The skin barrier is more than just a buzz word. It’s important to human life. When the skin barrier is compromised, it will show on your skin in a number of different ways including redness, dryness, rough texture, dehydrated and dull-looking skin, making it harder to achieve your skin goals. So, what exactly does our skin barrier do and why is it so important to protect it? Our skin researchers are here to educate you on the skin barrier, why it should be appreciated, and our nutritionist reveals her favourite food hacks to repair and support your skin barrier for a glowing, youthful complexion.
Skin barrier and its function
The skin barrier is the top layer of the skin, which is called the stratum corneum and has an array of roles. Think of it like a ‘brick wall’ as its main purpose is to provide a barrier between the external environment and the organism. By protecting us from external threats such as toxic chemicals, free radicals (pollution, UV exposure) and allergens . Your skin barrier is essential as it’s literally keeping you alive, keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. Additionally, it helps lock the moisture in, reducing excess water loss of the body. If your skin doesn’t have enough moisture, your skin will appear dry, cracked, and lose elasticity. So, taking care of your skin barrier is not only key for a glowing, youthful complexion but for your body to function properly.
What damages your skin barrier
The skin barrier can be damaged in various ways including:
- Sun exposure
- Poor diet - excess sugar and fast food
- Dry environment
- Allergens and irritants
- Over exfoliation
5 nutrition hacks to repair the skin barrier
Omega fatty acids helps to support the skin barrier function, by retaining the moisture in your skin as well as helping to reduce inflammation . Antioxidants provide a nutrition army to fight free radical attacks on the skin. Our nutritionist reveals her favourite foods and meal hacks containing healthy fats and antioxidants for a healthy-looking skin barrier.
Oily fish is rich in omega 3. Our nutritionist recommends a salmon or prawn stir fry for lunch or a light dinner. Pair this oily fish with skin-loving vegetables including peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots for a wholesome, nutritious meal.
Nuts –particularly almonds and walnuts are also another way of consuming some healthy fats. Almonds contain omega-6 fatty acids and walnuts are full of omega 3 fatty acids. Our nutritionist’s top food hack is to add some almonds or walnuts to your oats, porridge, or yoghurts in the morning. Alternatively, add some almond butter to your smoothies for an omega boost. Nuts also make a great choice for a delicious and healthy snack mid afternoon before the 3pm slump.
Avocados are also an excellent source of healthy fats for your skin. They can be added easily to your lunch by including them to a salad or mashing it and spreading it on toast for a delicious, wholesome light meal.
Olive oil is more versatile than you think. Our nutritionist’s top hacks with olive oil is using it as a salad dressing, a healthier alternative to Caesar dressing. Or instead of using butter on mashed potatoes, add olive oil instead. Alternatively, you can pour two tablespoons of olive oil on roasted vegetables instead for a crisp texture and unique taste.
Beta carotene – the antioxidant which can help protect your skin from free radicals. Foods that contain beta carotene are sweet potato, yams, spinach, carrots, red peppers, and kale. These vegetables are perfect to make a vegetable bake, soup, or if you’re looking for something heartier a vegetable lasagne would be divine.
Consuming foods high in omegas and beta carotene such as oily fish, nuts, olive oil, sweet potato, yams, spinach, carrots all help waterproof and shield your skin, repairing and supporting your skin barrier. Remember it’s also key to keep hydrated and drink sufficient amounts of water during the day. Follow our nutritionist’s food hacks and you’ll soon be on your way to a glowing, healthy-looking skin barrier.
1. What to know about your skin barrier and how to protect it. Healthline. August 31st, 2022.
2. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: photoprotective macronutrients. National Library of Medicine. Suzanne M Pilkington 1, Rachel E B Watson, Anna Nicolaou, Lesley E. 2020.