Why the Skin Barrier is Important!

Before becoming an esthetician I was rough on my skin. I would use harsh exfoliants and products often. I thought the burn my skin felt was a good thing. I thought the more I stripped my skin the better it would look. When my skin didn’t improve but worsened I blamed my skin. It wasn’t until I learned about the skin barrier that I began to realize there might be another factor.

How does the skin barrier work?

The skin barrier is located at the stratum corneum in the uppermost layer of the skin. This layer is made up of corneocytes, keratin, ceramides, cholesterols and fatty acids. It protects the body’s water balance and defends against environmental damage.

When the skin barrier is damaged your skin may become dehydrated, dry and cracked as a damaged skin barrier has more water loss. Your skin may also become sensitive or more sensitive. Even products you have always used can become irritating. This can lead to other conditions like acne and redness. It is also important to note that no amount of anti-aging products will be of value if the skin barrier is not healthy first.

There are many ways your skin barrier can become damaged such as stress, harsh environments, extreme temperatures, using harsh ingredients, exfoliating using harsh tools/chemicals and over exfoliating. These are just a few examples.

In most cases the skin barrier can be repaired especially in mild cases. If your skin barrier is damaged from years of neglect it may take longer to repair. Here are some things you can do to work towards repairing your skin barrier. The more you do these practices the better the chance of seeing improvement overall!

Cut down on exfoliants and wash face with cool water twice a day or less. Use products with ingredients that strengthen the skin barrier such as vitamin C, jojoba oil, shea butter, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and more. Use a spf to protect from sun damage. A healthy lifestyle and managing stress is also great for barrier repair. Last remember that less is more. The key is to allow your skin to heal as naturally as possible. This is why it’s best to avoid what keeps it from it’s natural state.

When repairing your skin barrier remember to stay consistent and be patient. Timing can be different for everyone when it comes to barrier repair. A licensed skin professional can help you get on the right track especially with the right products for your skin.

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