We love good fats, in all of their guises. We might be dealing with the fallout from the idea that millenials will never own a home unless they cut back on their obsession with buying avocados, but damn it all, those good fats are just too much to give up! Luckily, we have this in common with our skin – and in the case of our skin, there’s no need to cut back. Today, we’re discussing why your skin needs fats, and what function they serve in your skincare dinner plate, and why honestly we can’t get enough of them.
Why Your Skin Needs Fats
Your skin is composed of several different layers – most notably, the epidermis, the dermis, the hypodermis and the muscle layer underneath. The topmost layer of your skin is the stratum corneum – that’s the bit that we can see, and the bit which we can apply our skincare to.
The skin barrier consists of the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of skin cells, as well as the lipid matrix. The lipid matrix is a combo of fats, cholesterols and ceramides which keep the cells together. This is commonly explained by the ‘brick wall’ analogy – you can think of your skin cells (corneocytes) as the bricks, and the lipid matrix as the mortar keeping everything together.
Issues occur when something compromises this lipid layer, and disrupts the lipid matrix (or mortar). Your skin barrier (or skin barrier function as it’s sometimes called) is hard-working – it keeps hydration inside your skin, keeps your skin soft and firm, and keeps harmful bacteria out, as well as protecting us from the external stresses which your skin is subjected to. Your skin barrier can become compromised easily become without the correct care, particularly during the winter months. When this happens, your skin can appear dry, irritated, and even become prone to breakouts.
What Affects Skin Barrier?
You can be born with an impaired skin barrier. If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis or even rosacea, then maintaining your skin barrier is probably something that you’re familiar with. However skin barrier disruptions can happen to anyone, at any point in their life (very ominous for a Thursday, but don’t worry, we’ll be giving solutions out in a bit).
Environmental factors can affect your skin barrier – in the winter, hot and cold air can strip your skin barrier and dehydrate your skin, and pollution can play havoc with it too. Smoking can also impair your skin barrier by introducing more free radicals into your body, and even stress can have an effect on it. As we age, our skin barrier function also weakens naturally. Over-exfoliation and the use of harsh products also have their part to play if you’re having skin barrier issues.
An impaired skin barrier can sometimes be the cause of an unexplained breakout or redness in the skin – but there is plenty which can be done to repair it – enter our friend, the good fat.
Skin Good Fats
Just like your body, your skin needs good fats. Now, mashing avocados onto our faces doesn’t sound like the most holistic Sunday night plan, so we prefer to use products which are specially formulated to provide our skin with the good fats that it needs.
Skingredients Skin Good Fats is part of the Mix + Match range of Skingredients. It’s a balm which contains good fats, and works to replenish the essential fatty acids of the skin, and bring balance back to your skin. It’s ideal for any hoomans who wish to use a moisturiser, and contains plenty of delish rockstar ingredients which will nourish your skin barrier.
It feels rich on the skin, and is ideal for anyone suffering from dry, dehydrated or irritated skin. It’s also well-loved by mature skin in need of hydration- however, it’s not ideal for those with congestion-prone skin, as it can lead to breakouts.
Its rockstar ingredients which provide good fats for your skin include shea butter glycerides. These have all the moisturising benefits of shea butter but are no comedogenic. They are soothing, healing, and contain a food source of fatty acids as well as helping to nourish your skin’s barrier.
It also contains grapeseed oil, which contains vitamin E, and omega-3. Vitamin E helps to combat free radicals, and the good fats come in through omega-3. This essential fatty acid is also useful in strengthening your skin’s barrier, and can help to reduce inflammation.
For a triple whammy, Skin Good Fats also contains Ceramide NP. When it comes to good fats, Skin Good Fats is (unsurprisingly) crammed with them, as it’s intent on working to strengthen or help to repair your skin’s barrier. To this end, it’s got ceramide NP in it – but what are ceramides?
Ceramides are the lipid or fat molecules which help the skin to retain moisture. Your skin naturally produces ceramides, which are part of that lipid matrix we were talking about earlier. If you suffer from rosacea or even acne, then your ceramide level is not as high as it should be. Without enough ceramides in your skin, hydration can evaporate through your skin by the process of TEWL (transepidermal water loss), which is not good news for keeping your skin plump and hydrated and able to deal with winter life.
As we age, ceramide levels also lower in your skin, and oil production slows. This means that our skin gets drier, and so topical application of good fats can be helpful to top this up, and help to reduce any irritation as well as the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Ceramide NP is one of the rockstar ingredients in Skin Good Fats. It is one of the ceramides which naturally occurs in the lipid layers of your skin. These small-size lipid molecules can help to improve the functionality of the skin’s barrier, and when used in moisturisers, they can help to improve the look and feel of skin too.
Ceramides can help to hold your skin cells together by improving the functionality of the lipid layer, and reducing TEWL, which is good news for skin looking to keep as hydrated as possible.
Natural oils can be another good way to apply good fats to yours skin, although they might not contain all the good stuff needed to support your lipid matrix – but if you choose the correct one for your skin’s own needs or concerns, they can be a really useful step in your routine. We don’t mean essential oils, such as lavender, for example – we mean hydrating oils from botanical sources. We find that natural oils are best when used as a rockstar ingredient in a product, and support the formulation and purpose of the individual product.
If you have skin that is acne-prone, you can still use oils, but you should make sure that the oils which you choose are non-comedogenic.
Sunflower Seed Oil is used in Skingredients Skin Protein, and is a bit of a botanical heavyweight. It’s rich in vitamin E, which provides antioxidant protection as well as helping to protect collagen and elastin production in your skin.
The Grapeseed Oil in Skin Good Fats is also non-comedogenic among its other benefits – and containing vitamin E and omega-3 is a nice benefit too!
Omegas are an essential fatty acid. We produce a lot of these essential fatty acids in our own body, but some, we have to get through supplementation or diet. Omegas 3 and 6 two of these kind. Omegas are handily available in supplement form. Omega 3 is a vital part of your lipid matrix, and therefore upping your intake can also help to protect your skin barrier. They are also amazing hydrators and can protect you from sun damage too!
Our skin barrier is doing its thing all day, everyday, so we have to be understanding when it needs a bit of a break, particularly as the seasons change. Keeping your skin barrier healthy is often the first step in getting to the bottom of your skincare concerns, and sorting them out from their source.
Does Oily Skin Need Fats?
All skin needs good fats! Dry skin tends to need more, as it doesn’t produce enough naturally, and usually has an impaired skin barrier. Dry skin needs topical application in order to replace what it lacks. Oily skin needs good fats to maintain the correct level, rather than address a deficit.
Skin loves fats – and it needs it, too! Keeping up a strong skin barrier or repairing a barrier which might not be as healthy or hardy as it could be is vitally important in maintaining healthy skin. Our skin barrier can be a bit delicate – particularly during the winter months, when weather and environment conspire to strip that barrier and have us feeling a little bit raw. Skingredients Skin Good Fats replenishes that skin barrier and helps to soothe irritated skin – a perfect example of small, but mighty.