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Help Your Skin to Protect You

Written by Pia Kynoch on October 23rd, 2015.      0 comments

Part of the defence system at the surface of your skin is known as the ‘acid mantle’ and is formed by a combination of different components of the Stratum Corneum (SC), including sebum and sweat secretions.

The maintenance of a slightly acidic 5.5 pH milieu is necessary for the specific arrangements of the lamellar lipid, and will suppress microbial pathogen overgrowth as well as regulating pH dependant enzymes that play specific roles in the natural desquamation (cell shedding) process and homeostasis of your barrier function.
The Skin ph SpaBeauty NZ Article When exposed to a neutral or alkaline pH the barrier function is negatively impacted and restoration of function can be delayed for up to 12 hours. That is a long time to have impaired protection!
This interruption to the lipid bilayer organisation can make it sensitive, prone to infection and can either increase breakout issues or exacerbate dryness. All soaps are alkaline, as are many foaming cleansers. Sodium Lauryl Sulfates and derivatives of will also affect your pH barrier function, regardless of whether the bottle advertises a ‘pH balanced formula’. It may be balanced in the bottle, but as soon as soon as there is contact with your skin those type of ingredients wreak havoc!

Another regulatory aspect of the dynamic SC structure comes from the function of epidermal enzymes. These enzymes require a certain amount of water-soluble compounds to be present to effectively complete their set tasks of breaking down the bonds and forces holding the corneocytes together in their lipid matrix. Desquamatory enzymes completely rely on available water for maintenance of activity, and without the right amount present your skin will pay a price!

Natural moisturising factor (NMF) is a collection of water soluble compounds such as amino acids and a mixture of salts like urea and lactates that bind water.
Epidermal Water Loss in the Skin SpaBeauty NZ Articles Interestingly, NMF can be easily drawn away from the skin with excessive water contact because of its solubility properties – those prune fingers you get after sitting in the bath for a long time is because of epidermal NMF dehydration!
Water also leaches quickly through an incomplete lipid bilayer structure, especially in an arid air-con environment - yet another reason why expert skin therapists are so invested in rebuilding your lipid barrier structure, and also why we are so concerned about what your liquid intake is each day! If yours is along the lines of 2 cups of coffee a day, two teas, 4 glasses of water and a glass of wine each day, you’d be chronically dehydrated. As well as having impaired epidermal enzyme activity you’ll visually appear much older due to a thinner epidermis and dermis, plus you’ll be impacting kidney, liver, lymph and blood function (at a minimum!).

It is a well known statement that ‘we are what we eat’… Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being (mind and body) but also the outer fabric of your skin as well.  How well cells can achieve their set tasks depends on how available supporting nutrients are.

Fat soluble vitamins such as A & D play a huge role in cell regulation, with many people displaying deficiency signs (such as bumpy skin on the back of arms and dry skin). A lack of essential fatty acids is associated impaired cell communication and a wide variety of skin problems, as is a diet lacking essential minerals such as zinc, calcium and magnesium, which are known to influence healing, immune function and anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory enzymes.

Excess glucose affects proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes, altering their function, as well as creating crosslinking between cells that should never otherwise occur. For great skin good nutrition is essential! Healthy eating doesn’t have to be about dieting and sacrifice. Whatever your age, eating well should be all about fresh, colourful foods (especially vegetables), minimising processed foods, few sugars & white flours, creativity in the kitchen, happiness eating with friends & family. Reach for ‘super foods’ to really supercharge your cells! I think of my super foods (such as organic chia,  natural yoghurt, steamed broccoli) similarly to how I think of my face serums – as superchargers for my cells!

The latest scientific papers suggest that your skin can be considered your third ‘brain’ (with the second being your digestive system). Skin is a sensory interface, a deciphering system, a regulator that connects your mind and body and also serves to connect your body to the outside world. The more scientists advance their knowledge about skin the more they recognise its significance in influencing total body physiology and emotional response to our ever changing environment – which just confirms what we have known all along… physiology and aesthetics are intimately and profoundly intertwined.

It has become quite obvious that each step in your skin and body cycle is vital, and that the top performance of each cell process is heavily reliant on others. When things go awry, a domino cascade of cellular consequences ensues! In order to firstly recognise imbalances or disordered function, and then be able to choose a well-considered, customised plan of supplementation and treatment for restoration of optimal skin health (whilst also providing ongoing protection!) takes a fair bit of knowledge and skill.

This is just a brief overview of the basics in epidermal anatomy and function, which I have summarised as succinctly as I could. Skin is much, much more complex and multi-layered than this synopsis! I have, hopefully, provided some extra insights into your skin that may even encourage further exploration and questions – as skin therapist we are here to help, and truly want the best for your skin.
How to Get the Best Skin Articles by SpaBeauty NZ Having a gorgeous, glowing skin requires the proper functioning and ongoing maintenance of all the components within it - it is a dynamic organ that is continuously renewing and altering itself in response to internal & external stimuli. Maintaining and even improving your skin, and slowing the rate at which it is ageing, is very possible with the right home care & salon care intervention, supplementation and protection – which is why understanding a little more about anatomy and physiology helps with the choices you make in caring for it!

We know that when our clients are able to have a greater appreciation of all the jobs that their skin cells perform that their respect, care and attention of their precious skin is greatly enhanced. 

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This article was written by Pia Kynoch
Owner & Principal Therapist at:

Verve Beauty & Paramedical Skin Wellness.





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