The skin barrier – our protective layer of skin – has an especially important skin function. When supported by the right skincare, the skin moisture barrier can help to strengthen and moisturise skin. Whether you have oily, dry or sensitive skin, skin moisture barrier health relates directly to the symptoms you experience. When a damaged skin barrier occurs, skin stress on seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum can follow, including dryness and blemishes or breakouts.
To achieve optimal skin health and maintain bright and firmed skin both in look and feel, it’s necessary to know how to support the skin moisture barrier. Ahead, we’ve compiled holistic and simplified measures to integrate into your routine.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND SKIN BARRIER HEALTH
Skin is made up of layers, each housing substances like elastin, collagen, lipids and moisture. Three main layers include the subcutaneous fatty layer at the bottom, the dermis (which determines how thick or full skin is), and the epidermis – the outer layer of skin.
Conversely known as the stratum corneum, lipid barrier, moisture barrier and skin protective barrier, the surface layer of skin acts as a protective shield – working to hold fatty acids, oils and water content in skin, whilst preventing access to irritants like pollution, UV radiation and bacteria. At a microscopic level, moisture barrier skin appears like a brick wall. The bricks, made up of cells, are held together by fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR SKIN BARRIER IS DAMAGED
Though the tone and texture of complexions rely on good skin barrier health, disruptions to this function are unfortunately common. An impaired skin barrier can be caused by a variety of triggers, both behavioural and external to our control. External and behavioural stressors can include prolonged sun exposure, dry or extreme weather, the use of skin-stripping ingredients, lack of sleep and dehydration. When experiencing the following stressors, it’s likely you have a damaged skin barrier:
● Itchy-prone, uncomfortable skin
● Rough, sagging or flaky texture
● The appearance of dull or uneven skin tone
● Breakouts and imperfections
● Eczema-prone concerns
HOW TO SUPPORT SKIN BARRIER HEALTH
If you’re experiencing one of the above damaged moisture barrier symptoms, in most circumstances, the way back towards healthy skin is to actually pair back what you’re currently doing. Gentle and holistic steps with a focus on hydrating and nourishing ingredients make up the most effective damaged skin barrier routine. Each step below is imperative to skin health and radiance.
DAILY SPF APPLICATION
To protect your skin against cell damage, signs of ageing, loss of moisture and discolouration, broad spectrum sunscreen should be worn every day of the year. An intact skin protective barrier serves to help support skin against UV radiation but can become weakened by everyday exposure to sun. To assist the long-term health of skin, Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ is lightweight, non-comedogenic and suited to sensitive skin. For oily skin types, Anthelios XL Anti-Shine Dry Touch Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ is mattifying and non-greasy.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.
FOCUS ON HYDRATION
Returning a damaged skin barrier back to health requires an uptake of moisture absorption. Both an excess of oil flow and dehydrated skin are signs of an imbalanced level of sebum in skin. When skin feels tight, dry or experiences blemishes, it’s important to establish a healthy level of moisture, so that skin barrier health can return. Gentle moisturisers are key here to prevent discomfort across skin. Prebiotic and moisture-rich Toleriane Sensitive Prebiotic Moisturiser helps to replace lost ceramides, alongside glycerin and La Roche-Posay thermal water to provide 48 hour hydration. For sensitive or dry skin experiencing broken skin barrier symptoms, Toleriane Sensitive Riche Prebiotic Cream and overnight Toleriane Ultra Overnight Sensitive Moisturiser can help to reduce discomfort whilst establishing moisture back in skin.
TREAT SKIN GENTLY
Both physical and chemical exfoliants, and products which contain stripping formulas can impact the skin’s protective barrier – so make sure that each step is gentle on skin. A hydrating cleanser like Effaclar H Cream Cleanser can act as a light exfoliant whilst purifying and cleansing skin of stressors like sweat and bacteria. To follow, a serum with gently hydrating ingredients can permeate deeply and assist the skin barrier in regaining essential moisture. Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum imparts an intense supply of moisture via ingredients hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and glycerin.
SIMPLIFY YOUR ROUTINE
Multi-step routines can assist in achieving specific skin goals, but an overapplication of strong ingredients can cause the skin barrier to weaken. When re-establishing moisture and strength to skin, you can refer to the following gentle ingredients:
● Hyaluronic acid
● Shea butter