Skin Perfection Series: The Lipid Barrier

Our skin’s needs will always be changing, but if we correlate skin symptoms to bodily imbalances, we are better equipped to take proactive measures that slow the aging process and protect its beauty and integrity for years to come.

Did you know that lipid barrier function is perhaps one of the most important aspects of skin health and aging?


According to medical skin experts, optimal skin health reflects the following key elements:


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As our skin's first line of defense to the outside world, the outer layer of skin, the Stratum Corneum (CF), is a protective, waterproof shield consisting of dead, protein-rich skin cells containing Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) which help bind water to the cells. Surrounding these cells are lipids such as ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acid. Together this protective matrix of protein, water, and oil function to prevent water evaporating from the skin and from external threats entering our skin. If our barrier has been impaired by over washing, exfoliating, harsh ingredients, excessively hot showers or neglect, we are vulnerable to environmental pollutants including pathogens, chemicals, heavy metals, EMF's and other sources of damaging particles.

Visually, a healthy lipid barrier is dewy, plump and hydrated. When compromised, the skin may become "paper thin", incessantly dry and flaky as moisture seeps out rapidly. This process is called TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) and to some degree happens naturally, but is regulated properly by a healthy barrier function. So even if you’re drinking plenty of water, skin with an impaired lipid barrier will struggle with persistent dehydration. Other symptoms can include red, overly sensitive, rashy, clogged and dull skin.

Most skin issues have internal and external components. Internally, culprits range from digestive issues, nutrient deficiencies, detoxification and circulation issues, and pathogenic infections. Externally, an impaired lipid barrier is possibly the most common factor contributing to skin issues since it's defense shield is tampered with.

Never fear. Fixing your lipid barrier is not as daunting as you may think. It only involves an intentional plan of attack that supports the skin as it regenerates. A less is more angle works best here.

So now, what to do if your lipid barrier is impaired? Plan of attack >>——>

Gentle Cleansing

Replenishing the oil balance in the skin starts with a cleansing routine that deep cleans while keeping the SC in tact.

  1. Use a pre-oil cleanser. Oils are amazing at dissolving deep pore congestion while soothing and replenishing the skin with nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

  2. Cleanse ONLY once a day. If your skin is super dehydrated splashing water or a nourishing toner in the am and gentle cleanser at night is the best way to clean but allow the oils in your skin to normalize. Over-washing, disinfecting and scrubbing with harsh products will kill the bad bacteria but much like oral antibiotics, doing so will also wipe out beneficial strands.

  3. Avoid harsh surfactants such as Sodium Laurate, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (aka SLS). These ingredients help readily dissolve makeup and grime, but can also remove precious lipids, denature healthy proteins, and dissolve NMF in the skin preventing it from holding onto water properly. Instead choose milder surfactants such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Cocoamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Alkyl Sulfosuccinates, and Alkyl Sarcosinates. Due to the larger molecular size, formulations containing a blend of mild surfactants are found to be kinder to the skin. Contrary to popular belief, foaming isn't necessarily a telltale sign of a cleansers harshness. It's all about the types of surfactants used.


))------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+>-Preventing dull, lifeless cell buildup is an essential step to glowing skin. However, repetitively stripping our skins natural oils away by using harsh physical exfoliants or harsh chemicals is harming the skin, causing a compromised barrier and the cascade of problems that follow it. 3 rules of thumb to remember.

  1. Ditch the scrubs. PERIOD.

  2. Clarisonic brushes can be used once a week for those with thick and sturdy skin. Use a gentle brush head and sanitize after each use.

  3. Light peels such as Glycolic, Lactic, TCA and Fruit Enzymes either via periodic professional treatments, serums, or masks help gently dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together with the added benefit of killing bacteria, speeding up cell renewal, boosting circulation and detoxification.



Applying necessary nutrients to create high functioning skin cells and regulate oil production is essential to healing the lipid barrier. The following ingredient categories will help repair and replenish cells and restore it's ability to retain moisture.

  1. Retinal Palmitate or Retinaldehyde, Regenerative Peptides and Niacinamide. These ingredient are essential for cellular repair, oil balance and replenishment of cells.

  2. Facial oils contain emollient lipids and antioxidants act to nourish, soften and soothe the skin and works to fill in spaces between skin flakes and replenish cell membranes.

  3. Humectants attract and bind water to improve hydration levels and plump the skin. Ingredients such as propylene glycol, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, allantoin. 

  4. Seal in moisture and prevent TEWL with ceramides, lanolin, shea butter, dimethicone. Applying an occlusive product right after showering can trap water in the skin.

If you've been experiencing chronic dryness, why not give it a shot? You may find your skin turns around in no time. >>>))————+>