If you’re a skincare fiend like us, you’ve definitely come across the words ‘skin barrier’ at one point or another while scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. If you don’t exactly know what this term means, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
What is skin barrier?
The skin is made up of layers, each of which has different functions to play. The outermost layer of your skin, called - bear with me - the stratum corneum. This is the skin barrier. Think of skin cells as bricks held together by natural moisturizers, lipids, keratin and ceramides. This thin wall is what keeps the nasties out and prevents the water inside your body from evaporating. It’s literally what keeps you alive! Also, a healthy skin barrier shows as glowing, hydrated, plump skin – so really it’s a no brainer!
What causes a damaged skin barrier?
When these skin ‘bricks’ become loose, this leads to water loss and your skin can become dehydrated, damaged and irritated. This damage happens when your skin is stripped of its natural oils with harsh cleansers, acids and some medication. Scrubbing too hard, exfoliating too much or even using ingredients like alcohol, lemon and baking soda can cause damage. There are also some other factors that can cause a damaged skin barrier:
- Humidity or dry air
- Sun and UV exposure
- Picking at acne
- Harsh soaps
- Hot baths
How do you know your skin barrier is compromised?
Well, it’s pretty easy to tell. Your skin will look and feel irritated. If so, it might need some TLC, stat! Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Dry, scaly skin
- Roughness, bumps and red patches
- Skin that’s overly-sensitive to touch
- Skin infections
So how do you protect and restore your skin barrier?
Given that this layer of skin is doing a lot of heavy lifting and protecting your body from toxins and keeping your skin looking healthy and plump, it makes sense to look after it diligently. The key to repairing your skin barrier is to introduce moisture to it. Your skin is now sensitive and deserves some extra care. Here’s how to tackle it.
1) Simplify your skincare routine
Now we know that you may have a dozen steps involving a dozen products, but that’s not what your skin needs right now. You may be doing more harm than good. Evaluate all the products you are using. Some products might be too harsh and end up making your skin barrier worse. Use a gentle, hydrating cleanser like the Mon Cherry Dirt Dissolving Balm, which contains skin soothing ingredients and a dreamy texture that will glide onto your skin with no tugging whatsoever. Use a gentle essence that replenishes your skin’s moisture, followed by a soothing moisturizer.
2) Steer clear of harsh exfoliants
Harsh scrubs are a big no-no when your skin is irritated. While exfoliating is a great way to get that glow back, now is not the time to do so. Use a gentler method like these Mama Cica Instabright Peel Pads which contains skin calming cica and skin-repairing papaya. These, too, you should use just once or twice a week depending on the state of your skin! Avoid fragrance heavy, alcohol-laden products. Steer clear of stronger ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and even strong acids till your skin barrier has been restored to its former state.
3) Know your skin-loving ingredients
When purchasing products, look for ingredients that promise to strengthen the skin barrier. Peptides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, squalene, cica and glycerin are few ingredients you can look for. Ceramides, peptides and hyaluronic acid are some ingredients that are naturally found in the skin, and using them can help reinforce the skin cell barrier. Ceramides also strengthen the structural integrity of your skin, making it more resilient. You can also use a soothing sheet mask to end the day, just make sure they contain the right ingredients – and that you make the most of it!
4) Say yes to emollients
Focus on hydrating, nourishing and replenishing your skin, rest of your skin concerns can come second. Emollients are soothing, softening creams that soften dry, rough and flakey skin. Emollients fill in the ‘loose bricks’ with fatty substances called lipids, making skin smoother and softer. For example, petroleum jelly is a heavy emollient.
Checkout our best range of Quench skin barrier repair products for healthy skin:
- Mama Cica Oil Control Overnight Mask
- Bravocado Deep Cleansing Clay Mask
- Mon Cherry Ultra Light Moisturizing Gel
- Mama Cica Dark Circle Fading Under Eye Cream
- Bravocado Intense Brightening Serum
Follow these tips consistently and your skin barrier will be back to its healthy, glowing self in no time. Let us know if this worked for, down in the comments!