Like cycles of nature, our skin is constantly changing, repairing, growing, dying and evolving. These cycles can create soft and supple skin, dry and dehydrated skin, or a turn for the worse - inflammation, rashes and red blisters.
A major issue world wide is the increasing cases of skin conditions that seem to be growing amongst families everyday. Extreme dryness, irritation, blistering sores, and rashes are all forms of the skin sensitivity everyone is experiencing, which is commonly known as eczema or atopic dermatitis.
Stats Across the Globe
According to the National Eczema Association, “31.6 million people (10.1%) in the U.S. have some form of eczema, and prevalence peaks during early childhood. It is estimated that 1 in 10 individuals will develop eczema during their lifetime, with prevalence peaking in early childhood.”
In Canada, Canadian Dermatology Association, stated that “It is estimated that up to 17 per cent of Canadians will suffer from AD at some point in their lives.”
“In numbers, about 223 million people are living with atopic dermatitis in 2022 (GBD 2022), of which around 43 million are aged 1-4.” A study completed in 2022 by The International Eczema Council.
Unfortunately, due to the increase of highly chemical products such as clothing detergents, hand soaps, fragrance laden products, various workplace materials and heavily processed foods, our layers of skin aren't able to keep up with the regeneration process to maintain a healthy barrier. This means our skin is constantly burdened with trying to repair itself from the irritants and further attempt to protect itself from outside elements on a daily basis.
With products having a high or unstable pH level, they slowly and unknowingly start to break down the skin barrier, and more often than not causing permanent damage. It’s as though you’re removing the layers of skin from an onion and all you’re left with is the inside exposed and vulnerable to the world
Skin Barrier Importance
Each layer of the skin plays an important role, as we know it comprises the Epidermis, Dermis, and Hypodermis also known as the Subcutaneous Tissue, the outermost layer - the epidermis, plays the most importance to the skin barrier.
The epidermis role is to keep foreign elements out, while simultaneously protecting and maintaining the health of our skin and internal elements. It will maintain a pH level of 4.5-5.5, balance the moisture and oils that is produced from the dermis and help repair the skin when it’s been damaged through cell turnover synthesis.
A newly discovered protein molecule called filaggrin, discovered by Beverly A. Dale in 1977 and further explained by Professor Irwin McLean in mid-1990, helps in developing the skin barrier. If this large protein molecule is deficient or mutated, there will be a significant lack of healthly production of the molecule which supports the production of the skin barrier in the stratum corneum. Once this happens there will be a massive loss of moisture, oils, and a lack of strength in the cellular wall that is responsible for protecting the inner layers from intrusion.
Inflammation occurs when external elements bypass the skin barrier and come into contact with the lower skin barrier layers, thus causing the symptoms like itching, burning, blistering and irritation. So using topical steroids can benefit to relieve the inflammation symptoms but should not be intended for long term use.
Using topical steroids for a long period of time will cause the skin layers to thin out, inhibiting the production of filaggrin and other healthy elements needed due to its high chemical components and foreign material to the body.
As we know the skin barrier utilizes filaggrin proteins to maintain oils and moisture to create the cellular wall, it is safe to say that if we maintain the integrity of the skin barrier through protection and moisturization, we will not experience these symptoms but also encourage the skin to rebuild its layers.
Using products that contain waxes, thick oils and butters, will create a film layer (humectant) over the skin, acting as the skin’s natural barrier. Waxes like Candelillia or Bees Wax, thick oils like Castor or Apricot, and butters like Mango Seed or Shea, are all natural and recognizable ingredients to your skin, because of its basic components but are also high in its healing capabilities and hydration content.
Another recommendation is to use products that are fragrance-free and utilize the healing properties of essential oils. Since essential oils are mainly concentrations of natural herbs, florals and plants that your body will not attempt to fight or remove but instead accept and heal from its natural familiarities.
By using body butters and body oils on affected areas of your skin, you will instantly feel relief and a lasting protection throughout the day. Applying healing butters and hydrating oils on the skin after cleansing you’re forcefully creating the moisture barrier the skin barrier would have naturally made prior to being compromised.
As we uncover the unique qualities our skin has, it’s best to work with our skin and understand its way of speaking to us when things are out of balance. Simple and subtle changes make a big difference to our skin especially when we go back to the basics.
Again, I encourage you to consult a physician, doctor or medical aesthetician to properly guide you or provide further detail about your skin.
We invite you to send us an email or comment below if you have questions or concerns about your skin and would like some guidance regarding your skin care concerns or our products.
Your beauty starts with self-care.