What Is My Skin’s Barrier and What Should I do if it’s Damaged

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What Is Your Skin’s Barrier? | What Does It Do? | How Does the Skin Barrier Become Damaged? | What Happens When the Skin Barrier is Damaged? | 5 Signs Your Skin Barrier is Damaged | How Can You Protect and Repair Your Skin Barrier?

It’s crucial to maintain the health of your entire body, including your skin. When your skin barrier is robust, it keeps moisture in and shields your skin from outside stresses. When it is weak, allergens and irritants penetrate and water evaporates, compromising your skin barrier. That’s when problems may occur, resulting in parched, dry, and dehydrated skin. We’ll discuss the five obvious indicators of a compromised skin barrier, which include fine lines and wrinkles, heightened sensitivity, dryness, dehydration, flakiness, redness, and irritation. Knowing these indicators is essential to figuring out when your skin requires more attention. Everything you need to know about your skin barrier is provided here, along with advice on how to maintain and restore it.

To understand how your skin barrier functions, imagine it as a brick and mortar construction.
To understand how your skin barrier functions, imagine it as a brick and mortar construction. Lamellar sheets serve as the skin’s barrier. These sheets are located between the cells of the stratum corneum, the skin’s uppermost layer. These structures are akin to the mortar that holds your house’s bricks together. Lamellar sheets, which are made up of fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides, keep your skin cells in place and the stratum corneum intact.

To understand how your skin barrier works, imagine it as a brick-and-mortar structure.

Natalie McBurney

Your skin barrier serves as a security guard for your skin. It protects your skin from germs and irritants while retaining moisture and hydration. Skin with a good barrier is hydrated, moisturised, robust, and flexible. It can resist unfavourable environmental stress and aged beautifully. A thin or weak barrier, on the other hand, allows irritants to enter while keeping hydration out. This causes dullness, dryness, and sensitivity, which can result in inflammation and accelerated ageing.

Over time, your skin barrier can become compromised. Factors such as aging, environmental stressors, and everyday activities like over-cleansing can lead to cumulative damage that weakens its structure. Imagine the skin barrier as a brick-and-mortar wall: without proper care, the mortar weakens and cracks form. These cracks allow bacteria and irritants to penetrate the skin and let moisture escape.

Here are a few common causes of skin barrier damage:

  • Natural aging
  • Pollution
  • UV exposure
  • Blue light
  • Bacteria
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Harsh chemical skincare
  • Over-cleansing and over-exfoliating
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Genetic conditions such as psoriasis

What Happens When the Skin Barrier is Damaged?

When the skin barrier is damaged, one of the primary effects is transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This process allows hydration and moisture to evaporate through the compromised barrier, leading to dryness and dehydration. This exacerbates visible signs of aging and contributes to inflammation, sensitivity, and a dull complexion.

In addition to moisture loss, a damaged skin barrier leaves your skin vulnerable to environmental assaults such as pollution, UV rays, and blue light. These factors accelerate aging, causing fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of volume and elasticity.

A weakened barrier also exposes your skin to irritants, microbes, and allergens. When these penetrate the stratum corneum, they can cause inflammation, redness, and sensitivity. For those with genetic conditions like eczema and rosacea, an impaired barrier can worsen symptoms.

5 Signs Your Skin Barrier is Damaged

1. Dryness
When your skin barrier is damaged, it struggles to retain moisture, leading to dryness. This often results in rough, flaky skin that’s difficult to keep smooth and hydrated. This dryness reflects a deeper inability of the skin to hold essential moisture, requiring a more nurturing and moisture-rich skincare routine.

2. Dehydration
Dehydration is a lack of water in the skin, causing it to feel tight and look dull. Dehydrated skin loses its plumpness and elasticity, leading to a less youthful appearance. It’s important to hydrate the skin both internally by drinking plenty of water and externally with hydrating skincare products.

3. Flakiness
A visible sign of a compromised skin barrier is flakiness. This occurs when the skin cannot effectively self-exfoliate and shed dead skin cells, resulting in flaky patches. It indicates that your skin needs gentle exfoliation and deep hydration to restore its smooth texture.

4. Redness and Irritation
Damaged skin barriers are more susceptible to irritation, leading to redness and discomfort. This can be exacerbated by environmental factors, harsh skincare products, or even stress. Using gentle, soothing products can help reduce irritation and support skin barrier recovery.

5. Fine Lines and Wrinkles
While some fine lines and wrinkles are a natural part of aging, a sudden increase in their visibility can be a sign of dehydration and a damaged skin barrier. Dehydrated skin can accentuate these lines, making them more pronounced. Hydrating the skin can help plump it up and reduce the appearance of these lines.

How Can You Protect and Repair Your Skin Barrier?

Understanding how to protect and repair your skin barrier is crucial for maintaining a healthy complexion. Here are some key strategies:

1. Apply Sunscreen Daily
The top rule for a healthy skin barrier is daily sunscreen application. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and avoid sun exposure when the UV index is highest (from 10 am to 4 pm). We recommend Serve & Protect, the world’s first SPF 50+ with ATP. This energy-enhancing sun protection moisturiser has a velvety texture that glides on smoothly, absorbs instantly, and dries matte. It offers very high UVA and UVB broad spectrum protection and includes ATP to prevent premature ageing.

2. Keep Skin Moisturised
Keeping your skin hydrated is essential for protecting the skin barrier. Drink plenty of water to hydrate internally and use skincare products with ingredients that retain moisture. Hyaluronic acid is particularly beneficial as it prevents transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Look for products with low, medium, and high molecular derivatives of hyaluronic acid. These derivatives support cellular communication and help your skin function optimally. Hydrate and Inflate, and HA3 Serum are great options that contain three hyaluronic acid derivatives.

3. Look for Antioxidant-Rich Ingredients
Protect your skin from environmental stressors by incorporating antioxidants into your diet and skincare routine. Antioxidants combat free radicals and reduce the visible signs of aging caused by oxidative damage. Ingredients like Vitamin C, resveratrol, green and white tea, and Kakadu plum provide potent antioxidant benefits. We recommend Solution From Pollution Serum, which is formulated without oil to avoid breakouts and is suitable for anyone aiming to slow skin ageing.

4. Choose Ethically-Formulated Skincare
Avoid harsh ingredients that can disrupt your skin barrier. Instead, opt for skin-compatible biomimetic active ingredients. These ingredients infuse the skin with nutrients that enhance its health and fortify its barrier. Results may be slow and steady, but they lead to long-lasting improvements. Be cautious of counterfeit cosmetics that may contain harmful ingredients and won’t benefit your skin barrier.

5. Protect the Skin Microbiome
Maintaining a balanced skin microbiome is key to a healthy skin barrier. The microbiome is a community of bacteria on the skin’s surface, and environmental stressors can disturb it, leading to dry, dull, and reactive skin. Use products like Revive Moisturiser, which contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics to restore balance and enhance luminosity. Key ingredients like Fensebiome boost the skin’s defense system and promote a diverse, healthy microbiome.

For personalised advice on the best products for your skin type and concerns, book a consultation with Natalie, Skin Expert at Slow Beauty Eco Salon.

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