We hear a lot about products and companies claiming that their products are targeted to protect the skin’s barrier. But what exactly is the skin barrier? How is it damaged? What are the telltale signs? How do we nourish and repair our skin barrier?
WHAT IS THE SKIN BARRIER?
Your skin is your body’s frontline of defence against pollutants and environmental stressors. It is pH sensitive and sometimes rude and picky. It flares up when least expected and when it needs to be at its best. Skin is made up of three layers: subcutaneous, dermis and epidermis. The skin’s outer most layer and skin barrier deals with everything life wants to throw at you.
HOW IS IT DAMAGED?
The skin barrier is delicate and can be easily damaged. Factors can include excessive sun exposure (without protection), ever-changing climate, over exfoliation or cleansing (stripping your skin), allergens/irritants, alkaline products (your skin is naturally acidic), or ingredients that do not agree with your skin etc. Weak skin barriers are often seen in people suffering with sensitive skin or dry skin or skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne or atopic dermatitis. This is generally because there are micro-tears in the skin, which allows transdermal water loss and an entry portal for bacteria.
WHAT ARE THE TELLTALE SIGNS OF SKIN BARRIER DAMAGE ?
If you notice redness, inflammation, flakiness, tightness or a stinging sensation from using products then chances are your skin barrier is damaged. It is not a nice feeling and definitely can affect your self esteem as well. You’re spending all this money and effort on your skincare and your skin just doesn’t care! But don't let this discourage you, as there are ways to address the matter.
8 WAYS TO REPAIR AND NOURISH THE SKIN BARRIER?
So what now? Repairing your skin barrier is a slow progress but definitely worthwhile.
- The most complicated step is to find out what caused it and eliminate that habit, product or ingredient.
- Use a gentle cleanser, that doesn't leave the skin feeling stripped. The Soon Jung Whip Cleanser is a mild and gentle foam cleanser, that does not strip your skin. It is formulated with a pH of 6.5 to compliment your acidic skin. I feel like this could work with all skin types. Innisfree The Minimum Cleansing Lotion is hypoallergenic and made with 98.5% of natural ingredients. It is super gentle and great for those with dry and/or sensitive skin.
- Avoid abrasive scrubs and exfoliating for now. Your skin is going through a tough time and with time and a little TLC, it should heal.
Use ingredients or products that you know nourishes and works with your skin.
Krave Great Barrier Relief nourishes and repair the skin barrier with skin loving ingredients like niacinamide, tamanu oil, safflower and rosehip oil.
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is a best seller. This packs with snail mucin, which is effective in treating irritated and dehydrated skin. It gives your skincare that ‘umph’ it badly needs. Again, great for all skin types.
Need more? the COSRX Snail Advanced Radiance Dual Essence is like it’s sister mentioned above but it has the added bonus of niacinamide.
MOISTURISE! With all that transdermal water loss suffered, you want to lock in every bit of moisture you have left.
Try the Krave Oat So Simple Water Cream. It is an effective moisturiser that works with all skin types. Made with only 9 ingredients. It contains oats that are great for soothing skin inflammations and irritations. Want a little more? The Purito Centella Green Level Recovery Cream is great for skin barrier health with skin loving ingredients such as niacinamide and madecassic acid.
- If acne is contributing to your problems then patch up the suckers. Patching can provide a clean, calming and nourishing environment for acne to heal.
- Simplify your routine. Skip masking, double or morning cleansing, and avoid actives and fragrances. Leave your new products for later, now isn’t the time to test new products which can overwhelm your skin.
- Be patient, your skin is amazing! It is highly capable of healing itself. Give it time to do its thing.