The long overdue topic of how to repair skin barrier naturally is finally getting the awareness it deserves! When you use Skin Harmonics products, your natural barrier function, often referred to as your “acid mantle,” is in a state of perfect function, dancing with joy every day due to your simple consistent care. 

Conversely, if you opt for products that don’t align with your skin, your protective barrier may experience a downturn. A compromised skin barrier function can result in inflammation, increased sun damage, accelerated collagen loss, clogged pores, excessive pigmentation, additional wrinkles, increased chances of developing actinic precursor lesions, and a hastened aging process. In essence, when your acid mantle isn’t content, nobody’s skin is content.

What Is Our Skin’s Natural Barrier?

Our skin’s natural barrier, often referred to as the “acid mantle” is a critical feature within healthy epidermal function. This function is a concert of actions that expedite our skin’s natural oils to the surface of our skin without delay for optimized health and equanimity. Our skin’s natural barrier and epidermal function must be fortified, not sabotaged in order for our skin to stay clear, smooth, happy, and to enjoy delayed aging.

What Makes Up Our Skin’s Natural Barrier?

The skin’s natural barrier involves a teamed interplay of our dermis, epidermis, acid mantle combined with our sebaceous glands, pore canals, and openings. Let’s break down each of these components:

The first thing to understand as the quiet background to epidermal health is this: Our epidermis is entirely dependent on the vitality of the deeper dermal layer as this deeper layer literally manufactures our epidermis which is the layer we can see and touch. Every time our epidermal layer’s utmost top skin cells are dissolved by a chemical peel, blasted with microdermabrasion, or poked with micro needles this sends a direct work order telling it to make new skin cells because there is damage to these skin cells that are rendering them useless and they must be replaced ASAP. These relentless work orders put a dermal workload on our dermal layer that will diminish its thickness and vitality over time.

Remember, the dermis is the layer of skin beneath the epidermis. It’s thicker and consists of various components, including blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, sweat glands, and collagen and elastin fibers that give our skin its elasticity and structural support. 

While our dermis is not directly part of the skin’s epidermal layer, it provides essential support and nourishment to our epidermis. Interestingly enough, our epidermal thickness does not change much over a lifetime but dermal thickness wanes considerably during the aging process and can be accelerated by over-exfoliation and all of the common trauma-based skin procedures.

Secondly, it is imperative that our sebaceous glands are not being sabotaged so that they can successfully deliver its natural oils to the surface of our skin without delay. This requires that our skin be optimally hydrated and not chronically inflamed with common astringents and oil-free moisturizers.  

Thirdly, our skin’s acid mantle must be peacefully abiding without disruption on our skin. This film is invisible but the effect it provides is priceless for our skin health.  It is our natural oils combined with our sweat to form an invisible film that is slightly acidic to kill bacteria. The acid mantle maintains a slightly acidic pH, typically around 4.5 to 5.5, which helps inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms while promoting the growth of beneficial skin flora.

This continued event is a direct communication to our sebaceous glands to only produce oil that is inherent to our genetic setting and is perfectly balanced in amount. Another reason the acid mantle is superbly important is because it improves moisture retention since it is part oil it has the capacity to trap water within the skin, keeping skin more hydrated.

How Does Our Natural Barrier Work?

The skin’s natural barrier, also known as the skin barrier, works through a combination of physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms to protect the body from external threats and maintain overall skin health. The coordination of these choreographed events rely on our sebaceous glands’ success to deliver oil to the surface of our skin where it can spread easily across and provide skin well being.   These functions are made possible and enabled by our heroic sebaceous glands.

Physical Barrier

Stratum Corneum: The outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is composed of dead skin cells (corneocytes) and lipids. These corneocytes are tightly packed together, forming a physical barrier that prevents the entry of harmful microorganisms, toxins, and other external agents. The lipid matrix acts as a waterproof seal to reduce water loss from the skin.

Chemical Barrier

Acid Mantle: The skin’s surface is covered by a thin, slightly acidic film known as the acid mantle. This natural pH barrier (typically around 4.5 to 5.5) helps inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms while supporting the growth of beneficial skin flora. The acidic environment of the acid mantle creates an inhospitable environment for many pathogens.

Biological Barrier

Immune System: The skin houses various immune cells, such as Langerhans cells, which are responsible for identifying and responding to potential threats. These cells can trigger an immune response when they detect harmful microorganisms, contributing to the skin’s defense mechanisms.

Lipid Barrier

The lipids in the stratum corneum, including ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids, form a lipid barrier. This barrier helps to retain moisture within the skin, preventing excessive dryness and maintaining skin hydration. It also helps in keeping the skin supple and healthy.

Microbial Balance

Beneficial microorganisms, such as the skin’s natural flora, play a role in crowding out harmful pathogens. Maintaining a balanced microbial ecosystem on the skin is vital for its overall health and barrier function.

Wound Healing and Repair

The skin has the capacity to repair itself when damaged. When the barrier is compromised due to injury or minor damage, the skin initiates a repair process to restore its integrity.

How To Repair Your Skin Barrier Naturally

You might be thinking by now, if you have read this far, that this is all nice but couldn’t possibly apply to YOUR skin because you have clogged pores or even full blown acne. You have probably heard your whole life that your skin’s oil is the enemy and all comedogenic ingredients and oils must be avoided at all costs. That your skin must be scrubbed, disinfected, melted, and blasted by lasers to eradicate the evil oil, kill bacteria, remove excess skin cells. This is utterly false. 

The sooner you can work WITH your skin’s natural genius biology, the sooner you will clear your clogged pores and acne. Repairing your skin’s natural barrier is essential for maintaining healthy, radiant skin and preventing issues like dryness, inflammation, and sensitivity, and accelerated aging. Here are the steps you can take to help restore and strengthen your skin’s barrier and restore optimal epidermal function:

  • Avoid Harsh Products:
    • Stop using harsh cleansers, exfoliants, or skin care products that may be aggravating your skin. Choose mild, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic products that are gentle on your skin.
  • Limit Hot Showers and Baths:
    • Prolonged exposure to hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier. Opt for lukewarm water when bathing or washing your face.
  • Use a Gentle Cleanser or No Cleanser:
    • Choose a gentle, hydrating cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils. Avoid products with sulfates, alcohol, or strong fragrances. Experiment with warm water cleansing as you will find this is sufficient on most days.
  • Moisturize Regularly:
    • Apply a dense lipid rich moisturizer without essential oils.
  • Avoid Over-Exfoliation:
    • Reduce the frequency of exfoliation, whether through physical exfoliants, chemical exfoliants, or abrasive scrubbing. Over-exfoliation can weaken the skin barrier.
  • Sun Protection:
    • Always wear a non chemical reef safe sunscreen. Excessive sun damage can impair the skin barrier.
  • Stay Hydrated (topically speaking):
    • Use an effective hydrating serum under the dense moisturizer.
    • Avoid Irritants like the vast majority of  essential oils – reserve them for first aid kits

Consider using a Skin Harmonics Origin Set for daily homecare as everything discussed is “baked into” these three skin care products that make up the set. Real and profound hydration, Dermal Nutrients, and a dense moisturizer…all organic, free of weird preservatives, available in eco-friendly Bulk Refills, and problematic essential oils.

Final Thoughts On Repairing Your Skin’s Barrier

Have you ever pondered why your grandmother had such beautiful skin? She likely protected her skin from excessive sun exposure, ate unprocessed whole foods, used a dense moisturizer, and did not obsessively scrub, astringe, or inflame her skin.  While we can’t control all of the external environmental challenges our skin faces, we certainly don’t need to worsen the situation by compromising our skin’s potential.

In a similar vein, many women humorously remark about how men seem to have effortlessly great skin without any particular skin care efforts. The reason for this paradox is that the very efforts women invest in improving their skin will often backfire leading to a cycle of even more complicated skin care practices in order to fix. To be fair, women also have genetic factors at play, such as naturally thinner and more delicate skin, along with more intricate hormonal and digestive systems, which can contribute to skin challenges that men may not encounter.

A rich moisturizer plays a crucial role in fortifying this thin, imperceptible residual layer of the skin, helping maintain its robustness and fostering a harmonious topical microbiome that healthy skin naturally enjoys.

Our skin’s inherent brilliance truly shines when it receives essential topical Dermal Nutrients, maintains optimal topical hydration, and possesses an intact and well-supported acid mantle. These elements cannot be substituted for and will springboard our skin into optimized health and look absolutely stunning while doing so, much like your great-grandmother.