Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all had an invisible shield that protects and defends our skin against a constant onslaught of environmental threats?
We have got news! We already have this, and it is called a skin barrier! It is the outermost layer of the skin charged with protecting our skin by keeping all the bad out, and all the good, IN!
First and foremost, let us break down the barrier.
The skin barrier has a vital function that greatly affects our skin’s health and integrity. Our skin barrier is made up of lipids (oils) that bind our cells together. When the skin barrier is intact it keeps our complexion smooth, calm and hydrated. Its function is to protect the body from excessive trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), as well as to prevent the penetration of compounds into the body via the epidermis. This means that a healthy barrier works to keep moisture in and keep free radicals out. Our hero!
Almighty as the skin barrier may seem, it does not take a lot to compromise its ability to function correctly and once the skin barrier is impaired, a whole new set of skin concerns and conditions may arise, including skin sensitivity.
What Compromises the Skin Barrier?
There is plenty that can upset the skin barrier and affect its ability to do its job correctly.
While a breakdown of the barrier can be genetic, It is mostly due to naughty habits combined with a lack of knowledge surrounding the barrier. Fear not, we have got you!
The common barrier killing culprits.
- Over exfoliating, Harsh scrubbing or constant exfoliating can strip away the foundation of the barrier
- Overuse of active ingredients such as L-ascorbic Acid, Glycolic, Lactic and Salicylic Acid
- Acne medications/prescription retinoid
- Not wearing sunscreen
- Chemical peels (performed more often than needed)
- At-home skin tools like dermarollers used incorrectly
- Not using a moisturiser
- Ageing – our barrier starts to become weaker from our 40’s
What Happens When the Barrier Is Compromised?
The answer: carnage! Not really, but your skin will be at risk of developing conditions including increased sensitivity.
Many of our clients who claim to have oily skin, sensitive skin, rosacea, breakouts, dehydrated or dry skin share something in common – their barrier is in need of repair, stat!
The condition is merely a symptom of a greater issue, a damaged skin barrier.
When this barrier has been broken down then you may begin seeing the following symptoms:
- Reactions to products
- Increased breakouts
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your skin’s barrier may be compromised and in need of repairing and strengthening.
How To Repair the Skin Barrier?
It is not all doom and gloom (*sigh of relief*).
If you believe your skin barrier may be damaged and in need of some urgent TLC, there is plenty you can do to help heal the barrier and get back to radiant, healthy skin.
Stop exfoliating! At least for a little while. Constant exfoliation especially when the barrier is damaged will just continue stripping about the bonds that hold it together. Even with a healthy barrier, you should only need to exfoliate 1-2 times a week unless a professional has recommended otherwise.
Wear SPF! Nothing attacks the skin barrier quite like prolonged sun exposure and UV rays. In addition to keeping your barrier safe, while it’s in repair mode, it will also protect your collagen levels and help you steer clear of sun damage.
Use a gentle cleanser! A gentle cleanser will gently cleanse away impurities and the daily grime but will keep your natural oils and skin barrier intact.
Book with Beauty On Latrobe! Knowledge is power and after careful assessment of your skin, our team of expert dermal therapists can prescribe you the ultimate treatment and product plan to help heal your barrier and breathe life back into your skin. This will be key in selecting the CORRECT products.
Use the right Skincare Using the right products with the right ingredients which mimic the natural lipids (oils) found in your skin will be the single best thing you can do to heal your barrier!
If you think your Skin Barrier may be needing a pick-me-up, speak to the team at Beauty On Latrobe.