What causes skin barrier damage and how do i fix it?

What causes skin barrier damage and how do i fix it?

How to heal a compromised skin barrier

Is your skin feeling dry, tight and irritated? There’s one main cause that could be the reason for these frustrating skin conditions. Your skin’s protective moisture barrier may damaged and unfortunately, it’s a condition that can’t be cured by simply slathering on a thick layer of moisturiser. In this post we’ll explain exactly what the function of your skin barrier is and what could be causing your skin concerns. We’ll also share some handy tips that will ensure you’re able to repair your skin barrier, enabling your skin to look and feel its best!

What is skin barrier function

The skin’s barrier is the outermost layer or the Epidermis. Essentially, this layer of skin provides a waterproof barrier that works as a bodyguard for the skin. Keeping the good guys in and throwing the bad out! Our skin barrier is made up of lipids (oils) that bind our cells together. When the skin barrier is intact it keeps our complexion smooth, calm and hydrated. However, when this barrier has been broken down then you’ll begin seeing the following symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Rosacea
  • Peeling
  • Dryness (lack of oil
  • Dehydrated (lack of water)
  • Tightness
  • Irritation
  • Reactions to products
  • Increased breakouts
  • Eczema

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your skin’s barrier may be compromised and in need of repairing and strengthening.

What causes skin barrier damage?

  • Over exfoliating is the number one culprit
  • Overuse of active ingredients such as L-ascorbic Acid, Glycolic ,Lactic and Salicylic Acid
  • Acne medications/prescription retinoid
  • Alcohol based products
  • Not wearing sunscreen
  • Fragrances in skincare
  • Dry climates
  • Chemical peels (performed more often than needed)
  • At-home skin tools like dermarollers used incorrectly
  • Not using a moisturiser
  • Medications
  • Genetics
  • Ageing – our barrier starts to become weaker from our 40’s

Can a damaged skin barrier be repaired?

Yes, it can! The best thing you can do is keep your routine simple and use gentle healing products. Here are a few ways you can repair your barrier!

Stop exfoliating! At least for 2 weeks, then slowly re-introduce once a week and then increase again after 2 weeks. You should only need to exfoliate 2-3 times a week unless a professional has recommended otherwise. This also goes for your AHA/BHA serums and moisturisers.

Luke warm water only! And with a soft cloth like the asap deluxe facial cloth, washing your skin with hot water will dilate your capillaries and cause your skin barrier to become impaired.

Wear sunscreen! It’s known to be the skins ultimate protector from environmental damage such as UV rays! Read our guide to sunscreens here.

Use a gentle, calming cleanser – this is essential when healing your skin! It will still effectively remove makeup and impurities while also improving your skins barrier function.

Seeing a professional will really help guide you in the right direction as they can give you a true diagnosis and prescribe the key products your skin needs! They will also use professional grade products when performing facials to target those problem areas and speed up the healing process.

Using the right products with the right ingredients which mimic the natural lipids (oils) found in your skin will be the single best thing you can do to heal your barrier!

Bellow we have listed some core ingredients you should look for and also listed our tops products for healing and nourishing!

  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Squalane
  • Niacinamide
  • Borage Oil
  • Cranberry Seed oil
  • Crambe Seed Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Primrose Oil
  • Zinc
  • Ceramides
  • Aloe Vera
  • Orange Peel Oil
  • White and Green Tea
  • Vitamin E
  • Shea Butter
  • Vitamin B5 and 9
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (coconut/palm oil fatty acid)

The best products to heal a damaged skin barrier

  1. Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser 
  2. asap Gentle Cleansing Gel 
  3. Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser 
  4. asap Super B Complex 
  5. Dermalogica Barrier Defense Booster 
  6. Medik8 Calmwise Serum 
  7. Dermalogica Ultracalming Barrier Repair
  8. Medik8 Ultimate Recovery Intense
  9.  asap Ultimate Hydration 
  10. Thalgo Cold Cream Marine SOS Soothing Mask

Our skin is truly incredible and tells us a lot, so make sure you listen and invest in the right combination of products to get your skin back on track. In doing so you will begin to see your skin starting to heal, this can take 2-4 weeks, for some even quicker!

We really hope you found this post helpful and we know your skin will get back to looking smoother, calmer and hydrated in no time!



Beauty Editor

A coffee addicted, YouTube obsessed Libran, I absolutely live and breathe all things beauty! I love to try new products and find myself switching things up regularly, as I continue on my ultimate quest to find the perfect flawless base and skin-care regime.

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