🌾What is your skin barrier?
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of many layers that your skin comprises. Your skin barrier is very important, serving as a “barrier” for any harmful toxins, allergens, or environmental irritants. It also retains moisture and your natural oils crucial for the maintenance of healthy skin. Here are a few ways you can identify and prevent damage, as well as protect your skin barrier.
🥀How do you know if your skin barrier is damaged?
Your skin barrier can appear damaged, which can be identified in the following skin symptoms and conditions:
- Dry/flaking/rough skin
- Itchy/sensitive skin
- Skin infections
- Burning/stinging when applying inactive ingredients
🌼What causes skin barrier damage?
Your skin barrier can be damaged if you strip your natural skin barrier of its naturally-producing oils. It can also become damaged by environmental conditions. Here are some examples:
- An extreme environment (Humidity, dry, high/low temperatures)
- Excessive sun exposure or damage from UV rays
- Washing your face with overly hot or cold water
- Frequent face washing
- Using too many active ingredients or more frequently than suggested
- Harsh chemicals
- Poor sleep schedule/mental distress
- Genetic skin conditions
🌻How can you protect your skin barrier and prevent damage?
If you’re experiencing complications with your skin barrier, the regulation of things you apply topically and the way you take care of your skin is principal. Here, we’ve compiled the best solutions you can do to protect and maintain the health of your epidermis.
Your skin is made up of 64% water, making it a requirement to preserve this moisture for the prime function of your skin. This is critical for the skin barrier to combat and protects you from harmful toxins or free radicals. Moisturizers such as lotions, creams, and serums that contain humectants (like glycerin and hyaluronic acid) are excellent ways to retain this moisture. Ceramides, which make up 50% of your skin epidermis, are also beneficial for the maintenance of your skin barrier. Providing your skin with its own components assists with the strengthening of its integrality and structural integrity. Hydration, in turn, also promotes youthful, plump skin.
Sunscreen and protection against UV rays
Sun damage is one of the leading causes of skin barrier damage. This is due to the UV rays’ ability to oxidize ceramides and natural lipids in your skin epidermis, essentially leading to a dehydrated and weakened barrier. These rays not only perform topical harm but also harm the deeper layers of your skin, damaging or killing skin cells. To combat this, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (which protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher daily.
Simplify your skincare routine
If your skincare routine is filled with many steps and a variety of products, this can prove to be damaging to your skin barrier. Over-exfoliation and frequent use of harsh products, for example, AHA/BHA, can strip your skin of natural oils, making it irritated and sensitive. Use of these products should be minimal, only using them a few times a week. Expert officials also mention that removing unnecessary steps in your routine can also prove more effective compared to a large routine.
Monitor pH levels
Your skin’s pH hovers at 4.7 to 5.7. Since skincare products can range from a pH of 3.7 to 8.2, using products that stray away from your normal pH too often can be damaging. Therefore, washing your face with water and products that have a similar pH to your natural pH is a healthy habit for your skin.
antioxidants are essential for protecting skin against environmental stressors such as free radicals, UV rays, and pollution. The most popular antioxidants used in a number of skincare products include vitamins E and C, retinol, niacinamide, and green tea.
Certain plant oils like shea butter, rosehip, jojoba oil, etc. can also help with repairing and replenishing the skin barrier and increase the retention of moisture. These oils also have other beneficial factors like killing bacteria and anti-inflammation. Ensure that the oils you apply to your face have a higher linoleic acid to oleic acid ratio. Oils with more oleic acid may be harmful to your skin barrier. If you have dry skin, this would be a good addition to your skincare routine. For oily or combination skin, make sure to use oils in your routine moderately.