Lipids may not sound very sexy. But they’re vital for the health and youthful appearance of our skin. Essentially, lipids are the skin’s natural fats – and essential components of the skin’s upper layers. Lipids in the form of fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterol, support skin barrier function and fortify against Trans-Epidermal Water Loss, more commonly known as TEWL. The loss of moisture through the skin barrier is a leading cause of dehydration, dryness and weakening of skin barrier defenses.

What is the lipid layer of the skin?

The lipid layer of the skin is composed of fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterol – all natural fat substances that play an important role in skin health. Although research regarding lipids is an emerging area of skin research, studies suggest optimal levels of ceramides in human skin to be approximately 50% of the skin’s lipid layer, cholesterol 25%, and other fatty acids at about 10-15%. 

You may know the lipid layer by one of its other names: the skin barrier or moisture barrier. However it’s referred to, this natural barrier serves key functions that are linked directly to skin health.  

One of these essential tasks is to act as an environmental shield against external aggressors including pollutants, free radicals and microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. Additionally, this layer of skin fats functions as a moat to hold moisture in the skin and prevent loss of water and electrolytes through the skin barrier.

In fact, optimal lipids in the barrier help all of the skin’s functions to operate more effectively. Examples of these vital functions are: immune response and wound healing; skin’s response to UV radiation and its regulation of melanin; the natural production of protective antioxidants; and the support of dermal functions, including the production of elastin and collagen in the dermis. 

What can strip your skin of its natural lipids?

The #1 culprit that strips skin’s natural lipids is WATER! Bathing everyday and using hot water can strip your fatty acids and make your skin drier, prone to infections, rashes, and itchy. 
Other things that can strip our natural lipids are cleansers/body washes that use sulfates or aren’t pH balanced and are over exfoliating.

What ingredients contain lipids that will help strengthen the skin barrier?

Natural oils like squalene and jojoba are compatible with skin’s natural lipids and they also act as a delivery vehicle for other skin healing and strengthening ingredients to penetrate the epidermis. For example, Skinfix’s Lipid-Peptide Lotion uses a Healthy Skin Lipid Complex to help replenish skins natural lipids and deliver 5% Seaweed Hyaluronate and 2% Peony Root to the epidermis, helping pull moisture into the skin and enhancing skin’s radiance.

How can I improve my skin lipid barrier?

So, proper lipid barrier function is the key to skin health. But did you know that we lose skin barrier lipids like ceramides and fatty acids as we age? Over the course of our lives, the skin’s lipid content steadily declines as the skin is unable to replenish depleted lipids like fatty acids and ceramides at a youthful pace.

By our 30s, we may have lost up to 40% of vital skin lipids. 

By our 40s we may have lost up to 60% of vital skin lipids.

This absence of lipids in the skin compromises skin barrier defenses and accelerates signs of skin aging. The solution? A lipid-rich moisturizer that helps replenish ceramides and fatty acids to maximize optimal functions and preserve the youthful behaviors of the skin. Even what may be considered the best face creams for dry skin can fall short of skin’s most essential needs. When it comes to skin barrier health, these needs transcend mere moisture.

Studies have shown that using a face cream with skin-similar lipids that mimic the skin barrier’s own lipids is the most effective way to replenish lipids.

Lipid Skincare

As part of a Barrier+ three-step regimen, the Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream is a lipid filler rich in vital lipids, peptides and sodium hyaluronate and is clinically proven to help restore depleted ceramides and fatty acids and support barrier function by reversing lipid depletion.

In fact, the Skinfix Barrier+ regimen is clinically proven to replenish skin lipids by 23.6% in 28 days. That's nearly 1% per day!

Skinfix products are also available at Sephora.

February 02, 2021