The fascinating topic of skin barrier continues to engage researchers from diverse disciplines both in academia and industry. Much of the information on the basic biology of barrier formation, its ontogeny as well as repair and homeostasis comes from studies on animal models. A smaller number of human studies have validated the usefulness of animal models, while highlighting some essential differences. We submit that the human skin barrier is unique in several ways, as much due to our adaptive ability as our control over the environment (macro and micro) that none of the other species have exerted. The human skin is not only exposed to the greatest variations of environment due to our phenomenal mobility but also to the largest number of xenobiotics, both chemical and microbial, resulting from human activity. In this overview, we attempt to evaluate the interdependent relation of skin barriers to environmental stressors hoping to raise interest in some of the lesser known or neglected aspects of human skin barriers as they relate to skin health and dysfunctions.

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