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Why Your Skin Barrier Is Important

It turns out having ‘thick skin’ is not only good for your emotional well-being but also plays a big part in your skin health as well.

skin barrier

So lemme ask you, how is your skin barrier doing? If you don't know how to answer that question, fret not, you're not alone!  

An easy way to think about the health of your skin barrier is to imagine a brick wall. A soundly built brick wall will be stacked and packed with mortar so the structure won't budge. Despite rough elements: wind, rain, hail and even pollution, nothing can penetrate the wall.

But what if the bricks start to crack or if there isn't enough mortar to go around? Eventually, it will start to decay, debris will enter, and inevitable the structure will crumble. 

Well, guess what? The structure of your skin is like a brick wall.

The uppermost layer of your skin, your skin barrier (aka your stratum corneum) is your first line of defense against bacteria and environmental stressors like harmful UV rays, pollution, and toxins. When weakened, it’s easier for irritants to infiltrate and causes your skin to be more prone to sensitivity.

This resilient layer of your skin also happens to have a light film on top of it known as your acid mantle which is made of natural oils and sweat which sounds like no big deal BUT it also consists of proteins and molecules that your skin uses for defense, like UV-absorbers, inflammatory mediators, and antimicrobial peptides.

That's a lot to digest but your takeaway from this is that this outer protective film is critical for its ability to protect your skin and body within from the outside world. 

When everything is going well, your skin barrier works effectively (hello plump and dewy skin) and contains the right amount of lipids that make your skin look healthy and well moisturized.

However, if the skin barrier gets damaged, it becomes easier for skin to experience irritation. Dry patches, redness or breakouts along with flaking or a 'tightness' in the skin are all signs that your skin is having difficulty. 

External stressors like pollution and smog can play a role along with stress, alcohol and just the natural process of aging, but in many cases, you are just using products that are way too harsh for your skin.

Piling on more products can do more harm than good if you’re not looking carefully at the ingredient list. Here's what to look out for and what to avoid. 

Ingredients to Avoid

The next time you’re shopping for personal care products make sure to look out for common irritants like benzoyl peroxide, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate is a common culprit in cleansers), synthetic fragrances and dyes.

SLS, in particular, can have an alkalizing effect on the skin, throwing off your skin’s pH balance which makes your skin more susceptible to bacteria and infections. 

Stay away from acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid until your skin barrier repairs itself. Cleansing is an important step in your skincare regimen but using something gentle is key. Our Face Foam uses apple cider vinegar and white willow bark to gently cleanse the face without stripping away natural oils. 

Ingredients to Look For 

The good news is it’s possible to strengthen your skin barrier and get your skin glowing again with just a few changes. Search for products heavy with antioxidants like our Berry Rich Cream uses blueberry and raspberry oil. and does a great job of repairing your skin.

Certain plant oils also help to increase your lipid count, so your skin barrier is able to retain water better (The result? More radiant looking skin). We use sunflower oil in many of our products and avocado oil in our Green Cream.

Jojoba oil is especially good for those with red or damaged skin. It’s a proven anti-inflammatory and has a high concentration of wax esters that help repair weakened skin barrier. You can find jojoba oil in our Putty, a soothing lotion for red prone and/or dry skin.

Other great ingredients like hyaluronic acid keep moisture locked in, your skin looking 'plump' and encourages collagen synthesis. You can find this in our latest product Moon Serum. This anti-aging serum also includes a botanical collagen to reverse the signs of aging. As we age, our collagen production slows and breaks down so this is the ultimate skin barrier repair product!

Along with loading your beauty regimen with skin-benefiting superfood ingredients, make sure to take preventative measures with your skin health. If you are going to be out in the sun, look for products with sun protective oils and minerals. Remember that even on a cloudy day when it's not hot and sunny, your skin is still susceptible to damage from UVA and UVB.

Our Elements is a daily defense moisturizer that contains non-nano zinc to protect you from harmful UVA/UVB rays. If you are wearing make up, apply sunscreen beforehand or use a product that contains sun protective oils like Face Glow that can double as a tinted moisturizer for sheer looking coverage.

Using the right mix of products will help keep your skin barrier strong and your face glowing.  

#GlowWithGraydon Product Launch!

Thank you to everyone who came to our media launch for Face Foam and Face Glow at The Cure Apothecary last night! Here's a look at our set up before we packed the place!

Special thanks to ELXR Juicelab and Yongehurst Distillery for keeping us cool and refreshed last night!

the cure apothecary graydon skincare

the cure apothecary graydon skincare

the cure apothecary graydon skincare

the cure apothecary graydon skincare

the cure apothecary graydon skincare

Time for Me to Come Clean on a Few of my Regrets

graydon face foam
Given what I do for a living, you'd think I would have made good choices with my skin from the get-go, but no, I've made lots of big mistakes, and it's taken me years to get my health and my face back in shape! Here are just a few highlights of what I did wrong!

Back in the 80's there was not much awareness about protecting your skin from the sun, and even less about staying away from toxic chemicals. That said, I greatly regret over-sunning myself the summer I spent in Nice, taking Grade 13 French. I got a few burns and an allergic reaction from acne meds, and have since then have spent considerable time (and money) working on reversing the latent sunspots I developed on my chest and face. I would have never had these issues if I had used a good zinc-based protective moisturizer, worn a broad rimmed hat and just sat under an umbrella.
 
Inspired by an article from Seventeen Magazine featuring Molly Ringwald, I mistakenly learned it was an apparently good idea to air-dry my face after washing it every night. Coupled with a hefty dose of Ten-O-Six from Bonne Bell (some of you will remember this dastardly potion!), this unfortunate habit left my face so dry and devoid of moisture that I totally hi-jinked my normal flow of oil production which resulted in my glands over compensating with a super oily skin t-zone.   
 
I have not used a toner since I was a young teenager when I didn’t know better. T
he only reason I did use that nasty Bonne Bell 10-0-6 astringent was because it gave me some kind of sadistic pleasure to see how much dirt there was on the cotton pad, until the day I realized that it was actually stripping my skin. 
 
For sure times and products have changed, but still there is a part of
that doesn't *ever* want a toner in my skincare regimen again, which is exactly why I created our Face Food which so gently mists and tones your skin, hydrating while it works to balance your pH, relieve inflammation and oxidative stress.
​ ​
Back to the regrets, I also have to admit I used to pick at my skin. I thought I knew what I was doing but I caused much more harm than good because hacking away at my face resulted in scarring that lingered much longer than the actual pimples would have.

The silver lining out of this vicious cycle was that I eventually learned to make better choices for myself in my 20's. Having grown up on diet of staples like bologna sandwiches, 'cheese' slices, dill pickle chips, Tang and oreos, I finally went off the pill and began fueling myself with unrefined carbs, lots of veggies, plant-based protein and healthy desserts which inspired me to start a macrobiotic home delivery business when I lived in LA during the 90's.

A commitment to these dietary choices eventually got my health and face back-on-track, and that's when I started to discover that there were a ton of great ingredients in my kitchen I could use on my skin. It was before the days of cell phones so regrettably, I have no photos to share of my first batch of skincare creations, like when I whipped up a batch of cream (which eventually morphed into The Putty) with my hand blender. My roommate came into our little Santa Monica kitchen, stuck her finger in the bowl b'cuz she thought it was a bowl full of (vegan) custard. Lol, the taste was not what she expected!

So enough reminiscing of the first 25 years of my life! It's taken me almost another 25 to get where we are today and it's been worth every road block and challenge we've had along the way. 

Some products have been easier than others for us to produce, and one of the areas we've struggled with is producing high-quality soap that's good for both your skin and the environment. Though our Aloe Milk Cleanser is our best selling product, we've also had a bazillion requests for a foam cleanser!

And as such, I'm super jazzed to present a brand new product that I'm pretty sure you and your face are going to adore so I'm thrilled to introduce you to our newest addition to the Graydon family called Face Foam - a super sensitive, totally unscented, creamy feeling foam cleanser infused with a bevy of great actives to smooth and tone your skin. 

Light but effective, it won't strip your skin or mess with the delicate acid mantle which protects your face. Seriously, it works with every skin type I've ever met, and that's a whole lot! My fave time to use it is when I get up in the morning in the shower. And it's now a permanent fixture in my overnight/gym bag. 

Just like the food I like to eat, it has great plant-powered ingredients like:

  • Bamboo which is rich in silica and helps give you silky smooth skin!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar that's known for its anti-microbial qualities and ability to remove product buildup
  • White Willow Bark, a natural source of BHA which helps to gently re-surface skin
Give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. And remember, feed your skin with ultra pure plant-powered ingredients. Your skin will thank you.
 
Graydon xo
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