Navigating through the overwhelming buzz on social media and ‘skintok’ about the dangers of a damaged skin barrier can be perplexing. In this simplified guide, our expert skin aesthetician, Lucy, offers straightforward advice to help you identify signs of a damaged skin barrier and provides practical solutions to restore its health and vitality with an easy to follow skin care routine.
What is the skin barrier?
Put simply, the skin barrier is the water-tight seal within your skin’s epidermal layers that keeps moisture and important substances in while preventing unwanted elements from entering.
What does the skin barrier do for me and my skin?
When the skin barrier is healthy, it acts as a protective shield, preventing moisture loss from the upper layers and blocking harmful substances from penetrating deeper into the skin. A well-maintained barrier results in soft, supple, and radiant skin, serving as the body’s primary defence system due to its crucial role as the largest organ.
How Does My Skin Barrier Become Damaged?
The skin’s barrier is delicate and can easily become damaged. Common causes of impairment include improper sun protection, overuse of abrasive exfoliants leading to micro-tears, excessive use of chemical exfoliants, overuse of active ingredients like retinoids or tretinoin, exposure to pollutants, irritants, and allergens, penetration of perfumes and known irritants, extreme environmental conditions, natural ageing process, and stress.
How do I know if my barrier is damaged?
Well, there are various indicators of a compromised skin barrier. One common symptom is a feeling of dryness after washing or cleansing, resulting from moisture loss through the damaged barrier. Irritation when applying certain products is also common, as irritants can penetrate the weakened barrier, causing discomfort. Dryness, tightness, flakiness, redness, and irritation are all signs of a compromised barrier.
What does it mean for my skin if my barrier is damaged?
An impaired barrier not only causes discomfort but can also lead to further complications. Prolonged impairment can result in severe dryness, leading to more serious skin conditions and breakouts. Additionally, it becomes challenging for the skin to repair signs of aging and protect itself against external aggressors. This can accelerate the aging process and reduce the effectiveness of active ingredients or treatments.
How Do I Repair My Skin's Barrier?
Repairing the skin’s barrier is a process rather than a quick fix. If you suspect a compromised barrier, it’s recommended to simplify your skincare routine for approximately three months. Strip down your routine to a gentle cream cleanser, nourishing moisturiser, and a preferred sunscreen. Your skin specialist may suggest specific ingredients to expedite the healing process. The goal is to add natural moisture to the skin and create a protective seal until the barrier fully restores itself.
How do I support my skin’s barrier long term?
Maintaining a healthy skin barrier will mean that you’ll have to implement a consistent daily skin care routine. But with these easy-to-follow steps you’ll be well on your way to achieving a repaired and healthier skin barrier.
- Wash your skin with lukewarm water to avoid stripping natural oils.
- Exercise caution with products containing perfumes and preservatives.
- Avoid abrasive exfoliants that can cause micro-tears in the barrier.
- Incorporate products with barrier-supporting ingredients like niacinamide for ongoing maintenance.
- Include an antioxidant ingredient such as vitamin C to protect against free radicals.
- Gradually introduce more potent actives like retinoids and liquid exfoliators, and consult a skin specialist if unsure.
- Always wear and regularly reapply sunscreen for optimal protection.
- By implementing these measures, you can nurture your skin’s barrier, ensuring long-term health and a radiant complexion.
By implementing these measures and following the tips provided in this guide, you can nurture your skin’s barrier, ensuring long-term health and a radiant complexion.
However, if you have additional skin concerns or seek professional advice tailored to your specific needs, we encourage you to book a consultation with us today.
Our skilled aesthetician, Lucy, can assess your skin, provide personalized recommendations, and create a bespoke plan to target your unique concerns.
With Lucy’s expertise and access to professional-grade skincare products, you’ll receive the extra help needed to achieve optimal results. Invest in your skin’s health today and take the next step towards a revitalized and resilient skin barrie