Have you ever heard of the skin barrier? It may sound technical, but it’s an essential part of healthy skin. The skin barrier is a natural protective layer that keeps the skin moisturised and prevents irritants, pollution, and bacteria from entering the skin. When the skin barrier is compromised, it can result in dryness, redness, sensitivity, inflammation, and even acne. However, there are ways to improve your skin barrier function and keep your skin healthy and supple.
Skin barrier 101
The skin barrier is made up of lipids (fats), cholesterol, and fatty acids, that are held together by proteins. Think of it as a brick wall, with the lipids as the bricks and the proteins as the mortar. When the skin barrier wall is intact, it can prevent water loss and protect the skin from external aggressors. However, when the skin barrier is disrupted by factors like harsh skincare products, UV exposure, pollution, or over-exfoliation, it can lead to increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which can lead to dryness and flakiness.
One way to improve your skin barrier is to use products that contain skin barrier-friendly ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Hyaluronic acid, or HA, can help to improve skin hydration and plumpness, while niacinamide can help to brighten and calm the skin. Look for skincare products that are formulated with ingredients to help strengthen your skin barrier.
Another way to better your barrier is to avoid using harsh skincare products that can disrupt the skin’s natural balance. Many harsh products, like those containing alcohol or fragrance, can strip the skin of its natural oils and damage the skin barrier. Instead, opt for gentle cleansers, moisturisers, and SPF products that are designed for sensitive or dry skin types.
In addition to using products with barrier-boosting ingredients, there are other lifestyle habits you can adopt to help keep your skin barrier healthy. For example, incorporating a healthy diet that includes antioxidant-rich foods can help to protect the skin from environmental stressors. Drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep can also have a positive impact on your skin’s overall health. It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for bettering your skin barrier, as everyone’s skin is unique and has different needs.
Remember to listen to your skin and adjust your routine accordingly.