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How to protect your skin barrier and microbiome

What is the Skin Barrier?

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin, the stratum corneum of our epidermis. It protects the skin, providing our first line of defence against infection and harmful bacteria.

It maintains effective natural exfoliation through shedding, to remove old skin cells while also binding moisture to the fresh, healthy cells skin to keep the skin hydrated.

However, this natural barrier can easily be damaged by external factors such as cosmetic ingredients, the sun and pollution. It’s also thought to be impacted by lifestyle elements - such as stress and lack of sleep.

When the barrier becomes damaged it allows water to escape, resulting in skin dehydration. This can also lead to inflammation and itching. Once the barrier is damaged to this extent it can be hard to maintain, and will be in need of repair.

What is the Skin Microbiome?

The microbiome is the unique combination of natural ‘good’ bacteria which live on the skin barrier and thrive on the slightly acidic, moisture-rich environment. These bacteria not only work to keep our skin barrier healthy, but are also thought to help provide our immune response.

The microbiome supports the skin barrier and vice versa. If the barrier becomes too dry or alkaline, the microbiome can’t thrive and if the microbiome isn’t thriving then the barrier becomes more prone to damage.

This can become a vicious cycle resulting in dry, sensitive, damaged skin. We therefore recommend taking care of both the skin barrier and the microbiome so that they can work effectively to support each other.

Protect your skin microbiome

Westlab Dead Sea Bath Salts have been independently tested and certified as biome-friendly. This means they won’t disrupt the skin’s natural microbiome.  

100% natural Dead Sea salt is made of a unique combination of skin-friendly minerals which not only support the microbiome, but actually help it to thrive as they have been found to help improve skin hydration and moisture levels.

Dead Sea salt has been found to help improve skin barrier function and hydration.

This has been tested by comparing the difference in tap water and using water containing Dead Sea Salt in a study by Proksch E et al[1].

The study showed that skin exposed to Dead Sea Salt had enhanced hydration when treated with the Dead Sea Salt. The roughness and redness of the skin were used as a markers for inflammation and there was a significant reduction in redness and roughness after bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution.

This study concluded that bathing in the salt solution was well tolerated, improved skin barrier function, enhanced stratum corneum hydration, and reduced skin roughness and inflammation.

We asked 67 people with dry, itchy or eczema / psoriasis prone skin to try Westlab Dead Sea Salts…here are the results:

  • 88% said their skin felt softer than usual.
  • 82% noticed that their skin felt less dry or itchy than usual
  • 83% of Eczema / Psoriasis sufferers felt a noticeable improvement in their skin.
  • 70% felt more confident about their skin’s appearance.
  • 83% felt the results were noticeably better than other products they had tried. 

Be gentle to your skin barrier 

You can be using all the Dead Sea Salt in the world, but if you’re stripping your skin and disrupting the skin barrier when you wash or soak, then you could be fighting a losing battle. 

Many shower gels and bubble baths contain SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulphate) or SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate. These are inexpensive chemical ingredients which create a great lather, but can wreak havoc with your natural skin barrier as they are known skin irritants. Drying and stripping to the skin, they are best avoided if you suffer with Eczema and Psoriasis as they can leave you feeling dry, tight and itchy.

One of the biggest challenges we used to have was helping our customers find gentle, affordable wash products which they could use alongside our natural bath salts, which didn’t strip the skin.

We therefore created our own bath & shower gels - Dead Sea bath and shower gel.

Like the name says, it’s dual-use means it can also be used as a bubble bath for Eczema and Psoriasis-prone skin and alongside your Dead Sea Salts for a more pampering bath. We made it our mission to make the best eczema shower gel possible, while ensuring it was affordable and suitable for the whole family.

We opted for a gentle lathering agent which is derived from coconut oil. Non-irritating and so gentle that it can be used on babies, children and skin prone to eczema, this lathering agent still gives a lovely foam in your bath or shower, so you don’t feel you have to compromise.

Westlab Dead Sea bath & Shower gel is totally free from SLS/SLES and contains 97% naturally derived ingredients. However, natural doesn’t always mean gentle, so we also had it developed to be dermatologically tested and approved for sensitive skin. 

Protecting your skin’s natural barrier reduces the need to moisturise your skin, so you’ll be able to reduce the amount of products you use too. 

Make the change and feel the difference.

Try using Dead Sea Bath Salts alongside our Dead Sea Bath & Shower Gel and see if you can feel the difference in your skin after 30 days. These award-winning, clinically proven natural products can leave skin feeling ofter, smoother, calmer and more comfortable.

[1] Proksch E, Nissen HP, Bremgartner M, Urquhart C Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology [2005, 44(2):151-157]