You’ve probably heard the buzz words ‘damaged skin barrier’ being thrown around recently, but you may be unfamiliar with what your skin barrier actually is and how it can become damaged. Your skin barrier plays a pivotal role in keeping your skin healthy and looking its best, so knowing how to look after it is actually pretty important. Read on to learn about your skin barrier and get the scoop on some of the best products out there for repairing it.
What is your skin barrier?
Your skin barrier is the top layer of your skin – basically the barrier between the outside world and all the good nutrients and other materials that help build up your outer layer. Your skin barrier is also often called a moisture barrier.
This skin barrier is pretty incredible when you think about it. It's got two main jobs. One is to provide the first layer of protection from all the nasties floating about, whether it be dirt and debris, low-level toxins (like smog and other pollution) and even UV rays. The other major role is to keep the good stuff in, including the all-important moisture.
Think of your skin barrier as the bouncer at Club You. When that bouncer goes off-duty, who knows what will make its way through the velvet ropes.
How do you know you have a damaged skin barrier?
Chances are you are quite familiar with the signs of a damaged skin barrier, even if you didn't necessarily realise that's exactly what was going on. Seeing as the skin barrier is the outer layer of your skin, it's no wonder issues associated with its damage are easy to see and recognise.
Signs of a damaged skin barrier include:
- Flaky skin
- Itchy skin
- Dehydrated skin
- Sensitive skin
What causes a damaged skin barrier?
Your skin barrier can become damaged in a number of ways, but is often attributed to overuse of skincare products or ingredients that are too harsh. Cleansing your skin too often or with drying products can strip the skin of its natural oils, resulting in barrier damage.
Similarly, overdoing it with exfoliating scrubs, acids or acne treatments can disrupt your skin barrier. Less is often more when it comes to these products, so we recommend that you always follow usage guidelines and take a break from active ingredients and harsh products if you notice signs of barrier damage.
8 of the best products for repairing your damaged skin barrier
Getting your hands on the right skincare products shouldn't be a barrier to entry to the Strong Skin Barrier Society (SSBS). Ok, we'll work on the name, but trust us when we say it's definitely a group you want to be part of! Here are seven of the best products for getting your skin barrier back on track.
One of the best ways to put pep in your skin barrier step is by adding some powerful peptide products to your skincare routine. These crafty cosmeceuticals sit comfortably in the zone between a pharmaceutical-grade product and your everyday cosmetics. Peptides are amino acids that make up the building blocks for proteins like collagen and keratin, which means they are great for strengthening and repairing a damaged skin barrier. The Copper PCA Peptides Serum from Medik8 can help you enjoy a bunch of peptide benefits, including protection from free radicals that can break down your barrier. Plus, patented Copper PCA delivers incredible antioxidant power.
As the name suggests, the cult-fave Ceramidin Cream is packed full of ceramides - lipids that promote cellular function and form a barrier to protect your skin from moisture loss and damage. Basically, ceramides already exist in your skin and are involved in healthy skin barrier functions, so getting a boost through ceramide-rich skincare is a no-brainer if your skin barrier is damaged! Pop this cream on as the last step in your skincare routine to deliver intense moisture and protection all day and night.
Aspect is another brand that's firmly situated on the front line of the cosmeceutical skincare revolution. Any of the damaged skin barrier signs we highlighted can be acted on with the help of the right moisturiser for dry skin. Aspect's Phytostat 9 is one of the best for targeting skin barrier repair. It's got this neat little peptide called ChroNOline™, which can help pump up your collagen production and strengthen and repair your busted up skin barrier. This sensitive skin moisturiser is great for those looking to care for maturing skin or those who are becoming too familiar with dry, tight skin.
If you're not across the phenomenon that is Korean skincare, we have you covered with this handy beginner's guide. One of the reasons K beauty is having such a moment is because its products can be so healthy for your skin, particularly damaged or sensitive skin. innisfree is one of the best names in natural Korean skincare, and their Orchid Intense Cream is a great example of why. This moisturiser is packed with ingredients like hyaluronic acid (a moisturising skin hero in its own right) and features a smooth, luxurious texture that coats the skin in protective goodness.
If you know us at all you know we are obsessed with all things asap, and this Soothing Gel is certainly one reason why. This cooling, calming skin hero calls upon ingredients like aloe vera, sage, pepper berry and white tea to target the inflammation and redness on your face that can be a telltale sign your skin barrier is in strife. While it gels well with all skin types, it can be especially helpful for those with acne-prone skin.
This cream from Avéne is definitely a major plus for your routine, and its C+ Restore ingredient gets an A+ from us. The smart cookies at Avéne spent heaps of time researching everything that goes into the human microbiome (which is basically a collection of all the tiny little bits that sit in and on our bodies) and the healing of the skin. They then used those findings to develop C+ Restore to help put that microbiome to work with skin repair. This protective cream will prove to be just what the doctor ordered if you have a skin barrier in need.
Rosacea on your face can have you seeing red in more ways than one. Don't even get us started on rosacea with acne, which is the facial equivalent of stubbing your toe and spilling your drink at the same time – a real double whammy of misery. Luckily for you, Bioderma has created the Sensibio AR Cream, a sensitive skin saviour that is perfect for those with rosacea. Using this every day can help soothe that burning red, inflamed feeling you get and have you going from rosacea to rosy-cheeked (in a good way) in no time.
We couldn’t round out this list without another Aspect recommendation! If you have a damaged skin barrier, it can be tough to find a cleanser that doesn’t add to the problem. As we know, cleansing your skin too often or with a harsh cleanser can strip your skin of natural oils and cause dryness and irritation. Of course, you’re still going to want to cleanse your skin on the regular if you want to avoid other skin concerns like blackheads and blemishes. The Aspect Gentle Facial Cleanser melts away and removes makeup, oil and dead skin cells without drying out the skin. Free of harsh chemicals, this face wash is great at keeping moisture in and nasties out.
As you can see there's no need to suffer in silence if you feel like your skin barrier is cracking under the pressure of everyday life. From serums to moisturisers, creams to cleansers, we've got what you need. Flaky skin? Sensitive skin? Dehydrated skin? Tackle it all by showing some love to your skin barrier with the help of Oz Hair & Beauty.