As the largest organ in the human body, our skin acts as a first-line defense against invasive organisms such as bacteria and virus. Skin health is amazingly important, and yet many people do not understand how our skin works, or how to important skin barrier optimization is to our health.
Skin: A Layered Approach
Our skin is constructed of three layers. Those are the hypodermis, dermis, and epidermis. Each layer does something different, but they unite to form a barrier that helps keep pathogens out and moisture within our bodies. When the skin is healthy, it provides a comprehensive link in our bodies immune defense. That physical barrier is used to repel disease vectors. It is the equivalent of preventative medicine, and it works simply by being there.
The skin layers are constantly being regenerated, and each layer is designed to wear physically, and be replaced on a cellular level. The outer layer, the epidermis, is where skin cells are removed, and newer cells rise to the surface. It is also the layer of skin that is most at risk for breaking down.
When the barrier of the epidermis is weakened then bacteria and virus have access to the second and third layer of our skin. A breakdown of the first layer of the skin leads to skin disorders, such as skin rash, infections, and irritations that manifest themselves in conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. While those are just a few of the skin problems we face, they illustrate the point that skin barrier optimization is an important part of preventative medicine.
Skin Barrier Optimization & Maintenance
One of the easiest ways people can help maintain their skin’s barrier is to drink plenty of quality water simply. If you pay attention to your skin then, you notice how it changes when you are dehydrated. If dehydration persists, skin becomes flaky and may begin to itch.
Moisturizing lotions, preferably those which are vegan or vegetarian in nature, make the best topical applications that help to keep skin moisture balanced. Moisturizing lotions are a second way to help improve skin quality and barrier optimization.
Not all skin products are moisturizing. Oatmeal based products and some oils, such as sunflower oil may cause the skin to become dryer.
Skin quality is affected by diet, stress, and the environment, such as seasonal changes. Sun damage, wind damage, and even clothing can cause damage to our skin.