Your skin is your largest organ and shield from the external environment. Your skin barrier helps protect what's inside of your body as well as controlling what can come inside. Being extremely delicate, the skin barrier can easily become damaged. Many people may assume they have sensitive skin when in reality it's just a damaged skin barrier. A damaged skin barrier won't be waiting for a miracle to happen.
Major signs of a damaged skin barrier could be...
- Redness or inflammation
- Sensitivity during application of skincare
A weak or damaged skin barrier cannot lock in moisture, leaving your skin feeling dry or tight. It will also easily cause bacteria or any other irritants to penetrate the skin.
Causes towards a damaged skin barrier could be...
- Harsh products (eg. alcohols)
- Sun exposure/ sun burn
- Lack of sleep
Some problems like sun exposure or aging are unavoidable, however, with a bit of work it can be improved. Start by checking your skincare routine. Have you added a new step or product to your routine and if so was there such an ingredient that could have irritated your skin? Stay away from sulfates, parabens, alcohols and highly active ingredients as they will not help with recovering the skin barrier. AHA, BHA and pure vitamin C are just a few to name.
How to recover from damaged skin barrier
Step 1 - Start by using a gentle cleanser that will not strip out moisture from your skin. I personally recommend the Heimish Green Foam Cleanser as it is not only gentle and doesn't leave the skin feeling tight, but also helps balance the pH level of your skin, ultimately helping your skin work at its optimum.
Step 2 - Next is to use a mild toner. As mentioned before, avoid ones which contain alcohol as it will dry out the skin. I personally recommend the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner as it is formulated with just seven clean ingredients which are great for those with sensitive and dry skin.
Step 3 - Moisturising the skin is the most essential part of recovering a damaged skin barrier. Ceramides and antioxidants are the key ingredients you should be looking for in this step. Ceramides actually exist within your skin and hold skin cells together to form a protective layer which helps retain moisture within your skin. Niacinamide is a great antioxidant that improves barrier function and reduces water loss to your skin. Additionally, Niacinamide is well known to even out skin tone. I personally recommend the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream. The 5-cera complex (ceramides) deeply moisturises and strengthens the skin barrier.
Step 4 - Lastly but most importantly, during the day, sunscreen is a MUST. A cause to a damaged skin barrier is UV rays and thus to prevent more damage sunscreen is a no-brainer. I recommend the Round Lab 365 Derma Relief Sunscreen. Due to its mild ingredients, it's great for people with sensitive skin types. Check out a more detailed review for this product in the HI-LOG section.
A damaged skin barrier may sound hard to revive however it's easier than you think and totally fixable! Everyone's skin types and needs are different and the only way to find out what fits you personally is by trying. No matter what type of product you’re trying out, give it some time. Most products should be constantly used for AT LEAST a month to see results (unless it caused irritation or major breakouts). Healthy skin doesn’t appear overnight but once you find your own routine, sooner or later your skin will be GLOWING.