The Importance Of A Healthy Skin Barrier Function

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We’ve all heard the expression ‘feeling comfortable in your own skin.’

For people with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, acne, and psoriasis, that can be a challenge. The physical discomfort, as well as the unwelcome appearance of these conditions, can often cause distress.

The Global Burden of Disease project has repeatedly shown that skin diseases continue to be the 4th leading cause of nonfatal disease burden worldwide. The three most prevalent conditions causing burden are melanoma (highest), followed by psoriasis and dermatitis.

When it comes to inflammatory skin disorders and their symptoms, it’s good for us to first obtain a better understanding of how our skin functions.

Our skin, which is the body’s largest organ, provides an excellent barrier to protect us. This is called the skin barrier function, but also commonly known as the acid mantle because our skin has a naturally acidic pH.

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This barrier is situated in our uppermost layer of the skin and is mostly composed of large skin cells, keratinocytes, which play multiple roles essential for skin repair. These keratinocytes migrate, proliferate, and differentiate to restore the epidermal barrier.

Essentially, the skin barrier prevents the good stuff getting out, and the bad stuff getting in. It’s a watertight seal that helps the body to hold onto natural moisture by preventing transepidermal water loss.

If the top layer of the epidermis does not contain enough water, the skin will lose elasticity and appear dry, rough, and flaky. Poorly hydrated skin is also unable to maintain an intact skin barrier, leaving the skin more vulnerable to damage.

Inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, and rosacea, almost always have an impaired skin barrier function. This further contributes to worsening the symptoms of the condition.

These inflammatory conditions can be caused, and exacerbated by a variety and/or combination of immune system activation, genetics, environmental triggers, illness, stress, injury to the skin, bacterial/viral infection, allergies, overuse of harsh exfoliants, and occupational influences.

Disruption in the core functions of the skin barrier can present as chronic skin irritation, redness, puffiness, itchy, dehydrated, and dull skin, hyperpigmentation, skin infections, and delayed wound healing.

The good news is that there is much you can do to tame the inflammation!

Incorporating targeted daily skincare topicals containing CBD is key. CBD increases the activity of the skin’s endocannabinoid system. (ECS) This makes the ECS more effective at treating immune-related and inflammatory issues such as allergic reactions, acne, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea.

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