The skin barrier is the extremely vital uppermost layer of your skin. This layer shields your skin from all of the potential problems that comes its way – from pollution, dirt, toxic chemicals, infection and UV rays. When our skin barrier is damaged, it’s shield-like properties are weakened. Our skin therefore becomes more vulnerable, often causing instant reactions such as sensitivity, dryness and becomes redder in appearance. It is said that people with naturally clear and balanced skin, have a good healthy skin barrier!
So how do we damage our skin barrier?
There are a number of different causes and triggers of a damaged skin barrier, and the symptoms are often uncomfortable due to the irritation and tight feeling of the skin. These causes can include:
OVER CLEANSING – Too much cleansing can strip your skin of the natural moisture that your skin barrier provides. This can also be from using cleanser with ingredients that are too harsh, or from using water that is too hot.
SUN DAMAGE – Without protection on the skin, UV rays can damage the skin barrier and cause it to become sensitised. Changes to climate and extreme weather can also make an impact.
OVER-EXFOLIATION – Exfoliating your skin with a physical exfoliator/scrub (such as one with microbeads) causes direct damage to the top layer of your skin, breaking down the barrier. Chemical exfoliants can still be used in moderation, but limited to once a week.
AGE – As you get older, your skin barrier naturally weakens.
POLLUTION – Chemicals in work environments, smog, polluted air and other fumes can impact the health of your skin barrier.
HARSH SKINCARE INGREDIENTS – Using skincare products containing harsh ingredients effect your barrier’s overall health, these include artificial fragrances, colorants, alcohol and preservatives.
NUTRITION – A general poor diet can affect your barrier, but spicy foods can also contribute.
How can we make our skin barrier healthy again?
GO BACK TO BASICS – Over complicated skincare routines add to the list of chemicals your skin is dealing with on a daily basis. Focus on simple and nurturing skincare that allows your skin to rebuild itself.
NO SCRUBS – As mentioned above, scrubs / physical exfoliators cause your skin’s barrier to become directly weakened, which causes your skin to develop problems. A similar effect can be caused by using brushes or cleansing cloths that are too harsh for the skin.
THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS – Avoid harsh astringents such as alcohol or witch hazel, as this will only contribute to the weakening of skin and sensitivity reactions. Artificial ingredients are also important to avoid such as fragrances, colorants and preservatives.
KEEP IT COOL – Cleanse your skin with tepid water, and don’t put your face under the shower. Hot water will strip the skin.
WEAR SPF – One of the easiest and most important ways to protect your skin’s barrier is by wearing a daily SPF. This will help to protect your skin from the environmental factors that it comes across on regular basis.
Rember, Hydrated Skin is Happy Skin!