This year’s skincare buzzword is definitely ‘skin barrier’ – we’re sure you have seen it mentioned everywhere from TikTok to your Sunday paper pull-outs… But, what is one, do you have one, is it damaged and can you buy a new one? Spoiler alert, you can’t buy a new one. However, all is not lost as you can help to make the most of yours.
First things first though…
What Is A Skin Barrier?
The skin barrier, also known as the stratum corneum, is the outermost layer of the skin which is kind of like a brick wall that helps to protect the epidermis. The skin cells are the bricks, and fats act as the mortar that glues the cells together. If the barrier is healthy it makes a shield, if it’s unhealthy then the wall starts to allow things to pass through to the epidermis and for moisture to escape. It helps to keep the skin soft, bouncy, and dewy – basically everything you’d want your skin to be.
How Can You Tell If Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged?
There are a number of ways in which we can damage our skin barrier, the most common being using the wrong ingredients, over-exfoliating, and misuse of acids. Your barrier is also sensitive to stress, pollution, and over-exposure to blue light (thnk laptop and phone screens). This can result in irritated, red, dry, and dehydrated skin that looks dull and lackluster – not ideal at all.
How Can You Repair Your Skin Barrier?
There isn’t one solution that fits all, as everyone’s skin is different. However, there are definitely some steps we can all take to repair the damage and get a routine in place to make sure we are keeping our barrier healthy.
The first step to a repaired barrier is a complete strip back of products, take it back to basics. Keep a soothing or hydrating cleanser, repairing serum, moisturiser, and SPF, but cut out all the acids and exfoliators. In most cases barriers are damaged as we have overdone it with products or misused them, so once you have a healthy barrier slowly introduce new products to your routine, and only one at a time. By doing this you give your skin time to adjust and if your skin dislikes any products it’s easy to know what is causing the issue and cut it out immediately. Take the time to learn about your skin and avoid jumping on skincare trends that aren’t made for your skin type.
A soothing cleanser like the Revolution Ceramides Soothing Cleanser is gentle enough to avoid any further irritation to skin. The Avene Cicalfate + Restorative Protective Cream is our go to cream whenever our skin is playing up or we need some skin TLC. We’re also big fans of the specially formulated Dry Skin Repair Cream from Alturist, which contains Urea and Glycerin to really give the most to your skin.