Skin that is compromised is a very little talked about thing in the beauty world. Which confuses me, because compromised skin causes about 80% of the the problems the big box retailers say their bottle of $150 magic serum is going to fix.
Compromised skin is actually a very common issue, and most people that have it, don't realize they do. To get you better acquainted with the largest organ of your body, known as your outer self, sit down and strap in for a little biology lesson.
Your skin is made up of many layers. It's purpose is to protect you. It is actually part of your immune system. It helps keeps bad things (pathogens) out and good things (nutrients and water) in. It helps regulate some of your body's survival techniques, such as temperature control. You literally cannot survive without it.
Those many layers of skin cells are protected by a layer of excretions called the acid mantle. Think of this as the soft blanket that keeps your skin cozy. It is made up of your body's oil (sebum), dead skin cells, and your skin's microbiome. A microbiome you might have heard about in relation to your gut, but you may not be aware that your skin has a microbiome too. Even your brain does. It is made up of bacteria, yeast, and other things you might consider to be bad. But bad is relative to balance. Your skin needs bacteria on it. It is the balance that is the most important thing. If your skin's microbiome becomes out of balance, your skin will not be able to function properly and will become compromised.
So compromised means it cannot function properly. It can't keep water and nutrients in. It can't keep pathogens out.
There are many conditions that can occur from compromised skin, and not always the ones you would think of automatically. I want to give you a list of what to look out for since this is the most common problem I see in my treatment room in one way or another.
Redness. Any type of consistent redness is a sign of compromised skin. Now if your skin flushes easily or your capillaries just sit very close to the surface, this is different. Flushing will come up and go down quickly. Your capillaries will show as tiny little lines. The redness I'm talking about here is a persistent redness that seems to always be there no matter what you do. It typically shows up on your cheeks or close to your nose first. This is a tell-tale sign of skin that is irritated and does not have the proper nutrients in it. It can be cause by over-cleansing, using cleansers that are too harsh, using other products that are too harsh, and over-exfoliating. Remember, squeaky clean is not a good thing. Squeaky clean means your barrier is all gone and your skin is having to continually produce more oil. Squeaky clean means that you have stripped your skin of all the bacteria, even the good stuff that keeps the pathogens from over-multiplying. A stripped skin means that it's now a game of who can grow fastest, the good bacteria or the bad bacteria. And sorry, but your skin is not a Disney movie. The good guys don't always win.
Unresponsive skin. If you've tried treatment after treatment to try and manage the signs of age in your skin or your acne, and just haven't seen any real results, it's likely that your skin is compromised. Think of compromised skin as skin that is sick. It's trying to heal, but no one's bringing it chicken noodle soup or hot lemon tea. Instead it just keeps getting yelled at to buck up and pull up its big girl panties. And it just can't. It truly does not have the food to get better. Unresponsive skin is usually caused by an improper skin diet or a gut imbalance.
Sensitized. There's a difference between sensitive skin and sensitized skin. You could have one. You could have both. Sensitive skin is reactive skin. It's always been this way. It tends to flush very easily. It gets hot easily. It doesn't like manual manipulations, like scrubs. Sensitized skin is skin that has been exposed to an irritant long enough that it now reacts to anything it deems similar to that irritant. Sensitized skin has been trying to tell you it doesn't like touching something for a very long time and you've ignored it and now its lost its patience. This is most commonly caused by exposure to dyes and fragrances, but it really could be anything. This type of skin needs to go through a thorough detox.
Sluggish. This condition looks tired and dull. The texture may be very rough from an inability to properly slough off dead skin cells. You may notice heavy dark circles under your eyes or in extreme cases, a slight yellowish tint to your skin. This skin is devoid of nutrients and water. It can be caused by lack of a proper diet, long term dehydration, or a problem in the liver.
Acne. Acne is an inflammatory response. Small, irregular pimples isn't necessarily an indicatory of compromised skin, but pustules and cysts that cover a portion of your skin are. Acne is usually caused by a gut or hormone imbalance.
If you do have skin that is compromised, then that's the first thing we'll treat. Skin won't be able to have radiance or be able to heal itself properly without being healthy and strong. When it is able to function properly, the skin can actually correct a lot of its conditions without invasive treatments.
If you think you might have compromised skin, come in for a computerized analysis. This will gauge the possible inflammation in your skin, if the water and oil levels in your skin are balanced, if your cell turnover is functioning properly, and if the underlying structure is strong. You can see what openings work for you here.