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What Exactly is the Skin's Moisture Barrier?

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The Zoe Report recently quoted Dr. Evan's on their piece: Dry, Irritated Skin Got You Down? Your Moisture Barrier May Be To Blame 

Full Interview: What Exactly is the Skin's Moisture Barrier?

Can you explain what the skin's moisture barrier is? 

The acid mantle or stratum corneum, provides critical protection for your skin.  

What is the function/goal of the skin's moisture barrier? 

This layer acts as the first line of defense, keeping essential water and electrolytes in and keeping out bacteria, pollutants, and other irritants to the skin.

What's the importance of having a healthy moisture barrier? 

The moisture barrier is a protective layer of the skin filled with essential super hydrants such as ceramides and fatty acids.

How can cold temperatures impact the skin's moisture barrier? 

Cold weather can create eruptions of the barrier such as cracks in the acid mantel. 

How can pollution impact the skin's moisture barrier? 

Pollution can cause oxidative stress on the moisture barrier of the skin, oxidizing the lipid layers and reducing the barrier function of the skin.

How can UV damage impact the skin's moisture barrier? 

Yes! UV radiation from the sun results in disruption of cell cohesion and the mechanical integrity of the cells lipid levels.

How can over-exfoliation impact the skin's moisture barrier? 

By using acid based exfoliators such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids and salicylic acids the outer protective layer of the skin is removed allowing the skin to become dehydrated and exposed to pollutants and the harsh environment.

Can you speak to redness and how this can be a sign of a damaged moisture barrier? 

Redness is a sign of inflammation.  When the protective moisture barrier of the skin is removed the cells below are over-exposed to irritants and allergens which results in inflammation of the skin.

Can you speak to dryness/flakiness and how this can be a sign of a damaged moisture barrier? 

The dryness and flaking is an indications of transepidermal water loss and a release or sloughing of the stratum corneum.

Any other characteristics of skin that has a damaged moisture barrier? 

Itching of the skin is often an indication that the moisture barrier function of the skin has become disrupted.

What skincare ingredients should those with a damaged moisture barrier look for? 

Ceramides are key to restoring the barrier of the skin.  Barrier-repair emollients can actually repair the function of the moisture barrier of the skin.  CeraVE healing ointment, Elta MD Body moisturizing Ceramide cream, and CeraVe Moisturizing cream are good options.

What skincare ingredients should those with a damaged moisture barrier stay away from? Why? 

Stay away from exfoliators that contain any form of acid such as alpha, beta or salicylic acids.  Vitamin C can be too irritating as well.  Do not use topicals with benzoyl peroxide.

What can people do to improve their skin's barrier function? 

Lots! Use a gentle cleanser such as Alastin’s gentle cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating cleanser.  Use gentle topicals such as Skin Medica’s HA5 filled with hyaluronic acid. Absolutely moisturize with a cream rich in ceramides.


* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.