When you think about your immune system, it's common to imagine the parts inside your body that keep you healthy, like white blood cells and antibodies—things that you can't see with the naked eye.
And yet, one of your body's most stalwart immune fighters is there in plain sight: your skin! As the largest organ in the body, the skin is a barrier that protects you from the elements, injuries, and illnesses. It acts as a shield, defending you from head to toe.
But to do its job well, your skin needs to stay healthy. That's why you should learn how to restore skin barrier damage for the times when your skin gets dry, cracked, burned, or otherwise harmed.
Understanding Your Skin Barrier
Your skin barrier is made of several layers that work together to keep your skin strong, flexible, and able to fight off germs.
The first layer, called the epidermis, includes the stratum corneum—this is the outermost part of all, which you can see and touch. The epidermis is your body's armor against the outside world. Next is the dermis, the thickest layer of the skin. Inside this layer is a patchwork of collagen and elastin, which give skin its strength and flexibility. Beneath that is the hypodermis, which contains fat cells that help you stay warm during cold weather.
Importantly, every layer of your skin contains immune cells, which means that your entire skin barrier is constantly working to protect you. But due to prolonged exposure to sunlight, pollutants, bacteria, and other hazards, your skin barrier can get damaged.
Still, no need to worry; most damage is reversible.
The Effects of a Damaged Skin Barrier
Chemical effects (like pollution or skin treatments) as well as physical effects (like sunburns, wounds, or facemask irritation) can damage skin cells, including those of the immune system.
Not only can these effects lead to itchy skin, breakouts, rashes, fine lines, or other symptoms, but they can also make you even more prone to—and less protected from—future exposure to the elements.
How to Restore Skin Barrier Damage
If you suspect damage to your skin barrier, you'll want to act fast. The sooner you start the restoration process, the sooner your skin can resume its function as your body's outermost protector.
First things first: assess your skin care regimen. Healthy skin requires basic care that includes a gentle cleanser, broad-spectrum sunscreen, and moisturizer. If you're not doing those three things, you may not be giving your skin the care it needs. You may also want to see a Dermatologist regularly for advice and routine care.
Beyond those basic steps, damaged skin may need a little extra help by way of amino acids, which are organic compounds in the body that develop into proteins. These proteins have different functions, including to repair body tissue.
EltaMD's Triple Action Amino Acid Complex (AAComplex) Technology, for example, uses multiple amino acids in one system to help repair the chemical and physical causes of skin damage, as well as strengthen the skin barrier from within.
Each product in this system—toner, serum, and moisturizer—includes a trio of amino acids that together help repair damaged skin back to a restored and rejuvenated state.
With carefully developed science-based care, your skin barrier can look and feel its best while supporting your immune health.
After all, your skin does a lot for you; sometimes it needs a little love in return. Like eating your veggies, working out, or taking a multivitamin, it's always a good idea to do what you can to give your immune system that extra boost—inside and out.