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A Guide To Skincare Sealing With CBD: From Ointments To Balms

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A Guide To Skincare Sealing With CBD:  From Ointments To Balms

Sealing the skin with an occlusive is an essential step when it comes to topping off your skincare routine- with effects that range from keeping the skin soft, supple, and hydrated; to ensuring that you get the full potential of each product you use on your face. Since sealing is the last skep of a skincare routine, not only are you protecting the skin’s hydration and moisture levels, but you’re also preventing thinner serums from evaporating right off the surface of your skin. And if that doesn’t convince you to top off your skincare routine with a nice, thick occlusive, skincare experiences actually tell us that there are immeasurable effects to ensuring that your last skincare step is one that focuses on skin protection and preservation. This ranges from preserving the moisture balance of our stratum corneum, which is often subject to water-loss by evaporation, to ensuring that our lipid moisture barrier, that thin, protective layer of fatty acids and ceramides that sits under the skin, is strengthened. Since the occlusive seal will sit on the surface of the skin, it must be thick enough to serve as a physical barrier to prevent water loss. In other words, your occlusive is not unlike a second, artificial lipid moisture barrier.

What Is the Lipid Moisture Barrier?

When it comes to looking at occlusives, we can’t overlook the lipid moisture barrier- purely because the point of a sealant/occlusive is to essentially mimic the skin’s already existing, natural seal- a layer of lipids that sit on the surface of the skin and try to prevent water loss, keep irritants out, and serve as a barrier. This lipid layer, also known as a lipid barrier, lipid seal, or moisture barrier, are layers of lipids and fatty acids, either sebaceous or keratinocyte, which bind epidermal cells together on the outermost layer of your skin. Many anecdotes and stories produce the metaphor of bricks and mortar- where the skin cells are bricks, and the lipids are the mortar that holds the bricks together in a fortifying structure. 

These lipids which hold the epidermal cells together are called epidermal lipids (think: fatty acids, ceramides, and even cholesterol). Epidermal lipids offer that barrier function. They tend to affect the skin best when they’re dense and tightly packed: as we’ll see, we can infuse our skincare with fatty acids and ceramides, which can absorb into the lipid layer and help to strengthen this barrier. Typically, it’s sebaceous lipids (think: triglycerides, squalene, esters) which offer more of a ‘protect and capture’ element in the skin’s self-fortification- together, they form sebum, an oil that tends to contain impurities trapped within its sticky surface.

When a lipid moisture barrier is naturally weak or damaged (often from a range of factors, from over-exfoliating to simple genetics), small cracks appear on the surface of the lipid moisture layer. This means that the lipid layer can’t do its job correctly, allowing more moisture to escape the epidermis and more irritants to enter the skin. As a result, the skin can become over-sensitive, dry, dull, damaged, itchy, dehydrated, and worse. A damaged barrier can almost always result in dehydration, resulting in thin, fine lines, which can develop into deep grooves when left unchecked. 

Since the primary way to balance the skin’s hydration while fixing a damaged lipid moisture barrier is by hydrating and sealing the skin with an occlusive that’s thick, nourishing and teeming over with fatty acids to strengthen the natural moisture barrier, creating another artificial seal over the skin with a specialised skin-sealant is always a vital part of preserving your skin’s hydration levels. 

About MANTLE’s The Calm Balm: Ingredients to Effects

Here at MANTLE, our premium CBD-infused skincare product, The Calm Balm, is one such protective occlusive, with enough active ingredients to nutrify the skin while also providing physical protection. In other words, not only does ‘The Calm Balm’ serve to lock in hydration levels on a physical, protective level, it also provides nourishment with the specialised ingredients within it. Not just limited to its occulsifying properties, ‘The Calm Balm’ serves many different purposes- from helping to strengthen the skin’s lipid moisture barrier, to providing hydration and antioxidants and, of course, sealing the skin.

Here are some of the premium ‘hero’ ingredients we have infused within ‘The Calm Balm’:

Why CBD skincare?

The most critical ingredient within ‘The Calm Balm’, CBD, defines our brand and distinguishes our skincare line. Our CBD, also known as cannabidiol, has been picked by experts, hails from Switzerland, and grown organically, making it premium CBD- perfect to mix into a fortifying occlusive. But what truly sets CBD skincare apart, and makes it ideal as an occlusive, is its powerful properties that may result from its antioxidant content. 

Antioxidants are especially important in our skincare routines, due to their potential to fight damage-causing molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals tend to build up during average daily activity- since they tend to be rife as a result of car exhaust fumes and other such pollutants, cleaning chemicals, and even within UV rays, they’re hard to avoid. Free radicals are unstable due to having one or more unpaired electrons, making them highly reactive. These unstable molecules can easily penetrate the skin, causing damage to our skin cells by reacting with the stable, paired electrons within the molecules of our skin. When allowed to, free radicals can cause chain reactions by making the stable molecules within our skin cells unstable, turning them into free radicals. 

Antioxidants are especially important in our skincare routines, due to their potential to fight damage-causing molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals tend to build up during average daily activity- since they tend to be rife as a result of car exhaust fumes and other such pollutants, cleaning chemicals, and even within UV rays, they’re hard to avoid. Free radicals are unstable due to having one or more unpaired electrons, making them highly reactive. These unstable molecules can easily penetrate the skin, causing damage to our skin cells by reacting with the stable, paired electrons within the molecules of our skin. When allowed to, free radicals can cause chain reactions by making the stable molecules within our skin cells unstable, turning them into free radicals. 

The rampant build-up of free radicals, often gone unchecked without enough antioxidants to tame them, can cause serious skin damage- something known as oxidative stress (which is the technical term for when too many free radicals build up, which can start to alter the very formation of cell structure). This is because too many unchecked free radicals have the power to alter the skin’s DNA structure, changing the fundamental way that skin cells operate. Too many free radicals in the skin’s cells can range in the hierarchy of seriousness- from developing premature wrinkles, loose skin, and fine lines, to potentially having other negative skin afflictions. CBD skincare, a powerful source of antioxidants, may prevent the build-up of free radicals, offsetting the likelihood of oxidative stress and keeping the skin youthful, balanced, and safe.

A CBD-Infused Occlusive?

In a CBD-infused occlusive, like ‘The Calm Balm’, which contains antioxidants, is extra important. Having a protective seal with such a powerful antioxidant content as CBD skincare can be incredibly beneficial in protecting the stratum corneum- the top layer of skin cells. Since the stratum corneum is often subject to more damage, since it’s the layer of skin cells that faces the elements come rain or shine, it stands to require all the protection we can offer it. Since the outer surface of the stratum corneum is all that we see of our skin, maintaining its balance means we stand to look more centred and youthful. 

While simply placing an unguent (a lubricating ointment), such as petroleum jelly, can preserve the water content of our skin, an occlusive substance such as ‘The Calm Balm’ serves to provide more than just protection from dehydration. ‘The Calm Balm’ combines nourishment and protection in one- making it a valuable means to not just seal, but preserve and balance, the topmost layer of skin.

‘The Calm Balm’: Ingredients Which Help Occlusion

Not only CBD, but ‘The Calm Balm’ also contains a range of helpful ingredients, to provide protection and nourishment to the top layer of your skin. Let’s have a look at how the different components within ‘The Calm Balm’ help it to transcend the realm of any ordinary occlusive:

Shea Butter

A thick, protective barrier would be a bit of a let down without some fortifying, softening shea butter to top it off as truly nourishing. And since ‘The Calm Balm’ boasts nourishment as much as it promises to seal the skin, shea butter is one of the top ingredients which soothes, hydrates, and seals the water content within the stratum corneum- which transforms the skin with a youthful and glowing look within minutes. 

 But what makes shea butter so nourishing? Since shea butter has the potential to strengthen our lipid moisture barrier on the stratum corneum, making it one of the best ingredients to contribute to healthier skin overall. This is because shea butter contains essential fatty acids which contribute to our lipid layer and help strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier- serving to keep the deeper layers of the epidermis hydrated while preventing skin sensitivity and dryness. Shea’s fatty acids are 90% composed of stearic and oleic acids- which are then quickly absorbed by the skin and serve to densify the lipid moisture barrier. This is because our actual lipid barrier is made up of these fatty acids, so any ingredient which contains them can help to build up the barrier’s strength. A more substantial lipid barrier means that the skin is better equipped to keep foreign objects out and hydration in- thinking of the lipid barrier as a moat that protects the castle is a good way of seeing how the lipid layer is super vital in protecting the skin from any damage. Since shea butter serves to add fatty acids to the natural lipid barrier, it may actually provide the skin with its own form of protection. 

Since shea butter helps to strengthen the lipid moisture barrier, it serves to protect the skin from loss of hydration, making it a ‘hydrator by proxy’- as well as a thick enough ingredient within ‘The Calm Balm’ to help seal and occulsify the skin naturally. But how does protecting the stratum corneum, both by strengthening the lipid moisture barrier and providing an artificial barrier, promote hydration in both the stratum corneum and deeper layers of skin? Well, sealing the top of the skin actually helps prevent trans-epidermal water loss- which is often the source of dry, dehydrated skin. This occurs when water is lost from all the skin’s layers, as an unprotected stratum corneum might lose water through evaporation, which causes all the deeper skin cell layers to also lose their water content- since water evaporates from a high concentration to a lower concentration, not protecting the stratum corneum means that water will travel through each layer of epidermis, from bottom to top. This could have some harsh consequences on skin health, increasing dullness, sensitivity, and promoting negative skin effects. 

So, with the help of shea butter, we may allow our occlusive to formulate a protective layer over the stratum corneum, more fatty acids to preserve and promote the lipid moisture barrier and, above all, plump, juicy and hydrated skin.

Vitamin E

Another extremely potent antioxidant (perfect when paired with CBD, to really infuse the stratum corneum with all the balance it can get), vitamin E is another thick, juicy unguent to really boost ‘The Calm Balm’ into protective and hydrating action. Since vitamin E is best at tackling the free radical build-up caused by UV rays, it’s imperative that we get as much of this vitamin in our skincare range as possible- this is because we tend to face UV rays on a more regular basis, since even the cloudiest of days can project UV light straight on us. Likewise, UV rays can travel through windows, meaning it’s best to keep the skin protected with a strong layer of sunscreen and an equally strong layer of vitamin E at all times, whether you’re inside or out. 

 Vitamin E also keeps the skin youthful and free of fine lines- when paired with an occlusive that sits on the stratum corneum, having vitamin E on the skin’s surface can be the key to maintaining a smooth and even skin tone and keeping texture smooth and soft. Vitamin E is also an excellent balancing compound, which means that any breakouts of rashes caused by bacteria clogging the pores of the skin’s surface can be tackled or prevented.

Buckthorn

Sea buckthorn extract isn’t often found in skincare products- which, to us, seems like a crime. Buckthorn extract is hugely beneficial for the skin. When paired with an occlusive, it can provide a wealth of potential effects for the lipid layer, gradually strengthening the skin’s natural protective barrier. This is because experience and analysis tells us that sea buckthorn has an incredible range of complex fatty acids, from omega-7 (palmitoleic acid), omega-6 (gamma-linolenic acid), phospholipids, glycolipids and more to help strengthen and densify the lipid barrier of the stratum corneum. Again, much like shea butter, buckthorn supplies the skin with protection and strength- unlike shea butter, buckthorn has a broader range of fatty acids compared to other ingredients, providing the skin with more protection than ever. Pairing shea butter with buckthorn extract ensures that the skin can function on its own- essentially flooding it with useful fatty acids which leave the skin buttery soft, hydrated, and, above all, balanced. 

Since a healthy lipid layer also ensures that skin can regenerate, remain clear, and combat any irritants with more ease, sea buckthorn can allow the skin to stay smooth and clear. However, what really sets buckthorn apart is the unique presence of omega-6, which can actually be absorbed by the skin and converted into prostaglandins- which can mean lower levels of skin imbalance, protection against skin imbalance, and more. Sea buckthorn can improve the skin's tolerance and strength, making it an optimal protective ingredient to add to your routine.

Bisabolol

Last but not least, bisabolol is an essential ingredient for soothing the skin, which makes it essential in any heavy balm or cream, as it provides a light, fresh, floral feel and scent which can reassure those who might be worried about the wealth of ‘heavy duty’ ingredients in ‘The Calm Balm’. Perfect when present in a heavy and thick occlusive, bisabolol, derived from the chamomile plant, is an anti-irritant. This means it can help fight bacteria, may promote skin balance, and, above all, soothe any imbalance which may crop up on a sensitive skin-surface. The soothing, and nourishing nature that bisabolol offers can be incredibly essential for those prone to skin irritation- anyone who might be wary of the heavy, unguent-like nature of ‘The Calm Balm’ on their sensitive pores can rest assured that bisabolol will offset and soothe the skin before any chance of imbalance or worse can occur.

This is because bisabolol contains cytokine inhibitors- since cytokines induce imbalance, preventing them means that any irritation might be significantly reduced. Likewise, bisabolol offers antimicrobial properties, making it great for those worried about acne and pore-clogging. Bisabolol’s antioxidant content may impact those free radicals and might even soothe and even out skin tone and texture. 

The perfect ‘light’ ingredient to a ‘heavy’ product, bisabolol is the perfect counteractive ingredient to have in your CBD skincare routine.

Seal Your Stratum!

Overall, topping off your skincare with an excellent, thick sealing agent is about more than just preserving hydration in the lower epidermal layers of the skin- a product like ‘The Calm Balm’ which can seal and simultaneously nourish your skin, while protecting the stratum corneum, our most vulnerable and susceptible skin layer, allowing it to get the TLC with CBD skincare it deserves.