How To Repair Your Skin Barrier

Obviously, I'm a dermatologist, so I may be subjective, but not only is your skin your largest organ, I vote it's your most important organ. 

Why? Because without your skin being intact, you will completely deflate, get dehydrated, fizzle out. etc…. 

In all seriousness, without your skin being intact, a cascade of unfortunate events can take place. Without your skin, you cannot function. 

If our skin is meant to protect our insides, then what exactly is protecting our skin?

That is where your skin barrier health comes in. Your skin is made up of various layers, think: layers of a pizza. Let’s start from the bottom:

  • We have the subcutaneous tissue, which is the dough. 

  • We have the dermis, which is your sauce. 

  • Then we have the epidermis, the uppermost layer of your skin, the cheese of your pizza.

Within the epidermis, the cheesy layer, the cheese is not equal all across your pie. You have the gooeyness, which is the deeper part, and then you have the crispy surface, which is your stratum corneum, the uppermost part of your skin. 

Within the stratum corneum, we have corneocytes, which are skin cells. Then we have the glue holding the corneocytes together, and that is what we call the lipid matrix

The lipid matrix is made up of:

  • cholesterol (yep, we got cholesterol in our skin), 

  • fatty acids, 

  • and you've heard this one before, ceramides. 

Think of all of these like the glue that is keeping the cells together.


[Layers of your skin = layers of a pizza

Top layer = epidermis (cheese) → stratum coreum (crispy upper most cheesy layer)

= corneocytes (skin cells) + lipid matrix (glue that holds it all together)] 

And that is the skin in a nutshell.

So what should you expect when your skin barrier is disrupted?

Watch this video where Dr. Shereene Idriss breaks down how to repair your skin barrier.