What If The Horny Layer Is Too Thick?

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Our skin is composed of multiple layers, each having their own functions, including the regulation of blood flow, producing oil, maintaining moisture, or protecting your body from microbes. The outermost layer is known as stratum corneum, or the horny layer, which is especially designed to protect everything that’s underneath from everything that’s outside.

Now, the horny layer is a very resilient part of the skin. Unfortunately, however, the lack of care and constant exposure to pollution and other damaging aspects of the environment can cause it to react in a way you might not be happy with. That is, it starts thickening up in certain places. This results in rough skin and an uneven skin tone.

So, what can you do if you’re the unfortunate victim of a heavy horny layer? Well, read on and you’ll find out.

1.Causes of a Heavy Horny Layer

A thick horny layer generally forms slowly over time, barring certain autoimmune diseases. This layer is composed of specialized skin cells that continuously shed, piling on top of one another in order to form a sort of wall. This buildup of skin cells is designed to keep the rest of your skin from being exposed to injury or unfavorable environmental conditions.

The thickness of the horny layer is not uniform. This means that in some areas of the skin, it can be really thick, while it can be almost non-existent on others. So, what causes the horny layer to thicken up? Here are a few reasons why.

1.1 Improper Cleaning Habits

Your skin’s horny layer generally sheds skin on its own, without the need for you to intervene. Unfortunately, this natural process not only takes time, it’s also not that thorough or uniform. Some parts of your skin will end up accumulating layers over time, and it can be noticeable. Generally, the best way to remedy this is by simply washing your skin thoroughly.

Unfortunately, however, not many people know how to do this well, or do not have enough time to do it. Not washing up properly means you’re leaving out areas where the horny layer can continue piling up skin layers unchecked.

1.2 Slow Metabolism

Another major cause of a thickened horny layer is a slow metabolism. Generally, a slower metabolism means your body is unable to utilize certain nutrients properly. This means that your skin is being starved of the nutrition it needs in order to function normally. This leads to dryer skin, brittle nails, and of course, a heavy horny layer. This basically means your skin’s outermost layer isn’t shedding as much as it should, or as fast as it should, leading to heavy buildup.

1.3 Certain Skin Diseases

Sometimes, the thickening on the horny layer is caused by an autoimmune disease. Psoriasis, for example, happens when the body is experiencing severe stress, causing your skin to produce skin cells on your horny layer at an alarming rate. This buildup of skin leads to the thick lesions that characterizes this disease. In really bad cases, the thick parts are so thick that the person becomes unable to move because of the pain they cause.

2.Fixing the Problem

Although a thicker horny layer is a lot more resilient and can offer your skin better protection, it can cause issues if it ends up being too thick. The buildup can cause your skin to turn rough, and your pores will end up becoming compacted with oil and dirt, making them appear much larger. You’ll also end up developing whiteheads and blackheads.

Lucky for you though, there are ways to keep your skin’s horny layer in check, and here are just some of the things you can do about it.

2.1 Exfoliate Regularly and with the Right Skin Care Products

The buildup of skin that you experience when dealing with a heavy horny layer can be whittled away simply by exfoliating regularly. You can either use physical exfoliation, such as scrubs, or chemical peels to do the job. Whichever type you decide to use, the idea behind exfoliation is to remove the thickened layer in order to expose smoother, healthier skin underneath.

Now, too much exfoliation can be bad for your skin. The horny layer is meant to protect you, after all. So, make sure you don’t over do it. Exfoliating at least once or twice a month is a good point of reference.

You should also make sure that the product you plan on using is the right one for you. You don’t want to cause a reaction on your skin that can make the problem much worse. As with other skin care products, research is the key.

2.2 Remove Your Makeup Before Going to Bed

We all want to look our best, and makeup is an excellent way of doing just that. Once you’re done with it, however, it’s always a good idea to remove it before you settle in for the night. Makeup, especially oil-based ones can compound whatever problem you have with a thick horny layer. Much like dirt and oil, it can cause irritation if left for too long, leading to larger pores and breakouts. Some cosmetics also have chemicals you wouldn’t want on your skin while you’re sleeping. This can cause inflammation on your skin, which will also lead to a thicker horny layer.

2.3 Scrub Your Skin with Some Salt

If you’re resourceful enough, you don’t actually need to spend money on some expensive skin care product to get rid of a heavy horny layer. As a matter of fact, if you have salt in the kitchen, then you’re pretty much good to go. To the right person, salt isn’t just for cooking anymore, it can actually be a great alternative to some exfoliants you could see in the market.

Salt actually helps absorb dirt and other toxins that are on your skin, and its abrasive nature can help exfoliate your skin. The fine grains of salt can also help you cleanse your pores as deeply as possible, and the minerals found in salt can help restore some of the skin’s protective layers and help it maintain hydration.

After washing your skin as per usual, get yourself a washcloth or loofah. If you don’t have either of those, you can always just use your hands, but it’s easier with the washcloth. Put a bit of salt on your chosen item and gently scrub the salt on your skin in a circular motion. Once you’re done, make sure to wash your skin thoroughly. Salt will dissolve with water, so there’s no need to worry about it clogging up your pores.

2.4 Wash Your Skin with Milk and Vinegar

Aside from salt, you can also use milk and vinegar to cleanse your skin and keep your horny layer in check. They’re great at both cleansing your skin and keeping it moisturized. Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, is made up of acetic acid, which is a known antibacterial and antifungal agent. Using vinegar is a great way to thoroughly cleanse your skin of microbes, on top of removing the usual oil, dirt and other debris.

Milk, on the other hand, contains many nutrients that can encourage the development of healthy skin, including vitamin B, antioxidants, and of course, calcium. It’s good at drawing out excessive oil on your skin and can help you exfoliate gently. On top of that, it’s also great at keeping your skin moisturized throughout the day.

3.Things to Consider When Exfoliating

3.1 Sensitive Skin and Exfoliation

Although exfoliation can keep your skin buildup in check, it can be bad for sensitive skin. Too much exfoliation can remove a skin’s natural oils and nutrients. This can lead to severe breakouts or inflammation in the long run. If you’re still bent on exfoliating your skin, then at least use products that are hypoallergenic, or ones geared towards sensitive skin.

3.2 Steaming Before Exfoliation

Washing your face with warm water or steaming it before you exfoliate can help soften your skin help you thoroughly cleanse. Warming your skin up improves the circulation, allowing your pores to dilate and help you flush out any buildup of dirt in them. The effects of steaming your skin also softens the skin buildup, making the exfoliation process more effective.

3.3 Don’t Exfoliate Too Often

As we’ve mentioned before, exfoliating too much is a bad idea. Exfoliating too often can cause skin irritation and inflammation, which are the two major factors of skin aging. On top of that, the skin itself already sheds skin on its own, replenishing it naturally. Over-exfoliating can slow down this natural cell turnover, further aging your skin.

3.4 Be Gentle with Exfoliation

Using harsh chemical peels or applying too much pressure can also irritate your skin. On top of that, you also run the risk of putting lesions on your skin when you’re applying too much pressure. Try to use more gentle strokes or gentler chemical peels when exfoliating. Only use the tougher stuff if you’re sure that the product your using has little to no effect on your skin.

3.5Never Mix Skin Care Products

Most skin care products are meant to be used on their own, so mixing more than one together is generally not a good idea. Some products have ingredients in them that don’t react well with other products and can cause havoc on your skin. Only use one product at a time, and if you want to switch between products, allow your skin time to recuperate so as not to cause it any problems.

3.6 Sun Protection

Exfoliating has the tendency to remove your skin’s natural protection against the elements. This includes your skin’s ability to protect itself against the sun. This is why it’s important to use sun protection when you pan to go outside after you’ve exfoliated. Wear clothing that can give you good coverage, such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts. You should also use sunscreen with high SPF.

Kana Z

Kana Z

I am a writer focussing on beauty, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and body care. I have a special interest in establishing solutions for problem skin. I have being working and studing with some of the world’s top skincare experts, hairstylists, makeup artists, perfume creators, photographers and models. I also currently write for websites of the skincare brand. My Specialties: beauty, journalism, skincare, haircare, cosmetics and problem skin.

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