Recent years have seen the skin’s invisible moisture barrier become a key topic of discussion in the skincare world. But what exactly is the skin moisture barrier and how does it function? Our skin is made up of many layers, with each performing a vital function for our bodily health. The skin moisture barrier is a thin, invisible lipid (fatty) layer atop the outermost skin layer which can be impaired by a range of lifestyle and environmental factors.
It may not be able to be seen, but a damaged skin moisture barrier could be the underlying cause for a wide variety of uncomfortable skin concerns including acne prone skin, redness, itchiness, sensitivity and roughness.
Luckily, an effective and targeted daily skincare routine like our Cicaplast range can help to strengthen a damaged skin moisture barrier. Let us explain the function and purpose of the skin moisture barrier, how to identify a damaged moisture barrier and how to strengthen yours effectively.
WHAT IS THE SKIN MOISTURE BARRIER AND WHAT IS ITS PURPOSE?
The skin moisture barrier function occurs in the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. It consists of corneocytes (tough skin cells) which are bound by a lipid layer including fatty acids and ceramides.
What’s the biological purpose of this layer? It’s essential to keep us protected and hydrated. It helps to keep irritants out while keeping moisture and lipids in. Additionally, the skin barrier also acts a layer of protection against harmful UV rays.
WHAT CAUSES A DAMAGED SKIN MOISTURE BARRIER?
Our modern lifestyles mean that our skin contends with many external and internal threats each way, any of which may result in a damaged skin moisture barrier.
Some factors that can cause damage to the skin moisture barrier come from the environment around us. These include air that’s either very humid or very dry, allergens and pollutants in the air, or excessive exposure to UV-A and UV-B radiation from the sun.
In addition to the environmental factors, there are also several behavioural factors that can contribute to a damaged skin moisture barrier. These include over-washing the skin with alkaline soaps, over-exfoliating and exposing the skin to harsh chemicals. Topical or oral steroids can also have a depleting effect on the skin moisture barrier, as can a harsh and complicated skincare routine.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR SKIN MOISTURE BARRIER IS DAMAGED
When the skin moisture barrier is damaged, it becomes vulnerable and ‘leaky’. However, it can be difficult to determine whether your skin concerns stand alone, or whether a damaged skin moisture barrier might be the underlying cause.
If your skin often feels sensitive, dry and fragile, your skin’s natural moisture barrier function may have been compromised by one or more of the factors discussed above. If this sounds like you, you’re probably wondering if there are any more symptoms to look out for. People who have sustained damage to their natural skin moisture barrier sometimes experience acne prone skin, rough or scaly patches, discolouration, or sensitivity.
HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR SKIN MOISTURE BARRIER
If you think you may have a damaged skin moisture barrier, you can help strengthen its function by implementing a science-based protective skincare regime. The most effective way to strengthen the skin moisture barrier is to build a routine with products containing lipid-rich ingredients and oils. This will allow you to maintain an ideal level of moisture on the skin, or as dermatologists call it, the Natural Moisturising Factor.
Your moisture barrier strengthening skincare routine should involve a gentle cleanser, a targeted serum and mask, and a nourishing, lipid-rich moisturiser designed for sensitive skin.
WHAT IS SKIN MOISTURE BARRIER BOOSTER?
A moisture barrier booster is an extremely effective skincare product designed especially for those suffering from a damaged skin moisture barrier. Good boosters leave an invisible protective layer on the skin that strengthens the skin moisture barrier to protect against loss of hydration in the skin while providing instant comfort to dry, sensitised skin.
Our Cicaplast range includes several boosters for sensitive skin. Each product in the range has a minimalist and hypoallergenic formula, meaning they don’t contain unnecessary ingredients. Likewise, our Toleriane range is free of common irritants, making it well matched to sensitive skin types.
Read on for our recommended products from each range for your skin moisture barrier strengthening daily routine.
HYALU B5 HYALURONIC ACID ANTI-AGEING SERUM
The objectives of a moisture barrier strengthening skincare routine are twofold: to intensely hydrate the skin and help the skin strengthen itself. Our Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Ageing Serum contains two powerful ingredients to fulfill both those objectives. Hyaluronic acid re-plumps and moisturises the skin by attracting water molecules to the skin, while vitamin B5 improves the skin’s natural ability to repair itself.
Apply several drops of this highly effective serum morning and night, before gently spreading over the entire face.
TOLERIANE ULTRA SENSITIVE MOISTURISER
Toleriane Ultra Sensitive Moisturiser, is a daily moisturiser for ultra sensitive skin. This is an ideal moisture barrier booster for the face, as it’s enriched with neurosensine, glycerin, shea butter and La Roche Posay’s Thermal Spring Water.
Apply this moisturiser to the face and neck each morning and night, after gently cleansing the face and applying serums. This cream is suitable to use around the eye contour, so gently smooth a small amount there too.
CICAPLAST BAUME B5 BALM
Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm, is a multi-repairing balm designed for extreme dryness, dry patches, redness and weakened areas. For this reason, it’s an ideal moisture barrier cream for lips, extra dry areas and even skin feeling sensitised from minor cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels or needling.
Like the B5 serum, this powerful balm contains vitamin B5 (panthenol) and madecassoside to help strengthen the skin moisture barrier, but in a thicker texture for extra dry areas. Apply as needed on areas that require extra attention.
CICAPLAST HAND CREAM
Although it’s easy to forget that the need to protect the skin moisture barrier extends to areas beyond the face, it’s important to remember that the hands are particularly vulnerable to skin moisture barrier damage.
Cicaplast Hand Cream, is an ideal cream for hands that creates an invisible glove effect to protect and moisturise dry and damaged hands. This is also an ideal cream for hands that are feeling sensitised or overworked. Formulated with 4% niacinamide and 30% glycerin, this cream provides a protective barrier that’s resistant to friction and washing. Apply as often as necessary to the entire hand area.
CICAPLAST B5 MASK
For intense calming hydration, press on our Cicaplast B5 Sooting Sheet Mask. It’s enriched with madecassoside and panthenol and is ideal to use on sensitised skin with a damaged moisture barrier.
Apply the mask carefully with your fingertips and leave on for 15 minutes before patting in the leftover serum.