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Signs of a Damaged Skin Barrier & What to Do About It


Damaged Skin Barrier

Wondering why your skin is lacking that beautiful, dewy glow? A damaged skin barrier could be to blame! Today, we want to talk about how to know if your skin barrier is damaged, what exactly causes it, and tips about skin barrier damage repair using the right products (and ingredients). Read on to learn more about all things skin barriers.   

What is the skin barrier? 

The skin barrier is the outer most part of your epidermis (skin!) and acts as a wall to protect your skin from damage, bacteria, environmental aggressors and more. Think of it like “brick and mortar”, where your skin cells make up the bricks, and your skin barrier is the mortar.  

What is a damaged skin barrier?  

If you’ve researched skin care, you’ve probably read a bit about wanting to avoid damaging your skin barrier. When your skin’s moisture barrier is damaged, the lipid matrix (fats and oils within your skin) isn’t as taut as it should be. This can lead to gaps in your skin barrier. What does that mean? It makes it harder to keep germs and irritants out of your skin—and it also does a bad job of preventing water loss from your skin.  

3 Common Damaged Skin Barrier Symptoms  

So what exactly are the telltale signs of a damaged skin barrier? Here are some of the most common symptoms.  

Acne 

Believe it or not, blemishes can be a sign of a damaged skin barrier. The bacteria that leads to acne can penetrate the skin more easily.  

Dry Skin 

Your skin experiences trans epidermal water loss when your skin barrier is compromised. In other words, the moisture in your skin essentially exits stage left and evaporates. This leaves your skin with signs of dryness. These can include a rough texture, flakiness or tightness. Dullness is another sign of a compromised moisture barrier, related to dryness.  

Skin Sensitivity

An imbalance of lipids in the skin barrier, causing a skin barrier disruption, could lead to sensitive skin.  

What causes damage to the skin barrier? 

You might be surprised to know that the main causes of damage to the skin barrier come from everyday life and habits. Here are some of the most common culprits.  

Over-cleansing  

Skincare mistakes like cleansing your skin too much or too often can have an effect on your skin barrier. If you cleanse your skin too often or with harsh ingredients, you can strip your skin of its natural oils. One way to figure out if you may be doing this is if your skin feels squeaky clean—or tight—after your face wash step. This could disrupt your skin barrier’s lipid matrix. You want to avoid washing your skin to the point where it feels tight after.  

Skin Conditions 

Skin concerns like atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) can be associated with a weak skin barrier. That keeps your skin barrier from functioning well. Eczema can be a genetic skin condition, and a severely damaged skin barrier can develop if skin is not treated properly.  

Age 

Age is also a contributor to skin barrier damage, as your ability to produce oil decreases over time. It becomes more difficult to replenish the oils that are essential to your skin barrier’s integrity. 

How to repair skin barrier damage 

When you want to repair a damaged skin barrier, there are things you can stop doing and start doing to see and feel relief.  

Simplify Your Skincare Routine 

Invest in products and ingredients that help support the health of your skin barrier. Ingredients that are good to use for your skin’s moisture barrier include Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides and Ceramides. Hyaluronic Acid is a molecule that occurs naturally in the skin and can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It binds water to collagen to keep it in the skin. Peptides are short chains of amino acids, which act as building blocks of proteins—like collagen, keratin and elastin. Ceramides are lipids found naturally in the upper layers of skin and help form a protective layer that limits moisture loss.  

Protect Your Skin

Besides nourishing your skin, you need to protect it every day. SPF protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays, which directly damage your skin barrier and cause irritation. Choose a sunscreen of at least 30+ to ensure your skin is protected, and use sunscreen every day as the last step in your daily skincare routine. Whether you opt for a chemical or physical sunscreen, the most important thing is that you find one that you’ll use.  

Hydrate

Never forget the power of H20! Water works wonders on the skin barrier from the inside out. By drinking your recommended daily water intake and utilizing hydrating formulas directly on the skin’s surface, you give skin a chance to reboot, replenish and regenerate.  

Best Products for a Damaged Skin Barrier 

You want to go easy on the exfoliation if you have a severely damaged skin barrier. Use serums and creams every morning and night for best results, especially when trying to repair a severely damaged barrier. Use products as directed, and remember to seek advice from your dermatologist when nec.  

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Skin Barrier

A morning and evening skincare routine with products that include the proper ingredients will help repair skin barrier damage. Maintain your healthy skin barrier by sticking to your routine and adjusting products and ingredients as needed. Use the tips throughout this article to help guide you towards a healthy, strong skin barrier! 

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