Skincare and beauty products often advertise improving your skin health and appearance. From moisturizers to serums, these liquids are absorbed into the skin barrier. While the term has risen recently, possibly in response to face coverings like face masks, the skin barrier is an essential part of your face that you should be paying attention to.
The Skin Barrier
The scientific term for the skin barrier is stratum corneum. It forms the outermost part of the epidermis and contains three kinds of cells: keratinocytes, melanocytes, and Langerhans cells. Aside from absorbing the different moisturizers, toners, and serums we apply, our epidermis layer also protects our skin from pollution and ultraviolet radiation.
Maintaining a healthy skin barrier not only makes you look great, but it also protects your skin and face from long-term damage. A healthy skin barrier can also lead to having a great skin.
Damage in the Skin Barrier
Because it is the layer exposed to the world, your skin barrier may get damaged. Damage can come from external factors like too much sun, but it can also come with aging. Using harsh cleansers or scrubbing too hard can also damage your skin barrier. In some cases, it can even be caused by stress and hormones.
While spotting damage may take some close observation, there are some signs to look out for:
- Itchy skin
- Too dry or dehydrated skin
- Rough or discolored patches
- Inflamed areas
- Acne breakouts
- Skin irritation
While many of these are normal, severe symptoms may be a sign of skin damage. For instance, there are many causes of acne like hormones or exposure to pollution, but if you notice sudden breakouts, this may be an effect of a damaged skin barrier. But don’t fret; your skin can still recover with enough time and gentle care.
Repairing Your Skin Barrier
Taking the steps to healthier skin can take some time before you see significant results, but consistently taking the necessary measures will be worth all the effort.
1. Simplify your skincare routine
It may be challenging to determine what is causing the issue if you have too many steps in your skincare routine. Keeping it to a few products over a few weeks can help you observe your skin’s reaction. If issues like irritation and dryness lessen during this time, you can then narrow down the products causing these concerns.
Additionally, you may be combining liquids or chemicals that do not react well together. In such a case, it may be a good idea to go through all your steps and ask yourself: Do I really need this product?
Make sure to do research as well when dealing with unfamiliar products. Without knowing it, you may be overdoing it with the use of retinol. Understand each product’s use and how often you should apply it to your skin.
If you are unsure about a product, you can set it aside in the meantime and try it again once your skin is healthier. Reducing the number of products and ingredients you apply to your skin can help you learn which combination of products works best for you.
2. Decrease your exfoliation
Exfoliation is an excellent way to remove dead skin and dirt from your skin. Doing so helps clear your face so new skin cells can grow. However, a common mistake that people make is exfoliating too much or using harsh exfoliators.
Excessive exfoliation done too frequently can cause irritation and sensitivity in your skin barrier. Typically, exfoliating once or twice a week is enough. An irritated skin barrier may also be due to using exfoliating products too harsh for your skin.
Tools like brushes and sponges are helpful in exfoliating, but some may be causing you more harm than good. Consider your skin sensitivity and skin type when deciding which tool to use in your skincare routine.
3. Get plant-based oil
Having irritated skin can be caused by a lack of moisture. While your skin naturally produces oils, a damaged skin barrier can reduce the amount and effectiveness of these oils. Adding plant-based oils to your routines can assist your skin in repairing itself.
Some oils have added benefits like antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and softening properties. These effective oils include coconut oil, sunflower oil, and jojoba oil. Alternatively, you can look for creams and moisturizers with these oils as their main products.
4. Use gentle or mild cleansers
Irritation in your skin can be caused by cleansers that excessively strip the skin of naturally produced oils. As such, you should look for gentle or mild cleansers to decrease skin irritation and redness.
Your cleansing product of choice should be effective enough to remove makeup and environmental particles from your skin and gentle enough to maintain a healthy amount of oil after your skincare routine.
5. Look for nourishing ingredients
Healing your skin barrier is possible if you use products focusing on nourishment and replenishment. It would be best to pick products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide. Use skin essence as well to support your skin’s recovery.
Creams, treatments, lotions, and other related skincare products can also help you restore your skin barrier. Just remember to take it slow when adding new products to avoid overdoing it.
6. Ease up when your skin is inflamed
When your skin appears red or irritated, it’s not the time for you to go all-in with intense cleansers and exfoliators. Instead, reach for your serums and gentle cleansers when your skin needs a little more care. Spot treatments can also help with small patches of acne or redness.
7. Take care of the basics
The skin is the body’s largest organ and is affected by your health and habits. As such, keeping yourself healthy is one of the best ways to care for your skin barrier. Drinking enough water, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly are all good practices for your skin and body.
Also, get enough quality sleep every night to avoid puffiness or other signs of fatigue. When your basic needs are satisfied, you may also notice that skincare strategies work more effectively.
Strengthening your Skin Barrier
Once your skin barrier becomes healthier, you should continue to nourish and maintain its status. Prevention is often better than cure, so be vigilant of the common symptoms of a damaged skin barrier.
More information on skincare: Skinimalism: How to Create a Skincare Routine for Your Wrinkles in 9 Steps
Author: Pia Rodriguez
Pia is a freelance writer and content marketing manager of Maybelline PH, a global cosmetic brand offering innovative, affordable, and effortless cosmetics for every woman. For Pia, being able to create content that helps empower women is a dream come true. She also likes to spend her free time reading books, visiting art galleries, and watching feel-good movies.