Selecting Barrier Repair Solutions

Each specific skin condition has it’s own unique characteristics, which are represented by very specific barrier abnormalities and immune response defects. And even though some skin conditions can have significant overlap (atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis), each is still slightly different.

Nonetheless, using formulations that respect or potentially enhance the skin barrier is likely to produce more lasting results then focusing on immediate symptoms removal (such as simple usage of corticosteroids). This is because if the skin barrier is healthy, pathogens and foreign matter should not be able to pass deeper into the skin where they can cause immune activation.

Essential of All Barrier Repair Formulations

Most barrier repair solutions are primarily composed of fatty acids (oils), ceramides, cholesterol (optimal ratio of which depends on specific barrier abnormalities) [pubby id=“8618046”]. Here are a few tips to consider when looking through viable solutions:

  • Fully occlusive solutions can help prevent transepidermal water loss, but are not recommended as they slow epidermal maturation and barrier repair
  • Semiocclusive solutions can help prevent transepidermal water loss, but do not interfere with barrier repair
  • Physological lipids (such as linoleic acid) are preferred as they are incorporated deeper into the skin and may result in more gradual, but better sustained improvements [pubby id="20620762"]
  • Nonphysiologic lipids (such petrolatum jelly) can produce quick results, but are not preferred as their effectiveness is only limited to the top later of skin [pubby id="11493102,21779416"]

Some Specifics for Seborrheic Dermatitis Prone Skin

Given the depth of potential solutions, testing different formulations can be useful. However, the sheer number of options can be daunting. Below are few tips which can help you reduce the time you spend searching.

  • There is no reference in any medical literature to the avoidance of oil based formulations in the management of seborrheic dermatitis
  • Studies investigate the sebum of seborrheic dermatitis affected individuals actually show decreased lipid availability in the sebum
  • Avoidance of oleic acid rich formulations may be warranted, as released free fatty acids may trigger symptoms
  • Slightly acidic formulations (pH below 5.5) may be useful in jump-starting the natural barrier repair process

General Tips for Testing Formulations

  • Spot testing on smaller areas of skin is always recommended to see how your skin responds
  • You can obtain a variety of free product samples in most pharmacies, clinics and dermatologist offices
  • The cost of something does not always relate to it's effectiveness