Guardians of Great Skin: Unveiling the Skin Barrier & Microbiome

Guardians of Great Skin: Unveiling the Skin Barrier & Microbiome

Dr. Christine Hall, Skincare expert, Aesthetic physician, GP and Emergency Medicine Doctor explores...

The ‘Skin barrier’ and the ‘Microbiome’ are real buzzwords in the skincare and beauty industry but what do they really mean and why are they important? 

Although absolutely integral to each other, your skin barrier and microbiome are two completely different things. 

What is the Skin Barrier? 

Your skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin; the largest organ of your body. The skin barrier is often a likened to a brick wall – where specialised cells called corneocytes are the bricks and the mortar is a mix of lipids; fatty acids and ceramides and a substance called NMF – Natural Moisturising Factor which is packed with nutrients. Its’ role is to protect you by blocking out external aggressors such as extremes of temperature, bacteria, UV radiation and harm whilst locking in and balancing hydration on the inside. Extremes of temperature, harsh skincare actives, over-exfoliation, aging and UV radiation will all compromise your skin barrier resulting in inflammation and irritation seen and felt as tightness, redness, breakouts, soreness and dry flaky skin.

What is the microbiome? 

The microbiome is the term used to describe the trillions of organisms that reside on the skin and in the gut; these are primarily bacteria but also include viruses, fungi and mites.

When balanced, these micro-organisms co-exist in harmony to support our skin barrier, provide us with immunity and aid in the absorption of nutrients. At times, our microbiome can become imbalanced and the less beneficial organisms start to outnumber the beneficial ones in a process called ‘dysbiosis’ and we know that a number of dermatological conditions are linked to exactly this – for example dermodex mites in rosacea, Propionebacterium acnes in acne and delayed wound healing.

A healthy microbiome is acquired through good lifestyle habits and a healthy skin barrier – good sleep, drinking plenty of water, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables have all been shown to contribute to a healthy microbiome. But in our modern lives this isn’t always easy and antibiotic use, stress and poor diet can all contribute to dysbiosis.Along with these lifestyle factors, what we are doing to our skin is equally important. The use of harsh actives and over cleansing can be hugely detrimental and we must ensure that we are using skin care that supports our microbiome whilst nourishing and strengthening the skin barrier.

A Routine to Strengthen and Protect the Skin Barrier

Ren’s Evercalm range is a multi-award winning collection of skin care products, within which, many have been formulated and clinically tested to help strengthen and protect the skin barrier. Each of the products within the range work harmoniously with each other with this key objective in mind to help comfort and protect the skin barrier and nurturing the microbiome.

  1. Evercalm™ Gentle Cleansing Gel – The first step in your skincare routine, used morning and night, massage a small amount of product onto damp skin and rinse off with warm water or a reusable cotton pad.
  2. Evercalm™ Barrier Support Face Elixir – Used morning and night after cleansing, warm 5 drops of the product in the palm of your hand before patting into slightly damp skin. Containing 7 oils this product is the ultimate in comfort for the skin this remarkably light and non-greasy formula sinks into the skin quickly leaving a soft silky texture. It is clinically-proven to repair and nourish the skin reducing redness and strengthening the skin barrier.
  3. Evercalm™ Overnight Recovery Balm – Applied onto the skin at night this is the ultimate soothing and calming product. Place a small amount of product into the palm of your hand to melt the product before applying it over the skin. Although commonly applied at night, it can be used as often as you like – those with the driest skin may use it multiple times a day in target areas or for others a few times a week to really comfort and nourish the skin.
  4. Evercalm™ Barrier Support Body Balm - This luxurious ultra-hydrating balm is clinically proven to nourish very dry skin and keep it hydrated for 72 hours this body balm is so versatile and perfect for all over use or targeted areas of dry skin.