Kickass Science

Our skin as a delimitation organ

KickAss Partner • 28. April 2021 • 6 Min.

In order to know how we can take care and support of our skin and its task as a delimitation organ, it is important to understand the structure and function first. The skin has its own system of retaining moisture and has developed various protective mechanisms. With the right care, we can naturally strengthen the skin barrier. First, let’s take a look at their structure.

Structure of the skin

The structure of the skin can be roughly divided into 3 layers. Let us start by moving from the inside to the outside. The innermost (lowest) skin layer is the subcutis. It houses the fat and connective tissue and is therefore our body’s energy storage. About 2/3 of our body fat sits here and protects us from hypothermia. Incidentally, the fatty tissue is very well supplied with blood. If there is an excess of fat in the blood, it can be stored directly in the subcutis. Conversely, if there is a deficiency, the fatty tissue can also be broken down again.

The middle layer is the dermis. In it we find collagen and elastic fibers that determine the state of tension in the skin. The more moisture these fibers hold, the more plump and youthful our skin appears. The dermis is traversed by blood vessels, nerves and lymph vessels. The sensory cells with which we can feel pressure, temperature and pain are also stored here. But the sebum and sweat glands are also located here.

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Above the dermis we find the epidermis: The place where the keratinization takes place. The epidermis is constantly renewing itself. It takes 28 days to transform an intact skin cell into a lifeless horny scale. On their way from the inner edge of the epidermis to the outer edge, the cells change their shape and function. Initially round with a functioning cell wall and nucleus, they open the nucleus and cell plasma as they migrate. These components are recycled and form important building blocks of the skin barrier.

The skin as an organ of demarcation from the outside

The skin is our organ of demarcation from the outside. But how can dry, loose horny flakes now form a stable skin barrier? A skin barrier that prevents pathogens and pollutants from penetrating our body through the skin and at the same time protects us against moisture loss? This is only possible with a combination of things. 

Right at the top of the skin is the hydro-lipid film. Anyone who has ever poured oil into a saucepan with water while cooking knows that the oil floats on the water and does not mix. How can our skin form an even water-fat film? After all, water and fat do not sit close together as fine, tiny droplets. The skin touches its own cream. A cream consists of water and fat that are combined by an emulsifier. We find the emulsifier in the skin in the constituents of the cell nuclei, which dissolve on the way up during cornification. On the surface of the skin, the sebum (fat) of the sebum glands mix with the sweat (water) and the cornification products to form an even film. This film ensures a slightly acidic pH value of around 5.3 and protects our skin from unwanted microorganisms. To some extent, the film can also filter sunlight and attenuate the radiation slightly.

The second is the Rein’sche Barrier. In the epidermis (about mid-height where the cells begin to die), forms a continuous layer made up primarily of lipids (fats). Your horny layer lipids protect against water evaporation from the tissue and at the same time prevent water from penetrating our body. Without Rein’s barrier we could not go swimming – we would swell up completely. We also owe it to this barrier that no foreign substances can penetrate us.

The skin is a fascinating and sophisticated system that surrounds and protects our body. The boundary between inside and outside is a sensitive area. It is all the more important that we support and strengthen them in their function with the right care.

What kind of care does the skin need? Tips and Tricks

As you can see, the skin copes quite well on its own. Nowadays, however, the skin is exposed to many stimuli: Air pollution, fine dust, stress, more intense UV radiation or one-sided nutrition (deficiency). All of these factors have changed since the Stone Age and make it useful to support the skin with natural care. The basic principle is simple:Ddo nothing that weakens the skin barrier.

1. Cleanse your skin

In the evening, gently cleanse the skin with a little water and oil (you can see skin-like substances). In the morning it is advisable to clean the skin only with water. If we wash out the fats of the skin barrier through excessive cleaning with e.g. Double Cleansing or cleaning foam, the skin is stressed. Imagine you have an important job to do and someone wants to keep you away from work all the time. You would be irritated, right? The skin is no different. It becomes more permeable to pollutants, becomes sensitive and reacts faster to stimuli.

2. Adapt your care to your skin type

Above all, oily skin needs moisturizing care, as the balance in the hydro-lipid film has shifted in favor of the lipids. Dry skin is characterized by reduced sebum production. We recommend a rich care that gives the skin a shell and thus keeps the moisture in the skin. A predominantly aqueous care is unfortunately of little use for dry skin, as it will not stay in the skin for long due to the lack of fats.

With age, the production of the sebum decreases, the skin becomes drier, regardless of skin type, and needs more care.

3. Provide building blocks for your skin- Internally and Externally

Rein’s barrier is made up of lipids. Using natural care products that contain rich plant oils, we can supply the skin with different fats, which it can incorporate as building blocks in the barrier. With oils or plant extracts that are rich in natural antioxidants, we can also help the skin defend itself against free radicals. Free radicals arise, for example, from stress or UV radiation. They disrupt metabolic processes and damage cell structures. Antioxidants trap the free radicals and render them harmless. The supply of nutrients to the skin from the inside is just as important: a balanced diet with essential fatty acids (e.g. nuts with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) and vitamins (= natural antioxidants) makes a strong contribution to the healthy function of the skin

The delimitation function of the skin is vital for us. It works for us 24/7: Storing moisture, repelling germs, filtering UV radiation, regulating the pH value, these are just a few of its tasks. With a balanced, varied diet and natural skin care, we can provide the skin with important building blocks that it needs to exercise its barrier function and thus support it in its function.

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This blog entry was written by our KickAss Partner Andrea Dablander. She makes authentic natural cosmetics. Her promise: Herbal cosmetics for beautiful, radiant skin. All products are Natrue certified. As part of the #kickasssquad you get 15% off all products at Andrea Dablander.

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