick wall of a house. Your epidermis/skin barrier consists of keratinized 'dead' skin cells - the bricks - and fats (ceramides, cholestorol and free fatty acids) - the cement - which, as it were, hold the cells together. to hold. Cement and stones ensure that a house is protected against unwanted intruders such as rain or soot, but also that, for example, heat remains in the house and does not leak out. The skin barrier does this for your skin. In the image below you can see on the right image that the 'cement' is damaged, so that the skin barrier is no longer closed properly.

How is your skin barrier damaged?

As mentioned in the introduction, aggressive (degreasing) substances in, for example, regular soap or disinfectant can damage the barrier layer for your skin. They dissolve the protective layer. Fortunately, there are also soaps and disinfectants that do not. More about that later in this blog.

Alcohol and your skin barrier

' Hard' alcohol also dissolves the protective layer of your skin. Listed on the packaging as alcohol denat. (note there are also harmless versions of denatured alcohol), benzyl alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl, methanol and SD alcohol.

So-called 'soft', greasy alcohol actually cares for your skin because it ensures that your skin can retain moisture better. Names of these alcohols are: cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol.

Many people think that alcohol in a cosmetic product is not good for your skin. Now you know this isn't always the case!

Scrub wisely

Removing dead skin cells is great to give your skin a less dull appearance. Or to prevent dead skin cells from clogging your pores with acne-prone skin, which can cause inflammation. However, many scrubs are too 'sharp' for your skin, so that they not only remove dead skin cells, but also damage your skin barrier. Examples of scrubs/peelings that do not damage your skin are:

  • An enzymatic peeling that works on the basis of (vegetable papaya and/or pineapple) enzymes that dissolve and remove dead skin cells without damaging your skin. Think Abloom Enzyme Peeling . You apply the latter like a mask, let it do its job and rinse off again.
  • A peeling emulsion with a slightly softening effect that allows dead skin cells to be easily "pushed loose", without damaging stuck, living skin cells. For example Dr Baumann Peeling Medium

For all peeling/scrub products - no matter how mild - the following applies: do not 'rub' too hard, as you can still damage your skin barrier. Gentle rolling movements are sufficient.

Consciously damaging your skin barrier

A number of treatments such as micro needling or professional peels deliberately damage your barrier layer to ensure that new collagen is built up faster, to better channel active ingredients into your skin and/or to reduce imperfections such as scar tissue or pigmentation. After such treatments, it is important to ensure that you protect your skin well and preferably help to rebuild the protective layer quickly. LaVieSage's SkinBalance can help with this. Do not have a professional peeling done too often, because your cell division (production of new cells) is not infinite.

How do I keep a strong skin barrier?

As described above: avoid ingredients that are aggressive to your skin in cosmetics such as degreasers such as SLS and cocomidapropyl betaine, hard alcohol and sharp scrub granules.

Cosmetic products with vegetable fats help to strengthen and restore your skin barrier. because they put a (breathing) film on your skin. This way they protect your skin and help it to retain moisture at the same time. Think of jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, avocado seed oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, shea butter, mango butter.

Only use (natural) soaps and disinfectants. that do not affect your barrier layer, but actually take care of it. Luckily they exist! Soaps for which only saponified oils are used. Or disinfectants that use soft alcohol instead of hard alcohol as a disinfectant. Read more >

A stronger skin barrier - how do I do that?

In many people, the quality of the skin barrier decreases with age. By ensuring that you get enough healthy fats (for example through oily fish, olive oil or coconut oil) you help keep your skin barrier healthy and strong.

Products with vitamin C and vitamin E also strengthen your skin barrier. Foods with vitamin E are, for example, fish, avocado, seeds/oils from seeds, nuts. Vitamin C is also found in sweet potato, for example, in addition to citrus fruits. Jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis) - found in many natural cosmetic products - naturally contains a high amount of vitamin E

Skin care products with ceramides - a skin's own fat and an important component of your barrier layer - can improve your barrier layer from the outside. An example are Dr Baumann's Liposome products with Ceramides or the Ceramide creams of this brand*. LaVieSage's SkinBalance has been specially developed to improve that quality of your barrier layer from the inside out. By feeding it with skin's own fats.

Skin care for a strong skin barrier

Cosmetics mentioned in this blog are products that help you strengthen your skin barrier