5 Most Important Things That You Should Understand About Your Skin
I have been doing a lot of research for my upcoming products and during that time I discovered that in order for myself or any of you to truly understand the best ways to take care of our skin, is to start from the basics.
So the first thing we are going to discuss, is the epidermis. This is the outermost layer of the human skin. The cool part about this layer is that it's actually five layers that make up this outermost layer. They are called the stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum and stratum corneum. The top layer is the stratum corneum. The stratum granulosum is where the magic really starts to happen. It's where the cells start to keratinize in its preparation to move to the stratum lucidum. The stratum granulosum contains very lipid rich granules that provide a waterproof sealant for your skin. When the cells finaly reach the last layer (stratum corneum), they are dead and flattened and form into the scales packed with keratin. They eventually flake off into the atmosphere.
This is the cell turnover process your skin goes through every 14-28 days depending on your age.
2. pH of Skin
Now that we know what our skin is made up of, now it's time to discuss pH. The pH of your body internally isn't the same as the pH of your skin. While your body is more alkaline internally, your skin's pH falls between 4.0-5.5. This means that our skin falls more on the acidic sign at its most healthy. The reason for this is because your skin has a thin protective layer on top called the acid mantle. This mantle is made up of sebum from our sebaceous glands and it mixes with lactic and amino acids from sweat to then create your pH.
Now there are all kinds of things that can interfere with your skin's pH. Anything from our skin care products, sun, water, diet, etc can disrupt our skin's pH. Remembering that your body's pH is more on the alkaline side, the cool thing about your body is that things that foods (lemons) that are acidic, when digested become alkaline and foods (meat products) that are alkaline, when digested become more acidic. So the trick is to consume foods that tend when digested are more alkaline like (citrus fruits, leafy greens, etc).
3. Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF)
NMF is the action that ensures that the stratum corneum stays hydrated, for barrier homeostasis, desquamation (exfoliation), and plasticity. NMF is made up of ingredients like amino acids, lactic acid, sodium PCA, peptides, sugars and minerals. These ingredients coupled with the naturally-occurring lipids in your skin like ceramides and cholesterol are all what team up to keep your skin's surface humming like a well oiled machine.
4. Moisture Barrier aka Lipid Barrier
The moisture barrier is the stratum corneum which is the outermost layer of the epidermis. It is the protective layer that is made up of dead, flattened cells called keratinocytes. This is what we shed on a daily basis and are replaced by newer keratinocytes. Keratonicytes are held together by fatty acids, ceramides and other lipids. They all come together to form a waterproof barrier that works to keep water in the skin and an acid mantle that that prevents bacteria, irritants, allergens and anything else from getting through.
5. Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL)
Trans-Epidermal Water Loss is the measurement of water loss from your epidermis. This process can increase due to a damaged moisture barrier, humidity, temperature, moisture content of the skin, etc. When you think about your skin, you should treat it like a living breathing thing that has moods. When it isn't feeling good, it shows in ways from eczema to rashes to looking dull. When it's feeling great, it's glowing and moisturized and super soft. So when something messes with your #skinmood, it basically causes the TEWL to increase.
The big question is, how do we decrease TEWL? Well we have to avoid all things that causes its increase, sun damage, harsh temperatures, scratchy clothing, etc. We want to wear sunscreen, shower in warm water, use less abrasive cleansers and most importantly wearing moisturizers that have moisture barriers to keep our moisture levels on SWOLE.
So, as you can see, these 5 things are all connected. Protecting your stratum corneum is the name of the game. That area is where your moisture barrier is and also where TEWL happens. If you want to learn more about any of these topics, feel free to join my skin care group and ask all the questions you'd like. This info is a need to know for everyone, but it greatly affects people with dry skin the most.
If you have been having issues with dealing with your dry skin and not sure what to do or how to fix it, I offer Personalized Skin Care Consultations to help set you on the right track.