What is skin barrier damage?
Your skin barrier is your top-most layer of skin. It protects your skin from external threats, like free radicals and harsh environments. When it’s compromised, these nasties can get through, causing sad times for your skin.
Is my skin barrier damaged?
I’m so glad you asked. Let’s play a game of Symptom Bingo. If you ever experience just one of these symptoms: bingo, your barrier needs some TLC.
Do you experience:
- Redness or Rosacea: Find yourself flushing and blushing at spicy food, a cheeky glass of wine, an intense workout, or a slight breeze? If your skin gets irritated and red at you for existing, you can check yes for this one.
- Peeling: Feeling peely? Skin barriers often struggle to keep it together when they’re lacking in their natural fatty acids.
- Dryness and Tightness: Caused by a lack of oil, and characterised by the persistent appearance of scales, flakes, and tightness.
- Dehydration: Whilst this might feel a lot like dry skin, it’s actually caused by a lack of moisture. Pinch a small amount of skin on the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds. If it takes a few moments to bounce back, you’re likely dehydrated.
- Irritation: Rashy, bumpy, or stingy for no apparent reason? Say hello to general skin irritation.
- Reactions to products: Did that moisturiser that’s designed for super sensitive skin still leave you hot and stinging? If your skin is dramatically reacting to products, it might be because your skin barrier is having a diva moment.
- Increased breakouts: Feel like your skin has taken a one way ticket to zit town? When your skin barrier is damaged, it’s way easier for bacteria to infiltrate the skin and for acne to form.
- Eczema: Chronically dry and itchy, and chronically searching for a solution.
Said yes to one or more? Welcome to the damaged skin barrier club.
How has my skin barrier been damaged?
I know, I hear you: you have a consistent skin care routine, a silk pillowcase, and moisturise face-to-toe every day. So how on earth has your barrier been broken?
It’s not you, it’s… basically everything else in the world.
Common ways babes break their barriers include:
- Being somewhere too humid. Or too dry. This includes being overly friendly with heaters or air conditioners.
- Exposure to allergens, irritants, and pollutants. Think dust mites, hair dye, rubber gloves, cigarette smoke.
- Sun exposure, especially when you’re not wearing sunscreen and get sunburnt (break my heart why don’t you?). UV is a straight up bully to your skin barrier.
- Using alkaline detergents or soaps can throw out your skin pH, leaving your skin barrier in panic mode.
- Harsh chemicals, like dishwashing detergent, bleach, or acetone, can damage your skin barrier, even with a single exposure.
- Over-exfoliation and over-washing. There can be too much of a good thing, so give your skin a break from rubbing and scrubbing.
- Your medications may be making your skin sad if you’re fighting something off with antibiotics, steroids, or using an antifungal product.
- Don’t get me wrong, I love an active ingredient. But overusing actives, such as glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid can do more harm than good. Do more by using less.
- An at-home pamper sesh can be great, but using skincare tools incorrectly, like derma-rollers, facial cleansing brushes, or microdermabrasion kits, can do more DIY harm than good.
- Not using a moisturiser. Moisturisers hydrate and strengthen your skin barrier, no matter what skin type you have. Not using moisturiser is leaving your barrier to fend for itself without any defences.
- Your lifestyle choices play a part in your barrier health. Stress, smoking, your diet, or lack of sleep can also contribute to the state of your skin barrier.
How do I fix my skin barrier?
If your skin barrier is having performance issues, simplify your skin care routine. Focus on hydrating, nourishing, and strengthening products that help draw in moisture and keep it there.
Step 1: Cleanse gently. Use my Everyday Body Washes for your body, and my Charcoal Face Cleanser for your face.
Step 2: Hydrate deeply. My Hyaluronic Acid Body Serum can help here. Or my Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum for your face.
Step 3: Strengthen with ceramides. Like the ones in my Hyaluronic Acid Body Serum and my Super Ceramide Barrier Oil for top-to-toe strength.
Step 4: Lock in moisture. Moisturise moisturise moisturise. My Super Ceramide Night Cream is as the name suggests, super for your face. Or try one of my Everyday Body Lotions for your bod.
Step 5: Be kind to yourself. And your skin.