Have you noticed how many face creams and serums refer to ‘barrier repair’?
Do you know what the 'barrier' is? Do you know if yours needs repairing?
If you've got sensitive skin, dry skin or blemishes, your skin is in need of some TLC.
In this post, you'll learn what makes skin sensitive.
In Part 2 you'll find lots of tips on how to protect and repair it.
Healthy skin renews itself, discarding millions of cells on a daily basis. But this process slows with age or if you have oily, dry or problem skin. The skin also has ways of protecting itself from harm. Take the amazing Langerhans cells for example. They’re like guards that patrol the epidermis, constantly assessing the micro-organisms they comes across. If they find something harmful (i.e. a pathogenic organism) they signal an alarm to the immune system through a complex communication system and request an antidote (i.e. white blood cells).
Our skin has to deal with so many invaders it’s no wonder our natural defences can’t keep up. Consider these few: the environment (pollutants, air-conditioning, harsh cold wind, sunshine), your diet (processed food, drink), lifestyle (smoking, alcohol consumption, lacking sleep), medication (antibiotics, contraceptive pill), natural chemical changes in the body (hormonal, stress), and your genetic disposition (fair skin is more sensitive than darker skin), synthetic chemicals in your cosmetics (drying alcohols, sodium lauryl sulfate etc).
Culture of Youth
We also have unrealistic expectations of how our skin should look and feel – like when we strive to get the youthful glow of the airbrushed teen in the face cream advert. And because of societal pressure to have perfect skin we feel pressured to buy the miracle cream (our brain registers a link between the image of the flawless beauty and the brand). So in addition to having overcome our skin's reaction to the polluted environment we also have to work on silencing the voice in our heads (and glossy mags) that condemns us for ageing.
Ageing is natural and inevitable. Instead of trying to turn back time I want to live in a world where we learn to love our changing appearance. I know this isn't the aspirational message we love to hear (i.e. “you can have perfect skin in just 3 easy steps!”) but the sooner we accept that our skin is ageing (and embrace it for all the wisdom it brings) the sooner we can start focusing on things that are more important. Yes I want good skin, that's why I started my own skincare business, but I also want to balance that with improved self-confidence (read more about Love Your Look).
I’ve been thinking about my sensitive skin and about things that work well for me. I've put together a list of tips and guidelines. You'll find them in "Sensitive Skin: A Survival Guide (Part 2)" (come back Sunday!) which covers:
Protect & Repair Sensitive Skin
Goods Foods to Eat
I'm really interested to hear about your skin, what you do to keep your skin barrier strong and advice you'd give others?
Let me know, write your tips and comments below.