What is Skin Barrier Deficiency?
The skin barrier is what stands between our dogs and the outside world. It’s a protective shield against the entry of bacteria, allergens, and chemicals from the surrounding environment. But most importantly it keeps the water and essential fats inside the body because this is the skins main function.
Think of the skin barrier as a brick wall. For a brick wall you need bricks, mortar and rivets. Picture the bricks made if keratins, and the mortar made of lipids, and the rivets that attach the skin to the body would be made of protein. So what happens when this brick wall does not work right?
Skin barrier deficiency can be caused by a genetic
defect in the immune system, leading to a hypersensitivity to normal
environmental allergens. New theories propose that genetic defects in
skin lipids and proteins create a barrier defect that lets allergens
into the body.
The skin is a complex organ that needs to be cared for and protected just like every other major organ in the body. Healthy skin is a direct reflection of a healthy dog. Many factors can effect how the body can react and cause changes in the skin. These factors can be external or internal.
A) Internal Factors: Pregnancy, Hormones, Vaccinations, Surgery, Stress
B) External Factors: Environmental Exposures, Poor Skin Care, Sun Damage
More often than not, a Skin Barrier Deficiency is often a genetic
abnormality. We cannot change some thing in our dogs like genetic
disposition to certain problems or inherited problems. However, we can
control the situation by working to replenish the skin with vital
elements like vitamins, keratins, proteins and oils that are crucial in
maintaining healthy skin and coat.
Does your dog constantly display evidence of redness, rashes or even broken skin? It could be the result of a Skin Barrier Deficiency and not just a simple rash.
The skin is the largest organ on the body and plays a large roll in health care and how the body responds to the environment. Skin protects the body and forms a barrier between the dog and the environment it lives in by preventing invasions of pathogens, pollutants and repelling chemical and physical assaults on the body. It also prevents unregulated loss of water and solutes.
In dog’s with constant skin
problems, the under laying cause can be a deficiency in the skin
barrier. Some common skin issues we see in dogs are:
2. Hot Spots
3. Atopic Dermatitis
NOTE: Skin Barrier Deficiency has also been theorized to be a root problem with food allergies, caused by microscopic spores from grains that have been able to penetrate the skin barrier.
Good skin care is important to the overall health of your dog. It is as important as good coat care. Remember to take care in the selection of any product you put on your dog’s skin and coat to protect them from future health problems.
VIP: As always, if you cannot resolve your dog’s skin issues on your own, PLEASE consult your veterinarian.