Break It Down To Build It Up: The Key To Proper Skin Barrier Function

When it comes to skin, breaking it down to build it up might seem counterintuitive at first. But think about it - keeping in mind the skin is an organ and the largest one we have …

Muscles for instance: If you aim to achieve well-defined muscles, what steps would you take? You could divide it into smaller sections and opt for specific exercises.

Plants for instance: If you desire dense foliage in plants, what action can you take? Prune them, correct?

Rooftops for example: If the shingles on a rooftop are not properly arranged or obstructed by natural debris, it will create problems, won't it?

It bears resemblance to skin.

The outermost layer of the epidermis is known as the stratum corneum, which signifies the final stage of keratinocyte development and maturation. Keratinocytes located at the basal layer of the epidermis are highly proliferative, but gradually lose their ability to divide as they move up the epidermis and undergo programmed cell death.

Consider it as your body's protective covering, similar to a suit. This is an intriguing tissue within the realm of biology.

What sets the stratum corneum apart from other layers of the skin? It is essentially lifeless. Despite its lack of vitality, this layer plays a crucial role. Although it may seem inert, there are biochemical processes taking place within the stratum corneum.

The skin is thin, approximately equivalent to 11 sheets of paper. The majority of these sheets, 10 to be exact, constitute the dermis, while the epidermis lies above it and may be as thin as a single sheet of paper. The stratum corneum, which serves as a barrier, is even thinner, measuring just 1/10th of a sheet of paper. This indicates how delicately thin the skin is.

Despite its thin and dead nature, the stratum corneum layer plays a crucial role in holding everything together. Without this barrier, we would be in disarray. Hence, it is immensely vital as it not only serves as a protective shield but also safeguards the underlying tissues.

Maintaining the health of the stratum corneum is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. If the stratum corneum barrier is compromised, it can lead to various issues such as sensitivity, dryness, hyperpigmentation, bacterial infections, and other health problems. Therefore, having a robust and healthy stratum corneum is essential for overall skin health.

Did I adequately describe and illustrate the situation?

Knowing how to strengthen and maintain a healthy stratum corneum barrier is essential for achieving good skin health. There are several approaches to achieving this.

Let's start by discussing the process of building the stratum corneum.

The dermis is the bottom layer, consisting of stem cells that give birth to skin cells, also known as keratinocytes. These keratinocytes produce a tough protein called keratin. At birth, keratinocytes are plump and round, residing in the basal layer of the epidermis. As they migrate upward towards the stratum corneum, they undergo a remarkable transformation, changing shape from round and plump to flattened and dead. During this journey, the keratinocyte loses its contents, and undergoes biochemical changes.

The process is truly remarkable, involving complex chemical reactions that must occur in the right sequence for the transformation to take place.

Defects in the movement of cells as they rise from the bottom to the top can be the root cause of almost all skin diseases, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, dry skin, and hyperpigmentation.

The process of differentiation is crucial for healthy and beautiful skin as the skin cells change shape from the bottom to the top. This change in shape is accompanied by the dumping of cell contents and changes in chemistry, leading to the formation of a perfect stratum corneum cell, known as a corneocyte.

As the keratinocyte rises from the bottom to the top, it not only changes shape but also undergoes biochemical changes. The content that is discarded will eventually form fats that create a protective layer on the skin. Meanwhile, inside the keratinocyte, the biochemical changes lead to the production of natural moisturizing factor molecules in the corneocyte, which help trap water. The shape-shifting process produces a flat, dead cell that serves as an ideal barrier. All the essential components of the stratum corneum barrier are produced during this differentiation process, making it crucial for maintaining healthy skin.

As we age, the differentiation process slows down, and the cells take longer to rise from the bottom to the top, leading to defects in the stratum corneum. This is one of the reasons why stratum corneum barrier defects are becoming more common today.

Defects in the stratum corneum barrier are common in people who don't take proper care of their skin. This can lead to conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, dry skin, hyperpigmentation, and sensitive skin. Therefore, the key to anti-aging skincare is building a healthy and strong stratum corneum barrier.

How can we achieve this?

As you already know, promoting the movement of cells from the bottom to the top is crucial. This involves stimulating the cells to go from the stem cell level to the keratinocyte level and rise up to the stratum corneum. This is where exfoliation plays a vital role. Exfoliation acts like exercise for your skin, and it's the primary tool to encourage the growth of your cells from the bottom to the top. Exfoliation has a stimulating effect on the dermis, fibroblasts, collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, among others. Going back to our analogy at the beginning, it keeps your muscles well defined, your plants with attractive foliage and the shingles on your rooftop properly aligned.

It's important to approach exfoliation with caution if you have a defective stratum corneum. You need to find the right balance between stimulating cell growth without overstimulating. Think of it as an art form where you want to get it just right. Begin slowly and take breaks between exfoliation sessions, similar to an exercise program. Just like you wouldn't start bench pressing 25 lbs after recovering from an injury. You need to start slowly with exfoliation and work your way up.

This makes sense, doesn’t it?

One highly effective option is the use of alpha hydroxy acid. These acids not only stimulate cell growth by disrupting the stratum corneum, but also dissolve the glue that holds the corneocytes together. This signals the lower layers of the skin to produce more cells. Additionally, alpha hydroxy acids perform other interesting functions.

To begin with, alpha hydroxy acid delivers protons in the form of acids to the cells underneath, which has an added stimulating effect on the keratinocyte level. So not only do you get a stimulating effect from the disruption or disturbance of the corneocyte, but you also get an additional benefit from the acids and protons that further stimulate the keratinocyte.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that the skin has an acidic nature, particularly the stratum corneum. However, as we age or when our skin is not healthy, the pH level of the skin becomes more alkaline. This shift to alkalinity can lead to an unhealthy environment for the skin microbiome and cells, resulting in various disturbances in skin health.

Alpha hydroxy acids have the ability to acidify the skin, which is why they are found naturally in the stratum corneum, also known as the acid mantle. The acid mantle is composed of various compounds, including AHA's, lactic acid, amino acids, and fatty acids. By restoring the acidity of the skin surface, AHA's stimulate the growth of cells, deliver protons or pieces of acids to the keratinocyte, and exfoliate the corneocytes, resulting in a more vibrant and healthy complexion.

There are additional compounds that can stimulate cell growth, but we will conclude our discussion on this topic for now.

Elevate Your Skincare: Cultivate a Purposeful Routine. Your skin deserves lifelong dedication. Treating it well parallels caring for your body—it's a lifestyle choice.

Discover Skin Fit Rox: Where Skincare Meets European Excellence! Our goal is simple: to offer you top-notch skincare solutions and services with your safety and satisfaction as our priority. Step into our contemporary space and experience the transformative power of full-spectrum skincare in a welcoming environment. Join us on the journey to healthier, glowing skin at Skin Fit Rox!

Reach out for a personalized consultation at [email protected] or visit the website www.SkinFitRox.com

Contact Form

Send a message with any questions or doubts about my services.