Inside the Skin Barrier

This website is devoted to the permeability barrier - the most critical, life-enabling function of skin. By preventing loss of water from the skin's surface, the barrier preserves the body's internal milieu against dessication in a dry environment.

Dermatologists, Sun Bathing and Eczema

Dermatologists can be accused of having contradictory attitudes towards sun exposure. On the one hand, to prevent skin cancer we routinely advise against sun bathing, but on the other, we often treat common skin disorders like eczema ("atopic dermatitis") or psoriasis with ultraviolet (UV) light.  Now there is even reason to think that too little exposure to sunlight may be why allergic diseases, like atopic dermatitis, have become so much more common in recent years.  What is going on with … [Read more...]

Black Skin Is Better

This proposition - that black skin is better skin - is not a political statement. Rather, it is based upon scientific observations. Darkly pigmented skin is functionally superior to lighter colored skin in several ways. Our purpose here is give our readers a scientific perspective to a socially fraught question. And to acquaint our readers with some of the most important functions of skin that are influenced by skin color. Some of the benefits of skin color are obvious and widely … [Read more...]

What Is The Skin Barrier, And Why Does It Matter?

The skin barrier is like a brick wall. The cells or "bricks" are surrounded by fat (lipids) or "mortar". Credit: Mary L. Williams Why Have A Skin Barrier? Our skin barrier is what stands between us and the outside world. But the skin barrier is more than a mere fence or line drawn in the sand to separate "inside" from "outside", or "here" from "over there". Our skin barrier protects from many different types of threats to our well-being. We probably think of these primarily as perils coming … [Read more...]

Scaly Skin and The Barrier

In another post, we consider how a group of inherited skin conditions in which most or all of the body is covered with scales have helped us to understand the how skin sheds its outermost cells. Because visible scales are such a prominent feature, it is not surprising that this family of skin disorders, called ichthyosis, have taught us a great deal about the process of desquamation. But it was not anticipated that they could also teach us about the permeability barrier – that is, skin's ability … [Read more...]

About Dry Skin

Almost any one may experience may experience dry skin (or ‘xerosis’) at some point in time. For example, one’s skin can feel a bit dry when the relative humidity remains low for weeks on end, as it does in our indoor heated climate during the long winter months in places like Chicago or Winnipeg, or if one soaks in a hot bath too often or too long.  Then too, almost everyone’s skin will dry out somewhat as they age. And our skin often may feel a bit dry, if we are among the many adults who take … [Read more...]

Copyright © 2013 Elias and Williams

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. Use of this website is not intended to substitute for professional medical judgment or advice. This website does not provide medical advice and nothing contained herein is intended to constitute professional advice for medical diagnosis or treatment.You should always consult a doctor regarding any skin care or medical problems or conditions. See our Terms of Use.