Keratin: Why We Should Care a Ton

What Did I Learn in Science Class?

I remember learning in science class that our largest organ is skin. I even remember learning about a few layers and coloring and labeling a drawing. What I don't remember is learning how many layers there are, how each one has a specific purpose, and how important each function is to the health of our bodies!  

Sorry, Mr. Milburn. I promise I only fell asleep once in science class, and that beaker of water you poured on my head woke me up right away, so I don't think I missed much.

Your Skin May Be More Interesting Than You Think

The outermost layer of the skin, also called the epidermis, is the body's main barrier to the environment. When the stratus corneum is working to its full potential, it is our first line of defense against bacteria, toxins, and even dehydration. It offers protection to the layers below. 

I've heard the stratus corneum described by dermatologists as a brick wall. The corneocytes are the bricks and the desmosomes are the mortar. Corneocytes, or building blocks, are composed of keratin, the protein found in our nails, hair, horns, hooves, feathers, calluses, and claws. I might have gotten a little carried away with non-human body parts, but everything listed is made from keratin, so it’s both relevant and fascinating! These corneocytes are short-lived and designed to shed at the rate of approximately a layer each day. For the stratum corneum, this is considered healthy. For those of us who dust the house, this is considered a losing battle. 

The desmosomes, or mortar, are composed of lipids that form a barrier by filling in the spaces between the corneocytes. The barrier protects the layers below from toxins and bacteria. (Is the brick and mortar imagery becoming clearer now?)

The Threat of Hand Washing

Just when I'm beginning to appreciate the heroism of my very own stratus corneum and singing the song "Brickhouse" in my head (whether it applies to lesson or not), I learn that we practice a very good habit that poses one of the greatest threats: hand washing. 

But hold on—don't go off on me just yet. Of course, we should wash our hands! Washing with soap and water removes harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can lead to infection. How many times have we heard that lately? So, when is something so good so bad? (Don't get me started on chocolate!) Soap contains surfactants that, along with getting rid of dirt and germs, weaken the barrier and allow loss of water through the skin. I never thought soap would be my hero's kryptonite. Never fear! Moisturizers are here!  

There are three main types of moisturizers that act as perfect sidekicks:

  • Humectant
  • Emollient
  • Occlusive

I'm be going into more depth on those topics in later blogs, so can quench your thirst for more moisturizing knowledge (that might be funny later). For now, you can read more about the moisturizers and other ingredients that play an important role in the COMPEL formula.

If you want to experience these moisturizers for yourself, you can order your very own bottle of COMPEL!

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