Skincare 101: What is the skin barrier, why is it important, and how can you take care of it in a way that will leave you with strong, healthy, and youthful skin?
We've all read the words "skin barrier" countless times on our skincare journey, but have you ever wondered what exactly is this thing called the skin barrier?
A skin barrier is a combination of skin cells and lipids. Its main job is to act as the gatekeeper for what goes into the skin, as well as what goes outside of the skin from inside.
When this delicate barrier becomes damaged, its permeability increases, meaning that it allows more of the bad stuff, like allergens and irritants, to get inside your skin and more of the good stuff, like hydration, to leave your skin.
If your skin barrier is damaged, there are several skin issues that you may experience, including:
- Skin that is both overly greasy and dehydrated
- Dry, flaky, and itchy skin
- Acne, pimples, and/or redness
- Skin that's easily irritated and stings when using conventional skincare products
Now that you understand a bit more about how the skin barrier works, here are seven practical ways that you can prevent your skin barrier from becoming damaged or allowing it to heal if there are already signs that it's damaged:
💦 Beware of cleansers that are too harsh, such as foaming cleansers, as they strip your skin of its natural moisture. Instead, use a non-foaming face wash to gently cleanse away impurities and potential irritants
🌡️ Wash your skin with lukewarm water, instead of extremely hot or cold water. Washing your skin with water that's too hot or too cold damages your skin barrier, so it's best to wash with lukewarm water because it's closest to your skin's natural temperature
⚖️ Moderation is key: don't over-wash your face (or overdo anything with your skincare routine, for that matter) and don't introduce new skincare ingredients too often
🧴 Acne treatments/medications tend to weaken the skin barrier, thus causing it to become more vulnerable and dry. If you do take these medications, make sure to hydrate even more often and with a thicker, more powerful moisturizing cream, like this one
👃 Avoid potential irritants and allergens, like products with fragrances and essential oils. Try using this cream if you want a moisturizer that's 100% scent-free, or if you still want to have a soothing scent in your moisturizer, try this hypoallergenic Yuzu fruit-scented cream.
☀️ Use sunscreen daily to prevent further damage
🐟 Increase your intake of omega-3 rich foods (i.e. walnuts, chia seeds, and fish) to help your skin become healthier and more elastic