Skin immunity refers to the health of the skin barrier, also known as the epidermal barrier.
• To maintain its water balance (1)
• To reduce the effects of UV rays on the skin by producing melanin (1)
• To help produce vitamin D from the sunlight (1)
Skin immunity is an upcoming trend that follows Covid-19. During the pandemic, consumers have been looking for products related to health protection and illness prevention. Tamara Sender from Mintel mentioned that 27% of consumers have purchased products with anti-viral benefits since the start of the pandemic (2). The pandemic has heightened stress, lack of sleep, depressive fatigue, and exposure to blue light, which all affect the skin’s health. Consumers’ interests have shifted from taking care of the skin’s appearance to supporting the skin’s health below the surface; and this is where wellness and skincare are converging to skin immunity. (3)
When the skin cannot perform its usual functions, the barrier is compromised. The skin may experience water loss, inability to self-repair, loss of elasticity and other signs of stress leading to skin inflammation and inflammaging.
Inflammaging is skin inflammation that leads to skin ageing. It is caused by increased stress that damages the skin’s barrier, leaving the skin susceptible to irritation by daily aggressors such as free radicals (unstable atoms) and UV rays. These can degrade collagen and elastin in the dermis, leading to the inflammation and weakening of the skin barrier. Inflammaging can cause itchy, dry, and rough skin. Skin immunity-boosting products can help rebalance skin barrier for healthier looking skin. (3)
Some ingredients help improve the skin barrier function:
• Fatty acid supplements such as omega-3 oil can help sensitive skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. (4)
• Vitamins help the growth and activity of cells and are a source of micronutrients that support the skins barrier. For example, Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help protect and prevent damage to the skin barrier caused by free radicals. (5)
• Superfoods such as pomegranate and elderberry have started to become popular as they contain antioxidants and vitamins, and have anti-inflammatory properties. (5)
• Electrolytes are another ingredient that could help strengthen the skin barrier as they replenish skin and hydrate the skin moisture barrier. (5)
Immunocosmetics are preventative wellness products that support the immune system and consider the skin, mind, body, and immune system as one (3). Preventing signs of inflammaging requires a combination of micronutrients and immune friendly ingredients, these will be key ingredients for immunocosmetics (3). Micronutrients are included in the categories above and are key for a healthy functional immune system. Additional micronutrients which are important include: vitamins A, D, B6 & B3, probiotics and prebiotics, adaptogens and ceramides which play important roles in the process of preventing inflammaging. (3)