Ah, the skin barrier. How we aim to please it and keep it happy. The skin barrier’s main job is to hold onto moisture and maintain healthy hydration levels within the body and to protect us from outside threats such as infections, chemicals and toxins. The thin layer of lipids from oil glands and amino acids from sweat creates the acid mantle - together with the skin’s microbiome forms a gentle matrix that is our skin barrier.
A healthy skin barrier equals happy and healthy skin. It’s as simple as that. On the flip side, a skin barrier in distress causes the skin to be anything from irritated, dry, sore and even breaking out.
So, maintaining a healthy skin barrier is what will give you plump, smooth and glowing skin.
Now, before you start rushing to buy products specific for skin barrier repair it is important to understand that there are many different factors that effect skin barrier health.
Understanding your skin and finding the cause of what is potentially damaging or weakening your skin barrier is key. There are many things that take their toll on our skin barrier such as harsh skincare products, weather changes, UV rays, pollution, food, stress levels and even our age. Yes, the older we get, our skin cell turn over and over all skin barrier weakens, making us susceptible to irritation, dryness and inflammation. We can’t prevent ageing but we can give the skin a helping hand.
That’s why it is important to look at lifestyle choices as well as a skincare routine that includes skin barrier protecting and repairing products, to give your skin barrier a helping hand.
More often than not a harsh cleanser is at fault for a weakened skin barrier. People with acne and oily skin tend to buy "drying" cleansers as they believe this will reduce oil production and break outs. This is false. These cleansers can initially feel good but go on to be extremely harsh, drying out the skin barrier that ultimately leads to more breakouts. Low pH cleansers are a great option as they effectively cleanse the skin without stressing the skin barrier.
Low pH cleansers tend to have a pH of 5.5 which is inline with healthy skin pH.
The COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser is popular because of its gentle but effective cleansing action. It thoroughly cleanses away buildup while soothing the skin giving it a fresh and clean result.
Purito's Defence Barrier pH Cleanser is equally as effective and contains Centella Asiatica extract which has proven anti-inflammatory effects on redness and irritation.
Ceramides form the skin’s barrier, they aid in water retention and protect against environmental stress. By adding a moisturiser containing ceramides you can help the skin heal a compromised skin barrier and soothe skin issues such as dryness, itching and irritation.
Dr. Jart+ famous Ceramidin Cream is a best seller due to its nourishing and healing properties. It strengthens the skin barrier with its ceramide complex and also stops trans-epidermal waterloss. This is a fantastic moisturiser to use during colder months, as a night cream for oily skin types or as a healing treatment when needed.
Beauty with Brains Night Fix is a night treatment cream that can be used in the mornings and evenings thanks to its lightweight formula. It contains ceramides along with jojoba oil and glycerin that all work together to protect and soothe the skin barrier.
Serums containing hyaluronic acid, propolis and peptides are a great addition to a skincare routine that wants to strengthen and protect the skin barrier. Hyaluronic acid is known for its water holding ability and therefore helps the skin hold onto moisture. Hyaluronic serums great a protective moisture sponge on the skin allowing it to heal and repair itself.
Timeless Skin Care's Hyaluronic Acid Serum contains sodium hyaluronate which binds moisture to the skin and acts as a protective moisture layer, feeding the skin barrier with essential hydration. It also helps other ingredients from your moisturises penetrate deeper into the skin.
Pure & Care Collagen Serum has a silky texture that quickly relieves thirsty skin and seals in moisture. Glycerin is also a component of this serum and helps the skin lock in moisture for longer.
Protecting your skin from UV rays is super important - there is no need to spend your hard earned cash on skincare if you skip your SPF. The suns rays are responsible for premature ageing, dehydration and are all damaging to the skin barrier. Make sure to use an SPF that you like and will use daily to ensure that your skin is happy and healthy. There are many SPF options out there these days that incorporate moisturising benefits and also act as the last step of your morning skincare routine to lock in hydration.
Our favourite SPF is the global best-seller from Purito - Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF 50+ PA++++
Suitable for all skin types, this lightweight sunscreen leaves no white-cast, has no sticky residue and is formulated with repairing and nourishing ingredients. This is a sunscreen that is a pleasure to use and effectively protects from UV rays.
Using the right skincare to strengthen your skin barrier is great, however as I mentioned you need to look at your overall lifestyle and how it is affecting your skin. Sleep is a major factor in optimal skin health and overall health. Not getting the adequate amount of sleep or sleep quality can easily show up on your skin as dryness, premature ageing and lack of radiance. Make sure you switch off from work and your devices a couple of hours before going to bed as this helps improve sleep quality. Taking a few minutes to breathe or meditate is a popular choice for "switching" into relaxation mode.
We are what we eat. Many skin conditions can be linked to food intolerance and sensitivity. By maintaining healthy eating habits can have a positive impact on your skin such as eating fresh fruit and vegetables. Take a look at your eating habits before looking for skincare - there may be a small adjustment you can make in your diet instead of looking for a product to fix a skin concern.
Your Other Habits
Things like picking spots and popping pimples are known skin barrier disruptors. We are all guilty of this. When you pop a pimple you are exposing the wound to bacteria from your fingers which can lead irritation and infection. Try to avoid DIY extractions and leave your skin alone!