Compromised Skin. A Sensitive issue.
What is compromised skin?
Compromised skin is skin that has become damaged and weakened. This can be due to internal, and or external stressors. These stressors can range from chemical toxins in products, the environment we’re in, the diet we consume, poor health and illness, genetics, and stress.
When the skin becomes compromised it loses its barrier function. The protective hydrolipidic film that nourishes and protects the outer surface of our skin has become broken, and dysfunctional.
This leads to a negative feedback loop. The skin becomes further sensitised and damaged as the skin can no longer keep external pollutants and toxins from entering the skin. This can wreck havoc on our skin. This adds to the initial cause of the skin’s problem.
So what causes an otherwise healthy skin to become compromised? Here are a few main factors.
- Environment: Our skin can become weakened and damaged due to external irritants. Pollution particles and blue light from screens that emit free radicals, harsh weather conditions, overexposure to UV rays, heating and air conditioning. These are all external stressors for the skin.
- Illness: Chronic illness, autoimmune disorders, and cancers can all lead to acute and chronic inflammation in the body, which in turn can lead to sensitivity and irritation in the skin.
- Diet: The foods and drinks we consume have a direct impact on the health of our skin. Diets that are high in sugar, alcohol, acid, salt, and dairy can lead to inflammation in the body, dehydration, and weakening of the skins structural units, such as blood capillaries, collagen and elastin and the skins protective outer layer.
- Genetics: Our DNA plays a significant role in the health and constitution of our skin. Genetic factors can lead to inherited chronic illness and autoimmune diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Hormones: The disruption and imbalance of hormones, especially the reproductive hormones, can lead to inflammation and irritation of the skin, along with excess sebum production, sensitivity, dehydration and dryness. Most common skin conditions that are caused by hormonal imbalances are Acne and Rosacea. Acne is seen in females and males during puberty and early adulthood, and Rosacea mostly seen in women during perimenopause and menopause.
- Products: Products that contain unsuitable ingredients, toxins, synthetic substances and allergens can damage and breakdown the skins hydrolipidic layer, dry out the skin, and lead to inflammation, redness, pigmentation damage, clogged pores and premature aging.
- Stress: It may seem inconsequential to our skins health, but stress has been proven to cause 90% of all disease and illness. long-term stress leads to the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol. Overtime this hormone causes mayhem in our bodies. It weakens our immunity, our hormones are thrown off balance, our inflammatory response is kicked into overdrive, and our sleep can be negatively impacted. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to the health of our skin.
There are a few key symptoms to look out for when considering the appearance and feel of a compromised skin.
- Redness: Most compromised skin will have weakened and inflamed blood vessels and capillaries. This can cause a florid complexion.
- Irritation and itchiness: Along with redness, the skin may feel raw, inflamed, itchy and hot. The skin can feel hot to the touch as blood flow increased to the vessels due to inflammation.
- Dry, scaly skin: As the skins hydrolipidic barrier is impaired, the skin is no longer able to retain sufficient levels of moisture to keep the skin hydrated and smooth. The skin may feel rough in texture, with noticeable patches of flaky skin.
- Rosacea: A condition usually caused by hormonal factors. The appearance of the skin becomes inflamed, irritated, with dilated and broken capillaries. Breakouts of pustules can also be present. Usually occurs in the centre of the face.
- Acne: Also largely caused by hormonal factors. This is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands, whereby large, painful cysts, pustules and blackheads are often present, accompanied by redness, inflammation, irritation and excess oiliness.
- Chronic autoimmune conditions: Eczema and psoriasis can often flare up when the skin is compromised if genetic factors are present.
- Chronic infections: A weakened barrier can lead to the increased risk of bacterial, viral and fungal infections in the skin. For example cold sores from the Herpes Simplex virus.
How to treat a compromised skin
There is a a lot of ambiguity online regarding the right way to treat a compromised skin. Many different opinions and advice are being preached by millions of influencers on many platforms. This no doubt can be confusing, and lead to frustration and stress when trying to determine the right way to treat the issue.
So what is the best way to treat this issue?
The Gut-Skin Connection
Firstly, with any skin concern, you must start from within. Our skin is the largest organ in the body. It is made up of billions of cells that work hard to keep our skin healthy. These cells need nourishment, hydration and oxygen in order to survive. Therefore we need to be mindful of our gut health. An inflamed and imbalanced gut will lead to inflamed and imbalanced skin.
We need to be feeding our skin a nourishing, wholesome diet. Organic fruits an veg contain essential vitamins and antioxidants that will fight off free radicals and protect our skin’s cells. Omega 3, 6 and 9 found in fish, avocados and nuts will fight inflammation and help to restore the hydrolipidic film. Plenty of water will keep our cells hydrated, which is the most important thing that our body needs for optimum health.
This also means we need to cut out harmful foods as well. Alcohol, cigarettes, saturated fats, refined sugar, excess dairy. These are substances that increase inflammation within our bodies and can lead to our skin becoming compromised and irritated.
Another important and overlooked treatment to a compromised skin is stress-management. As stated previously, stress accounts for 90% of all illnesses. That means that above everything, stress is the biggest culprit in causing and exacerbating a compromised skin.
When it comes to your skin, sometimes you need to read between the lines. Sometimes the issue that’s affecting our skin goes beyond the skin itself. Things like stressful life events, financial worries, work-related stress, relationship problems. Basically, anything that causes you ongoing stress in your life.
These issues first need to be tended to in order to reduce unhealthy and persisting stress, which can be having a negative impact on your skin’s health.
Get Your Hormones in Check
Similar with stress levels, if your hormones are out of whack your skin is going to suffer. It is important that you try to address any issues with hormonal imbalances in the body.
However, hormones are complex chemicals and it can be tricky trying to manage them. If you are going through the menopause you may notice that your skin will begin to change. It may become dryer, more sensitive, and you may develop rosacea. If you are going through puberty you may notice excess oiliness and acne breakouts. If you are pregnant you may experience acne, oiliness, increased sensitivity and rosacea.
Hormonal changes are not preventable, but they can be manageable. Linking back to the importance of diet, our hormones are best balanced by eating a healthy and nutritious diet. Foods rich in vitamin B6, omega 3 and linoleic acid found in evening primrose oil/starflower oil can all help to keep our hormones balanced.
Choosing the Right Products
It is essential that you choose the right products containing the best ingredients to suit your skin.
It is best to use eco-certified organic and natural products. These are free from damaging, synthetic substances such as phthalates, sulphates, parabens, mineral oil, and certain alcohols. It is also important to be aware of the risk of essential oils. Some essential oils can penetrate the bloodstream and cause inflammation and allergic reactions.
For compromised, inflamed and irritated skin, it is best to stick to soothing and nourishing ingredients. To soothe, think of aloe vera, centella asiatica, rose water, lavender, chamomile, camphor, and liquorice root extract. To re-establish a weakened barrier, think of nourishing shea butter, almond oil, jojoba oil and rose oil.
Consistency is Key
Lastly, It is also important to adopt a daily skincare regime consisting of cleansing, toning and moisturising. Use a gentle cleanser containing soothing ingredients to cleanse the skin. Tone the skin using a soothing an pH rebalancing toner. Finally protect and hydrate the skin using a moisturiser that will serve to restore the skins hydrolipidic layer, whilst also soothing, and calming any irritation and redness.
To further enhance the treatment of compromised skin, you can also use a serum before moisturising. This will target unwanted symptoms by treating the skins deeper layers. An oil can also be used to aid in rebuilding the hydrolipidic layer by providing a nourishing, occlusive barrier.
Here at V Claire Natural Health and Beauty Salon we provide a wide range of organic and natural products to treat the most sensitive, compromised skin. We also provide excellent soothing and restorative facial treatments. Carefully designed to help nourish and soothe your skin, using the highest quality of organic and natural ingredients.
On a final and important note. Always remember your products are only as good as the ingredients inside the bottle. Its not the brand, its not the fancy packaging, or pleasant scent that will treat your skin. It is the quality of the ingredients that will really make a difference. So take control of your skin and always check the ingredients to get the best result.
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Written by Deirdre Lynch, Senior Beauty Therapist at V Claire Health and Beauty Salon