At Mokosh we often talk about the importance of your skin’s barrier for optimal skin health. When our skin’s barrier is compromised, skin is prone to dryness, irritation, eczema and increased sensitivity, not to mention accelerated ageing (read more on this here).
During winter, our skin's barrier is at its most vulnerable. This means we are more prone to skin problems at this time of year. Read on to find out why.
What is your skin’s barrier made of?
Our skin’s barrier is made up of 3 parts: a physical barrier comprising our skin’s epidermal cells embedded in a layer of lipids (fats), that prevent water and irritants penetrating the skin; an acidic pH, known as the ‘acid mantle’, that deters proliferation of harmful bacteria; and a microbiome, a mixed population of microorganisms that communicate with our immune system and compete with harmful microbes.
Mokosh formulas are unique in that they prioritise the health of all three components of the skin’s barrier. It is now believed by some scientists that a healthy skin barrier is your number one weapon against the ageing of your whole body (1). Our focus in this blog is the ingredients that can fortify the physical, lipid barrier - the part of our barrier that is particularly at risk during winter.
What happens to our skin’s lipid barrier during winter?
The lipid part of our skin’s barrier is being made continuously, along with new skin cells. It includes a range of different types of lipids, of which the ceramides are a critical component. When ceramides are depleted there is an increased risk of developing dry skin, eczema and other skin problems, simply because the barrier is not functioning at its best (2).
It is now known that ceramide levels decrease dramatically during winter and with increasing age (3), which is one of the reasons so many people find that their skin is drier, more irritable, and more prone to inflammation during the cooler months of the year.
The good news is that ceramde levels in the skin can be boosted by applying plant oils rich in essential fatty acids (2). Although all the essential fatty acids are important for maintaining a healthy lipid barrier (4), it is linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, that is critical for our skin’s barrier function (5)
Which Mokosh products are rich in essential fatty acids?
We have incorporated essential fatty acids throughout our range. There are high levels in our cleanser: Makeup Remover & Cleansing Oil, our moisturising serums: Elderberry, Raspberry and Bakuchiol Serums, and our 3 face creams: Rich, Light and Pure Face & Body Cream. We have also incorporated them into our body moisturisers: Sesame & Frankincense Body Oil and Frankincense & Orange Body Cream.
This ensures that all our moisturisers deliver a concentrated dose of essential fatty acids, so that ceramide levels in your skin will be optimal at all times of the year.
Remember that it’s more important than ever during winter to protect your skin’s barrier by minimising use of soaps and detergents, and taking short showers and baths in water that is not too hot to minimise loss of lipids from your skin. After bathing, replenish your skin’s lipids with our barrier-restoring products, being sure to moisturise from top to toe to optimise the anti-ageing benefits.
1. Ye, L. et al (2019) "Topical applications of an emollient reduce circulating pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in chronically aged humans: a pilot clinical study." Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Published 05 March 19.
2. Conti, A. et al (1996) “Seasonal influences on stratum corneum ceramide 1 fatty acids and the influence of topical essential fatty acids.” Int J Cosmet Sci. 18:1-12.
3. Rogers, J. et al (1996) “Stratum corneum lipids: the effect of ageing and the seasons.” Arch. Dermatol. Res. 288:765-70.
4. Simard, M. et al (2021) “α-Linolenic acid and linoleic acid modulate the lipidome and the skin barrier of a tissue-engineered skin model.” Acta Biomateriala 140:261-274
5. Angelo G. et al (2012) “Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health” Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Centre. Oregon State University.