Skin has three layers: The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, providing a waterproof barrier and protection from the environment.The dermis (beneath the epidermis) is composed of collagen and elastic tissue and contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue. The skin is made up of several different components, including water, protein, lipids and different minerals and chemicals. Skin regenerates itself about every 27 days. This happens as new cells work their way up toward the top layers of skin. Top cells die and become the tough protective layer, or skin barrier, before they flake off.
The primary function of the skin is to act as a barrier against outside elements and germs. Also known as the Skin Barrier or Moisture Barrier, the Lipid Barrier is found in the Stratum Corneum. The Stratum Corneum is the outermost layer of the epidermis and consists of corneocytes (layers of dead skin cells) and lipids (the skin's natural fats). The skin acts as a regulator for body temperature via sweat, hair and circulation. It also converts ultraviolet rays into Vitamin D. It functions as a sensory organ with a network of nerve cells which respond to touch, heat and cold. The skin assists with excretions of salt, urea, water and toxins via sweat.
When skin has integrity, it is whole, intact and undamaged; it is our external fabric. Natural ingredients provide nourishment in the form of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids which support the protective lipid barrier. The products we use on a daily basis can assist the skin's own ability to sustain an optimal level of health, along with drinking plenty of water, a healthy diet, regular exercise, managing stress and sufficient sleep.
Supporting the Skin Barrier
A healthy barrier is essential to smooth, hydrated skin.
Essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s are the vital components - the building blocks - of healthy living cell membranes.
Fatty acids are calorie-rich nutrients that skin cells convert into energy and contribute to cell regeneration and cell membrane fluidity. Fats can be classified by molecular size: short, medium and long chain. The shorter the chain, the more quickly they absorb into skin; carrying with them nutrients and therapeutic ingredients. Coconut oil and cocoa butter are examples of short chained molecules which are quickly turned into energy, prompting cells to burn fats (speeding up cellular metabolism) to keep cells regenerating. Long chain fatty acids are richly nutritious and moisturizing, alleviating dryness and strengthening cell structure and thus cell tissue.