Do you think your skin is just a layer of thin stretchable material covering your body? Well, it is so much more than that! Your skin is composed of many layers, and the outermost layer of this very skin acts as a ‘skin barrier’.
What is the skin barrier?
The outermost layer of the skin, called the ‘epidermis, is known as the skin barrier. It is also known as the stratum corneum. Underneath the epidermis, there are the dermis layer and subcutaneous layers.
The skin barrier is in a brick and mortar form. There’s a “brick” wall that protects your skin from foreign particles like pollutants, toxins, bacteria, and viruses. This brick wall is bound together by lipids, which look like “mortars” when seen under a microscope.
This skin barrier protects your skin. But it also forms a layer of differentiation between the moisture in your skin, and the outside. If this barrier breaks, the water inside your skin will diffuse into the air and you'll become dehydrated faster. It also protects these deeper layers from foreign particles. If this barrier was to break, and toxins were to enter the skin, it would cause mayhem under your skin.
Your skin barrier can be damaged right now, but you wouldn’t even know it if you didn’t know the signs.
What are the signs of skin barrier damage?
When the skin barrier is damaged, the moisture that keeps your skin plump and soft escapes out of your skin. This makes the skin dry and dull. And since the top layer of your skin is broken, pollutants and microbes enter your skin and wreak havoc. This will cause your skin to become scar-prone, acne-prone, rough-textured, flaky, and itchy.
With skin barrier damage, your skin will become dehydrated. If you use products that rip your skin of natural oils, your oil glands would go into overdrive too. This will lead to a dehydrated but oily face. A dehydrated but oily face is the most common sign of skin barrier damage.
All in all, the signs of skin barrier damage are:
Dehydrated but oily skin
Acne, rosacea, or scar prone skin
Flaky, itchy, oily skin
So, do you have some of the signs or a combination? Worry not. We’re going to talk about how to protect from further damage, repair your skin barrier, and maintain it.
How to protect the skin barrier from damage?
Your skin barrier needs protection! Without proper protection, your skin barrier is always at risk of damage. The sun, air pollution, and a harsh cleansing routine can all damage your skin barrier.
To protect your skin barrier:
Have a proper skincare routine. This is a no-brainer. If you had a proper skincare routine in the first place, you wouldn’t have to deal with skin barrier damage. A proper skincare routine cleanses, nourishes, and keeps your skin soft and plump.
Avoid over-exfoliation/over-cleansing. Over-exfoliating or over-cleansing can rip your skin of natural oils and damage your skin barrier.
Use sunscreen. Using sunscreens will help prevent radiation damage, which will lessen the chances of skin barrier damage.
Get good nutrition. Good nutrition is important to maintain healthy-looking skin. Include foods that contain skin-enhancing nutrients like fatty acids and omega-3.
Use a moisturizer regularly. Use moisturizers with skin-enhancing ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help keep your skin soft and glowing.
How to repair the skin barrier?
You can repair your skin barrier by having a proper skincare routine. If you give your skin enough time, your skin barrier will heal itself. Don’t put a million different products in the hope that your skin will be healed, or you risk damaging your skin barrier even more.
If you want to change up your routine, get products that contain ceramides, niacinamide, or hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help your skin barrier heal.
Ceramides are naturally occurring oils that can be found on your skin. They help lock moisture into your skin. Niacinamide is also a popular ingredient that helps in the production of ceramide and also helps lock moisture in your skin.
Also, don’t forget to include moisturizers in your skincare routine. When your skin barrier is damaged, the first thing you need to do is moisturize your skin. That’ll help restore the natural moisture of the skin.
Repairing the skin barrier isn’t rocket science. You just need a proper skincare routine. But how do you maintain it?
How to maintain a healthy skin barrier?
Your skin barrier can break, and you can heal it, but what can you do to maintain it?
Well, first of all, don’t forget to include suitable sunscreens and moisturizers in your routine. Don’t forget to check the SPF of the sunscreens. Fairer skin tones usually need a higher number of SPF.
Second, don’t let your skin get damaged. Avoid over-exfoliating, going out in the pollution, and touching your face all the time.
Third, your skin is another part of your body. You eat good food so your stomach will stay healthy right? Similarly, only use products that help your skin, not the ones that cause damage. Trying and testing will help here. Also, it’s better to know your skin type so that you can buy skin-specific products.
If you think you need professional help, don’t shy out from visiting your dermatologist. A dermatologist will help you identify the skincare mistakes you’ve been making and help you get on the right skincare routine.
What do experts at SkinQ say?
We don’t have to tell you this, but all SkinQ products are formulated by Dr Chytra V Anand. And every SkinQ box comes packed with her dermatology wisdom for Indian Skin.
Our experts say it’s important to maintain the skin barrier for overall healthy skin. We recommend using Dermat-Formulated DIY Active Facial Kits once or twice a month. These kits contain active ingredients like Ceramides, Niacinamide, and Hyaluronic Acid. They help your skin stay clean and supple, and aid in maintaining the skin barrier. Also, don’t forget the sunscreens and moisturizers. The right skincare products will bring out glowing, supple, and fresh-looking skin, so choose your skincare products wisely.