Your Skin Barrier: What Is It and Why It Matters?
If you’ve been in the skincare world for a while now, you’ve probably heard people talking about our skin barrier. And while this isn’t a term most of us know by heart, its importance cannot be understated. Below, we’re deep diving on what the heck is the skin barrier and why it’s so important to maintain.
What is the Skin Barrier?
Our skin is divided into three primary layers: the outer, thinnest layer known as the epidermis, the thick middle layer called the dermis, and the bottom subcutaneous fatty layer. The upper most layer of the epidermis—the stratum corneum—is what our body uses as its primary defense against pollution, UV rays, toxins, water loss, inflammation, irritation, and infection, making it our skin barrier.
Our skin barrier is made of tightly bound cells that bond together thanks to skin-friendly fats from ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids, as well as the protein filaggrin that helps skin stay moisturized. Think of the skin barrier as a sturdy brick wall, that when it’s functioning and held together, ensures the good stuff stays in (aka hydration and moisture) and the bad stuff stays out (like bacteria and toxins).
What Causes a Damaged Skin Barrier?
There are many factors that contribute to a damaged skin barrier. For some people, it’s a result of genetic conditions like eczema that leave the skin barrier weakened and more prone to inflammation. Weakened skin barrier function can also be from external factors like getting too much sunlight and exposing your skin to free radicals and harsh UV rays, or dry air in the wintertime (both indoor and outdoor) that leaves skin super dehydrated.
A damaged skin barrier can also be the result of—ourselves. Yep, you heard that right. Partaking in a skincare routine that’s too abrasive (aka over washing and over exfoliating your skin) or using products that are too irritating for you can also lead to a weakened skin barrier.
Signs of a Damaged Skin Barrier
The skin barrier is responsible for keeping skin healthy and well-functioning, so when the barrier is disrupted or weakened, we’re likely to get the hint that something is wrong. A basic tell-tale sign that your skin barrier might be damaged is if your skin looks and feels differently than it normally does. It could feel dry, flaky, itchy, or you might experience sensitivity, redness, and inflammation. Which is bad enough, but on top of that, a weakened skin barrier function also means you’re more prone to infections or rashes.
How to Repair Your Skin Barrier
The good news is that a weakened or damaged skin barrier isn’t irreversible. Though it will take some time to rebuild and restrengthen, with a solid skincare routine, your skin barrier should start to feel like its normal self within two to four weeks.
So how can you improve your skin barrier? Moisture! Including moisturizing ingredients and products into your routine is essential. You’ll want to look for products that contain humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin) to draw water into the skin, emollients (like shea butter and plant-based oils) to seal in hydration, and ceramides to help rebuild the stratum corneum.
You’ll also want to stay clear of the exfoliants and stronger actives like retinoids for a couple of weeks, and focus instead on gentle facial cleansers, hydrating serums, and nourishing moisturizers.
Choosing the Right Barrier Protection Products
When selecting a skin barrier product, consider your skin type and concerns. Those with dry or mature skin might look for richer creams with a high concentration of ceramides and fatty acids, while oily or acne-prone skin types may benefit from lighter lotions or serums that focus on repair and protection without clogging pores.
Incorporating into Your Routine
Integrating skin barrier protection into your routine doesn't require a complete overhaul. It can be as simple as applying a serum or moisturizer designed to strengthen the barrier each morning and night. Always remember, the final step in your morning routine should be sunscreen, the ultimate barrier protector.
Here are some of our favorite products for soothing and repairing a damaged skin barrier:
ZERAFITE Wrinkle Defense Barrier Cream A luxurious anti-aging cream that contains the optimal lipid ratio of ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol to help repair and strengthen the skin barrier. This nourishing cream helps to improve the appearance of skin tone, texture, fine lines and wrinkles. Infused with potent antioxidants to fight against environmental stressors.
ZERAFITE Skin Brightening Barrier Cream formulated to brighten and even skin tone, effectively addressing hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Experience a noticeably brighter, more uniform skin tone with regular use.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser A super gentle formula that cleanses skin while reinforcing the skin barrier and keeping skin hydrated and pH-balanced.
VMV HYPOALLERGENICS Moisture Rich Creammmy Cleansing Milk for Dry Skin This gentle, moisturizing cream facial cleanser is full of nourishing, hypoallergenic ingredients that prevent flaking and alleviate discomfort, tightness, and other symptoms of a damaged skin barrier.
ClarityRx Feel Better Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Cream Filled with hydrating, conditioning ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalene, jojoba seed oil, and apricot kernel oil, this face cream keeps skin feeling moisturized and soothed.
Osmosis Skincare Tropical Mango Barrier Repair Mask is a face mask that will hydrate, aid in repairing the lipid barrier, calm, and soothe the skin.
Skin barrier protection products are not just another trend in the ever-evolving skincare industry; they are a fundamental element of any regimen. They work to ensure that the skin's natural defenses are supported, allowing it to look and function at its best. By prioritizing the health of your skin barrier, you're investing in the long-term appearance and vitality of your skin.
Remember, a strong barrier is the foundation of beautiful skin, and with these products in your arsenal, you're well on your way to achieving a complexion that's not only beautiful but resilient.
When you shop at Exclusive Beauty Club, you have dozens of products to choose from to protect your skin barrier. All of our products are authentic and have been rigorously tested and backed by scientists and dermatologists. Start looking today and get rewards like free shipping on orders over $50, free samples with every order, and, most importantly, healthy skin.