A strong and healthy skin barrier is the foundation of a great skin. But what does it really mean to have a strong skin barrier? Does it really matter?
Beauty Barn takes a dig at why it is so essential to boost your skin barrier. If you nurture it well, you can definitely build a strong skin barrier that will give you soft, supple, and healthy-looking skin.
UNDERSTANDING OUR SKIN’S NATURAL BARRIER
First of all, let us understand what a skin barrier is. A skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin, also known as the lipid layer. This is our first line of defence against the damaging pollutants, irritants, bacteria causing infection, and UV light. While defending against the harmful substances, it also works to lock in moisture, thus preventing water loss from the skin surface. The skin cells in the skin barrier are made up of ceramides or lipids, cholesterol, and free fatty acids that work in unison to protect our skin surface.
A healthy skin barrier can help you combat skin irritations, redness, and dryness. A clear, smooth, and happy skin indicates a strong skin barrier.
WHAT CAUSES DAMAGE TO THE SKIN BARRIER?
Many factors affect the natural barrier, causing various kinds of skin damage. Some of the culprits that can damage the skin barrier are cleansers with harsh chemicals, frequent hot baths, over-exfoliation, and overuse of products. Moderation is the keyword here. The lesser products you use, the safer your skin will be.
Stripping off the lipid barrier’s natural oils and good bacteria, leaving the inner layers exposed and vulnerable to the harsh environment, is what causes skin damage. Sometimes, stress and hormonal factors can also play a role in disrupting the skin barrier.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF DAMAGED BARRIER?
If your skin is oily and dehydrated at the same time, it indicates that your skin barrier has been compromised. And a damaged skin barrier means your skin is unable to lock in moisture, resulting in dehydrated skin. If the products that you are using start causing skin irritations, sensitivities, redness, or dryness, it means your skin is in trouble and crying for help.
HOW CAN I REPAIR MY DAMAGED SKIN BARRIER?
With a disrupted skin barrier, your skin has now become susceptible to a host of irritants that your barrier would have otherwise blocked from penetrating into the skin. These irritants can cause inflammation and other skin problems once they get into the skin surface. So, skip using any products with potential irritants that could further irritate your skin.
Finally, do not use products that dry out your skin at this stage. Use a very mild cleanser and limit your cleansing to just once a day.
HOW TO BUILD A STRONG SKIN BARRIER?
Always use products with mild ingredients that do not upset your skin barrier. Go for creams that contain ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.
Niacinamide helps to boost the skin barrier by increasing collagen production. Hyaluronic acid helps in maintaining the moisture level of the skin barrier.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REPAIR A DAMAGED BARRIER?
It depends on the level of damage and the skin type you have. For some people, it may heal sooner while it may take longer for others. It is possible to take about 2 weeks to a month to totally repair a damaged barrier.
When your skin starts healing, you will find that your skin is less sensitive. Redness, dryness, and inflammation will decrease. When your skin comes back to normal, you can start nourishing it by using very mild and gentle products.
Once your skin is healthy, your skin will be able to take in other products. Let your skin rest awhile and start a new and mild skin regime.