Immunity is most definitely something I think a lot of us have been focusing on over the past 18 months. Whether it be through diet, exercise, taking supplements or even a complete lifestyle overhaul, most of us have had some kind of change to our lifestyle.
Did you know though, that our skin has its own immune system too?
Our skin has the acid mantle which is our first line of defence for our skin. This is a layer of sebum that sits on the surface and helps fight off bacteria, viruses and infections.
It helps to keep the skin soft and supple and also healthy. It can be very easy to damage it though and some of us might regularly impair our skin's natural barrier daily... without even knowing it!
Here are some ways that we can damage the barrier...
USING HARSH CLEANSING PRODUCTS - INCLUDING FACE WIPES!
I talk about this a lot, but we want to avoid any kind of foaming face washes as they tend to strip the skin's natural oils and leave it dry and dehydrated.
Similarly with facial scrubs (such as apricot or salt scrubs). These can contain granules that are sharp and pointy and actually cause micro tears in the skin, which can lead to further damage, infection and breakouts.
Finally, face wipes can contain strong alcohols which again damage the skin's barrier - plus they do a terrible job of removing makeup and dirt!
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD - Use cleansers that don't foam up or damage the barrier. Exfoliating products that contain gentle exfoliating methods and always remove products with just a simple face cloth (not the muslin ones).
Continuing with the cleansing theme, cleansing brushes can cause a similar damage that scrubs can do. They don't just create micro tears in the skin, they can also harbour so much bacteria throughout the day and then when you cleanse again in the evening, they put that bacteria back onto the face.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD - Remove products with a simple face cloth (not the muslin ones). Once you've used each face cloth, simply pop it in the washing basket and use a fresh one each time. You can buy them super inexpensively from supermarkets and homeware stores.
AGGRESSIVE FACIAL TREATMENTS
Personally I like gentle facial treatments that are active. I love to treat the skin with peels and what I love about Nimue peels is that they contain ingredients that repair the barrier whilst peeling the skin.
I would avoid any treatments that damage or remove the skin's barrier such as microdermabrasion or dermaplaning (I did a whole post about why you shouldn't dermaplane your skin here)
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD - Opt for gentle facial treatments using products that are well formulated with high quality ingredients. Nimue uses ingredients to actually repair the barrier at the same time so no damage is done.
This can include very hot showers or hot water when you're cleansing your face. Also, if you are out in the sun, make sure you have on your sun protection and if it's super hot, an element barrier as well.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD - Ideally keep your face out of the shower and don't use very hot water on your face. Your flannel shouldn't be so hot that you struggle to wring it out! Just a little warmer than tepid should be fine.
We can also ensure that we are looking after our skin's barrier by eating a varied diet with plenty of good fats and vitamins and minerals. If you want to supplement, I love the Skin Omegas and also Skin Vitality to pack my skin with all the nutrients it needs to help boost collagen and heal and repair itself.
Thank you so much for reading,
Lots of love,