The term skin barrier has become increasingly popular in the skincare industry. Maintaining a healthy skin barrier is crucial for achieving clear, smooth, and comfortable skin. Since external factors can lead to damage, undermining the integrity of our skin barrier, it is important to take the right steps and use the right products to protect and repair the skin barrier. Let’s delve into the details to demystify this essential aspect of skincare.
What is the skin barrier?
Over the years, the skin’s structure and function has been the subject of much investigation by scientists.
The stratum corneum (SC), the skin’s outermost layer and interface with the outside world, is now well recognized as the barrier that prevents unwanted matter from entering the body and excessive water loss. The skin barrier is often referred to as the hydro-lipidic barrier and the stratum corneum is sometimes described as a brick wall. The corneocytes that make up the cell envelope are layers, like bricks, mortared together by lipids, that create the outer water barrier. Epidermal lipids are composed of 50% ceramide, 25% free fatty acids, and 25% cholesterol. The hydro barrier or water barrier, often referred to as the natural moisture factor (NMF) is composed of 40% free carboxylic acid, 12% pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) 7% urea, 12% sodium, potassium, calcium and Magnesium, 2% sodium salts of lactic and citric acid and 17% ammonia, uric and other organic acids.