When we talk about eczema or skin irritation we generally think about children, as they are the most affected. However, 1 out of every 12 sufferers is an adult and the incidence in women is greater than in men. Virtually every article that debates this issue refers to the skin’s natural barrier function being adversely affected and the requirement to nourish and replenish it.
The skin’s barrier function is exactly that, the layer of protection that locks water and goodness in and keeps all the nasties out! We need water to assist with natural exfoliation and to help our cells regularly regenerate. The nasties are allergens, toxins and bacteria, which all play havoc with our skin.
It’s clear to conclude that if this fragile barrier is interfered with, our skin will become irritated, resulting in conditions from mild redness and rosacea, to severe acne, dehydration and eczema.
How Do We Damage Our Skin’s Barrier Function
There are a number of acknowledged reasons ranging from stress and poor sleep quality to diet and exposure to the elements and pollution. However, one reason that always appears on every list is the use of astringent or alkaline products, which put our skin’s finely-tuned ph-balance out of kilter.
Even when we think we are being kind to our skin, a quick look at the back of the pack generally reveals numerous synthetic ingredients that can become a challenge to our natural barrier function.
A study published in the respected, peer-reviewed Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found in 2009 that there had been a 40% increase in eczema “in just 4 years”.* This study, that was funded by the NHS, concluded that a major reason could be the topical application of irritating products i.e. those with synthetic ingredients.
One major culprit is mineral oil, which has somehow sneaked into numerous products in the disguise of being ‘natural’.
What Is Mineral Oil?
The official name of mineral oil is paraffinum liquidum and it is a product derived from crude oil, a by-product in the production of petrol! The reason it is a major ingredient in many lotions, creams and oils is because it is a very inexpensive filler. To put that into perspective, it costs about 2% of regular olive oil.
When cheap, synthetic ingredients such as mineral oil are used consistently on our skin, they interfere with our skin’s natural ability to detoxify, thus causing myriad skin issues.
Our bodies are not capable of breaking down or metabolising mineral oil, so these contaminants build up and damage our cells. It is so important to use pure botanical plant oils that hydrate, protect and nurture our skin, from the cradle onwards.
How Can We Repair Our Skin’s Barrier Function?
We need to take the approach of looking after our skin from the inside and from the outside. Eating a diet rich in omegas for essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, will help prevent damage from within. Externally it is imperative to protect and nourish the skin with natural, plant-based products that protect and repair damage from environmental factors and inferior skincare products.
A good way to trap moisture into the skin is to smother natural emollients all over after a bath or shower. On areas of the skin that might be more irritated, consider a natural balm to help fast-track the repair process. Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so adopting good habits (and instilling them into children) from an early age is the best solution of all!
Botanico Vida, A 100% Natural Formula
Botanico Vida’s ‘Omega Oil and Balm’ were laboratory formulated to offer 100% natural, specialist skincare. Independent clinical trials have proved their effectiveness for dry and irritated skin, stretch marks, ageing skin, burns and sun damage.
A complex fusion of numerous botanical oils including, olive, coconut, rosehip, argan, avocado, sunflower plus calendula, a healing herb used for cuts grazes and burns since the time of the ancient Greeks, combine to deliver a beautiful, soothing skincare solution for the whole family. The crowning glory of the formula is Sacha Inchi (seen top of page), a plant ethically sourced and sustainably harvested from the mountains of Peru.
These remarkable seeds contain the highest concentration of omega oils of any known plant source, in particular Omega 3, the essential nutrient for brain, heart and skin health.