Our skin has a natural barrier that prevents it from losing too much moisture. This barrier is made up of both the horny cells and:
- a thin film of grease on the skin. This alleviates the harmful influence of water on the skin;
- the structural lipids rich in linoleic acid which are located between and flexibly link the corneocytes;
- natural moisture factors which help stabilise the skin’s moisture content.
A protective wall structure is formed together with the corneocytes which leaves no chance for bacteria or other harmful substances to penetrate your skin.
If, however, the structural lipids and moisture retention factors are stripped away due to frequent bathing, showering or swimming, or are no longer produced in sufficient amounts, such as with ageing or dermatitis, the corneocytes separate from one another, creating gaps in the skin’s protective barrier. Whether due to internal or external causes, the result is the same – dry, flaky, rough skin that is susceptible to inflammation, pruritus and eczema.
To protect the skin against barrier breakdowns and the depletion of its moisture and natural oils, constant replenishment of lipids and other essential components of healthy skin is vital. Linoleic acid is particularly significant in this aspect. The body cannot produce linoleic acid on its own – like a vitamin it must be taken in on a regular basis to maintain healthy skin.