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When Barriers Are Good

Good barriers bring to mind structures that keep stuff:

  • In - like a dam that holds water; and
  • Out  - like our atmosphere that keeps sun radiation and other seriously dangerous stuff away.

Our skin has a two-way barrier that operates exactly like this. Most of us call it the lipid barrier, the skin barrier or the moisture barrier, and its scientific name is the stratum corneum.

The stratum corneum keeps our skin moist while blocking/eliminating outside irritants looking for the opportunity to dig in. It consists of dead skin cells, 3 types of lipid oils (cholesterol, free fatty acids and ceramides) and 5 specialized barrier systems1:

  • Permeability Barrier - manages and maintains the acid mantle (part of the lipid barrier) as well as our skin moisture levels;
  • Antioxidant Barrier - reverses oxidation damage, eliminates free radicals, and helps with cell regeneration;
  • Photoprotection Barrier - manages lipid barrier thickness (the thicker the barrier, the better the protection) and protects against free radical damage; 
  • Antimicrobial Barrier - regulates skin pH levels while protecting against harmful bacteria; and
  • Immune Response Barrier - manages antimicrobial activity while also recognizing and flagging outside irritants.

When any of these skin barrier pieces becomes compromised, the overall barrier grows weaker, allowing long term skin damage to take root. The good news is that barrier damage can usually be fixed with a thoughtful skin care program.

Repairing The Lipid/Skin/Moisture Barrier

First, we need to identify two things before recommending a skin barrier protection and rejuvenation regimen:

  • What sort of damage is happening?
    • What is happening gives clues as to why it is happening:
      • For example, dry, flaky skin can mean any or all of these - 
        • Skin pH is too high (too alkaline);
        • Dry air is sapping skin moisture;
        • Skin barrier is compromised due to environmental irritant damage; and/or
        • Genetic factors, stress or diet that prevent skin from properly maintaining itself.
  • What are the appropriate remedies for?
    • Start with good cleansing and toning to ensure skin pH is in the balanced range of 4.8 - 6.0 (our skin is healthiest when its slightly acidic);
    • Next, use antioxidant-rich serums, boosts, treatments and moisturizers to help repair any compromised lipid barrier functions and health;
    • Then, improve moisturizing results by selecting the correct level of protection and performance; and finally
    • Examine lifestyle and/or dietary issues for underlying causes.

     The VU Perspective

    We see the skin/lipid/moisture barrier as ground zero for fighting outside irritants and all our products are designed to -

    • Deliver personalized results through our Regimen Builder:
      • We present regimen options to help repair and maintain a healthy stratum corneum based on:
        • Skin type;
        • Where you live; and
        • Current seasonal issues.
    • Be both gentle and thorough:
      • While sounding like a contradiction, we search for ingredients and ingredient blends that achieve the delicate balance between effectively removing irritants while doing no harm to the skin barrier.
      • For example, our Cleansing Gel and Cleansing Foam both combine safe, coconut-derived cleansing agents with skin-soothing ingredients for balance.
    • Deliver proven active ingredients that act more powerfully in concert than alone:
      • For example, we combine vitamin C with vitamin E in our Ultimate C&E Serum because vitamin E is 50 times more effective when blended this way; and 
      • We combine 18 powerful antioxidants in our Free Radical Defense Serum because antioxidants are more effective when combined2.
    • Work together to form an outstanding lineup of protective and rejuvenating skin care products for almost every skin type and environment.
    We think the right path is to put our products in your life to keep all those environmental aggressors out.

    Article References

    1- Understanding the Epidermal Barrier in Healthy and Compromised Skin: Clinically Relevant Information for the Dermatology Practitioner (2016). The Journal of Clinical And Aesthetic Dermatology, Volume 9, Number 4, Supplement 1, Page 52:    


    2 - The Role of Antioxidants in Photoprotection: A Critical Review (2012). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 67, Issue 5, Page 1013:

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