A healthy skin barrier protects you from harsh environments and other damage. Cosmetologists and dermatologists offer multiple treatments or solutions to attain and maintain healthy skin. Learn all about it in this blog and ways to afford treatment.
But first, you must understand its significance and how to protect it.
What Is Skin Barrier?
It is the natural barrier that protects your body from the outside world. It includes the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, and the innermost layer of the skin, the dermis. A healthy skin barrier helps to keep the body hydrated and protected from environmental stressors and toxins, such as UVA/UVB radiation. It also helps regulate body temperature and the immune system functioning correctly.
What Is It Made Of?
The skin barrier consists of several types of cells and lipids that work together to keep it healthy. It includes two main types of cells: keratinocytes and melanocytes. The keratinocytes are the cells that produce keratin, which is the main protein found in the skin. The melanocytes produce melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color.
The skin barrier also contains lipids, which are fats. They help keep the skin moisturized and protected from the environment. They are important to naturally get protection from the sun, wind, and other factors.
Other lipids the skin includes are ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids, helping keep the skin moisturized and preventing water loss. Ceramides are the most abundant type of lipid to maintain skin moisture balance. Cholesterol is another vital lipid that helps to keep the skin soft and supple. Along with those, fatty acids protect the skin from the environment and keep it hydrated.
The skin barrier also contains natural moisturizing factors (NMFs), substances that also hydrate the skin. NMFs are found in the skin's upper layers to help attract and retain water.
What Can Damage The Skin Barrier?
It can get damaged due to several factors, including:
- Hot water
- Frequent exfoliation
- Other irritants
When the skin barrier is damaged, it can lead to dryness, redness, and irritation. The skin can become cracked, raw, and inflamed in severe cases. If you suspect this happening to you, see a dermatologist immediately. They can diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment options.
You can do a few things at home to help repair your barrier. First, it's essential to identify and stop using any products irritating your skin.
Next, you can try using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser and moisturizer. Apply the moisturizer immediately after cleansing while your skin is still damp. It's also a good idea to avoid hot showers and baths and use lukewarm water instead. Also, be sure to pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it.
If your skin barrier is severely damaged, your dermatologist may recommend a prescription cream or ointment. Skin treatments can sometimes be costly, but there are a few patient financing options available.
First, you can try to find a dermatologist offering promos or discounts. You can save a lot of money on treatment through a seasonal promotion.
Another option is to use health insurance. If you have private health insurance, your policy may cover prescribed medication.
Your third option would be to get financial help. Many treatments for skin issues are not covered by insurance and must be paid out of pocket.
Denefits is a platform that works with many dermatologists to help patients afford the necessary treatments. Its flexible payment plans have made skin treatments much more affordable. Patients can access treatment to improve their skin without emptying their pockets. Furthermore, Denefits’ pay-over-time feature allows patients to receive treatment while gradually paying for it.
How Do You Determine If Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged?
It's no secret that your skin is a reflection of your overall health, which is why it's important to know when it needs some fixing.
Fortunately, some telltale signs can help determine if your barrier is damaged.
So if your skin feels:
1. Dry, tight, and itchy
If you experience any of these symptoms, your barrier is likely damaged. When your skin is hydrated, it should feel plump and supple.
If you have dry skin, you might be using products stripping it of its natural oils. This can include cleansers with sulfates, alcohol-based toners, and exfoliants that are too harsh. Alternatively, your skin might be dry due to environmental factors, such as cold weather or indoor heating.
2. Red and inflamed
If your skin is red and inflamed, it could signify rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis. These conditions are all characterized by a damaged skin barrier.
If you have rosacea, you might notice that your skin is red and inflamed, especially after you've been in the sun or consumed alcohol. Eczema is characterized by dry, itchy, and scaly skin. Moreover, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes red, scaly, and inflamed patches of skin.
If your skin is sensitive, it might be another sign that your barrier is damaged. When your skin is healthy, it acts as a barrier to irritants and allergens. But when it's damaged, you become more susceptible to these irritants, which can lead to sensitivity.
Some common signs of sensitive skin include redness, itchiness, and burning. You should avoid certain products with those that contain fragrances, sulfates, or retinoids. You might also need to switch to gentler cleansing products.
4. Rash or hives
If you have a rash or hives, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction. When your skin’s barrier is damaged, it is more likely to react to irritants and allergens.
Your skin might be red, itchy, and inflamed if it's a rash. Hives, however, are raised, red, and itchy welts. If you have either, it's best to see a doctor to rule out any severe conditions.
5. More breakouts
It could be another sign that your barrier is damaged if you see more breakouts. When it is healthy, it helps to keep bacteria and other irritants out. But when it's damaged, these irritants can cause breakouts.
You should switch to a gentler cleanser and use non-comedogenic products to ease existing and prevent more breakouts. You might also need to avoid triggering foods like dairy, sugar, and processed edibles.
6. Premature wrinkles
It could signify that your skin barrier is damaged if you have premature wrinkles. When your skin is healthy, it retains moisture and prevents dehydration. But when it's damaged, it can become dry and wrinkled.
To help prevent premature wrinkles, you should use a moisturizer every day. You might also need to use a serum or oil to help replenish your skin's natural oils.
7. Fungal infection
Your skin barrier keeps harmful fungi and microbes out. Therefore, if you're experiencing an infection, it may have been damaged.
If you have a fungal infection, you might notice that your skin is red, itchy, and inflamed. You might also see scaly patches or pus-filled bumps. If you have any of these symptoms, it's best to see a dermatologist.
If you suspect your skin barrier is damaged, you should see a doctor or dermatologist. They can help you determine the cause of your concerns and recommend the best treatment options.
How Do You Repair Damaged Skin Barrier?
You can do a few things to repair it. First, you need to make sure that you are hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee and alcohol.
Second, use a moisturizer designed to help repair the skin barrier. Look for products that contain ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid.
Third, use a gentle cleanser that will not strip the natural oils from your skin. Sometimes it’s best to just use water for some time.
Using a plant oil based on your skin type can also help, some of which include:
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Argan oil
- Borage oil
- Rosehip oil
- Sunflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Primrose oil
- Black currant oil
If you have a more severe skin barrier issue, such as eczema or psoriasis, you should see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can prescribe medication to help heal and repair your skin barrier.
In conclusion, the skin barrier is essential for protecting the body and keeping it healthy. When it is damaged, it can cause many problems. Dry skin is the most common cause of a damaged barrier. Visit your local dermatologist for consultation and treatment that may be offering Denefits’ guaranteed patient financing option.
Don't avoid visiting a clinic because of the costs. Your skin shouldn't have to suffer due to the lack of funds. Financing works best for most people, so try to find a clinic that offers it.
Denefits has helped many and continues to simplify the payment process for patients with skin issues. See how you can benefit by visiting denefits.com.