“Skin barrier damage” might seem like a phrase that was coined just to make you worry about another aspect of your skin. But trust us, it is a real thing, and a healthy skin barrier really is the key to getting the best skin you possibly can get.
What is the skin barrier?
It is essentially the outermost layer of your skin consisting of skin cells and protein-based substances that hold the cells together like glue. This layer of skin acts like a security guard, which blocks out intruders that are bad for your skin like pollution, smoke, UV and harmful substances, so that the skin can function well.
What damages the skin barrier?
Harsh products with irritating ingredients in high amounts, harmful environmental pollutants, overexposure to UV, drastic temperature changes, internal and external stress and even lack of sleep can adversely affect the skin’s barrier function. These factors weaken the barrier and cause the skin to react.
What happens when the skin’s barrier is damaged?
Signs like skin tightness, dryness, redness, itching and sensitised skin all point to a damaged skin barrier. Sensitised skin is different from sensitive skin. The latter is a skin type and can be clinically diagnosed as eczema, psoriasis or similar conditions, while the former – sensitised skin – is a result of a damaged skin barrier.
How to repair a damaged skin barrier
Cut down on exfoliating skincare treatments like scrubs and peels and curb the use of harsh ingredients, such as salicylic acid and lathering agents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), until your skin has healed. Avoid using water that’s too hot when washing your skin and limit washing to a maximum of twice a day. To nurture your skin’s barrier back to health, use skincare with ingredients including glycerin, ceramides and squalane – these are known to replenish moisture levels and rebuild the skin barrier.
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