These lipids form layers around and in between skin cells, creating a barrier that keeps natural moisture intact and prevents it from escaping. Without lipids to support collagen, matrix skin tends to give notice to fine lines and wrinkles and becomes thin and dry. As the lipid layer becomes thinner, the result is sagging skin. The stratum corneum is composed of dead skin cells that are held together by lipids and provide an environmental protection barrier that shields clients against the elements.
Lipid Barrier Damage
Lipid barrier damage occurs on a daily basis, so maintaining an effective barrier requires continuous use of lipids on the skin topically and, most importantly, systemically in what clients eat. In addition to maintaining the integrity of the lipid barrier, oils inhibit peroxidative and oxidative damage, or wrinkles. Upon contact with light, lipids undergo peroxidation. As these peroxidized lipids lose their barrier ability, gaps occur in the lipid matrix resulting in a loss of skin resilience and the formation of wrinkles. In order to manage signs of aging, it is key to build, rebuild, and support lipids.
Lipid Layer Versus Collagen Matrix
Skin care professionals often hear and read about is anti-aging skin care that supports the collagen matrix – collagen, elastin, and reticulin. However, the lipid layer, underlying the matrix and imperative to moisturized skin, is the foundation that supports the collagen matrix. Without lipid rebuilding and reinforcement, the effect is short-term and non-sustaining for substantial change.
For ease of understanding, imagine a beautiful, historic building with an exterior that is intricate – this building is the client. On the surface or exterior of the building, cracks are beginning to form in the mortar between bricks because the shale is dry and concrete
This building’s cracks and lines represent fine lines and winkles. These cracks can be patched and filled with mortar, and more concrete can be applied. This building can be resurfaced. For the client’s skin, anti-aging skin treatments can be applied to support, renew and replenish, and moisturize, in order to temporarily rectify sagging skin. Prevention for the building would include regular maintenance of the building, so that damage does not occur as dramatically or as quickly. Prevention in skin care starts in the client’s mid-20s and includes moisturizing and protecting the skin with a SPF of 20 or 30. Fixes and application can occur every day, or in the case of the building, when necessary. However, if the underlying foundation is unstable and breaking down, cracks or lines will reappear. It is only when the foundation is rebuilt and stabilized that the topical or surface repairs can be sustainable and make a significant impact. This idea also holds true when caring for the client’s skin. Rebuilding and managing the lipid layer is essential for youthful, glowing skin without lines, wrinkles, or substantial thinning.
In topical care, clients should seek products that address rebuilding the collagen matrix with not only ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and argirelne (tri-hexapeptides), but also with ingredients in serum or oil form that rebuild and support the lipid layer. Clients should also reinforce these ingredients with food. These ingredients include, but are not limited to, special oil blends formulated with ingredients proven to mimic human lipids, namely, epidermal growth factor, sebaceous oils correlating to the human physiology, natural collagen, keratin, argan, borage oil, and cucumber extract. Ken Simpson, founder of Skin 2 Skin™ Care and master formulator of a lipid serum/treatment, states, “Once a day, preferably at night, is sufficient to support the lipid balance (layer) as the skin is not being attacked by environmental elements, so free radical damage is minimized and skin can be renewed as you rest. Follow with a well- respected, scientific care without harmful ingredients to replenish.” Key ingredients are: Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Glycerin (SYN-COLL, peptide), Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-6 Diaminohydroxybutyrate ( SYN-TACKS, peptide), Camellia Sinensis (green tea) Stem Cell Leaf Extract (Called the Fountain of Youth Plant Stem Cell), S2S Aloe Barbadensis (aloe vera) Leaf Juice (with certified organic aloe vera leaf extract), and vitamin E.
Lipid Supporting Diet
Diet must also support the lipids, otherwise the foundation will crack and fall from above, regardless of the topical. One must be cautious to avoid parabens and toxins to ensure that concentration is from natural ingredients with clinical evidence to support claims. Lipid-supporting foods include organic fat sources such as avocado, fish, omega 3, 6, and 9, vegan-based fat, healthy animal fat like lamb or ostrich, feta cheese, nuts, olives, anchovies, mackerel, sardine, beets, and so on. This should be followed by a daily skin care regimen that includes exfoliation.
Once a keratinocyte leaves the basal layer, it begins the process of cell differentiation known as keratinization. During keratinization, keratinocytes undergo several changes that result in the synthesis of unique structural proteins, especially keratin, and the secretion of a variety of specialized lipids that will comprise key components of the epidermal barrier. These cells also undergo a process known as cornification in which synthesized proteins are assembled in an envelope just inside the cell membrane.
At the end of this process, the large protein-laden cells, now known as corneocytes, lose their nuclei and other cellular organelles. Thus, there is little metabolic activity present in the outer layers of the skin.
The stratum corneum interacts with the outside environment. Lipids secreted by cells during the keratinization process are now assembled with extracellular proteins into a protective layer. This barrier is often likened to brick and mortar, or the exterior – what we see of the epidermal layer. Natural moisture is essential as there is a requirement to replenish and rebuild lipids with topicals that act on the lipids and foods that support needs to renew. Once lipids are reinforced, the moisture level is regulated. Anti-aging moisturizers and topical care are just as important as prevention. Results are rarely instant, so patience is a necessity.
To combat the lipid issue, good skin health maintenance, a combination of eating well, topically applying skin care products that are free of toxins and have collagen-supporting ingredients, and treating with an oil that supports and rebuilds lipids, is key. Advise clients to seek the science and results will be achieved one day at a time.