Knowledge is power and the first step to looking your best starts with understanding the importance of our skin and it’s function and purpose. The epidermis is the outer layer of your skin. It allows your insides to live in the hostile environment that is the world. The epidermis has two main functions.
preventing invasions by pathogens
regulating moisture loss
We tend to think of the epidermis as a water-proof membrane that stops anything getting in, but this is far from the truth. Your epidermis allows a certain amount of water to be lost to regulate your body temperature and it absorbs moisture from the air as well as drawing water from inside the body to keep itself moist and able to function correctly.
The outer protective layer of the epidermis is called the Stratum Corneum, hardened skin cells are arranged like bricks and held together with a lipid (natural oil) ‘cement’.
The Stratum Corneum prevents excessive ‘trans epidermal water loss’ thereby protecting the rest of the epidermis and the dermis below from drying out. If the Stratum Corneum itself dries out, cracks appear, pathogens can get in and excessive water is lost, leading to a vicious circle of further drying and further damage.
Pathogens can cause (for example): spots and acne (bacterial) cold sores and warts (viral) or athlete’s foot (fungal). Continual dry skin will lead to premature ageing.
The cells in the Stratum Corneum are constantly shed and replaced by new cells continually regenerated at the lowest level of the epidermis. As they work their way to the outer layer the cells harden and die. They excrete the lipids used in the ‘cement’. Because the Stratum Corneum is effectively dead, (it is no longer connected to the blood stream and cannot be nourished by the blood stream), it must be maintained from the outside with topically applied oils and creams. Understanding this function I hope will encourage you to look at your skincare routine differently and understanding the importance of keeping everything that goes on your skin 100% natural.
Take care of all of you,