Is Your Skins Moisture Barrier Damaged?
You have undoubtedly come across the words' moisture barrier' when reading about skincare or what particular products can do. The questions you might have are; – What is a moisture barrier? How how do you know if the moisture barrier is damaged? And how can you protect it/fix it?
We answer all these questions below.
What is a moisture barrier?
Basically our skin's bodyguard, the skins moisture barrier is the outermost layer of the skin that helps to retain water and moisture as well as defending against external irritants by keeping the good stuff in and the bad out. This essential barrier made up of lipids (oils) that bind skin cells together; it is responsible for keeping our skin feeling healthy, smooth and dewy.
How can you tell if the moisture barrier is damaged?
When you lose the skin's protective barrier, tiny, invisible cracks will start to occur on the surface of the skin. These cracks allow moisture to escape and irritants to enter. When this happens, you will notice signs of redness or inflammation, flakiness, itchiness, dehydration and even acne flare-ups.
How did my moisture barrier get damaged?
The skins moisture barrier can get compromised in several ways. There is a fine line between cleaning your skin and keeping it healthy and cleaning your skin and accidentally damaging your moisture barrier. With the rise of exfoliating products, these can be a big one that can damage your moisture barrier. Synthetic based gel cleansers can strip your skin from these good oils that are needed to keep the barrier healthy. Alcohol-based products can also cause barrier damage as well as, pollution, environmental stressors, sun exposure, aging and genetics.
What do I do when my moisture barrier is damaged?
Getting your moisture barrier back into good health is not easy, but it is definitely not impossible. When realise you have damaged your moisture barrier act quickly!
The first step is to assess your skin care routine to find the source of the problem. Have you been having these issues for a while? Have you recently tried a new product?
Next, peel back your skin routine using only simple and gentle products until the barrier is repaired. Here are some ways to do that.
Cut your exfoliation right back.
When you exfoliate too often, you strip off the skins moisture barrier guaranteeing that moisture will escape, leading to inflammation, the skin feeling tight and dry and looking more aged. When trying to fix the moisture barrier, it is best to stop exfoliating for a couple of weeks, then very slowly working them back in when your skin starts to feel better.
Avoid hot water.
Hot water strips healthy natural oils from your skin and dilates the capillaries. Use lukewarm water only as this will help keep your moisture barrier intact.
Gentle cleansers only when washing your face.
Cut out the foaming cleanser while working towards fixing the moisture barrier. The aim is to clean but not strip and irritate.
Make sure you have the right ingredients in your moisturiser.
Moisturisers are one of the key things to getting your barrier back in good shape. Look for ingredients that mimic the lipids found in the skin.
- Sunflower Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Cranberry Oil
- Tocopherol (vitamin E)
- Jojoba Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Sesame Seed Oil
- Carrot Oil
- Shea Butter