The skin barrier is an essential part of healthy skin. It is the outermost layer of the skin that protects it from environmental stressors such as pollution, UV rays, and bacteria. Think of your skin barrier as the moat surrounding and protecting a castle. In this article, we will explore what the skin barrier is and why it is important for maintaining healthy skin. We will also provide tips on how to protect and strengthen your skin barrier.
Table of Contents
- What does the skin barrier do?
- How do you know if your skin barrier is damaged?
- How do you get a healthy skin barrier?
- Best skin barrier repair routine
What does the skin barrier do?
The outermost layer of the epidermis, the skin barrier (also known as the moisture barrier or lipid barrier) is a perfectly functioning defensive shield when it’s in healthy shape. This natural barricade helps keep viruses and bacteria from entering the body, defends against free radical attacks and pollutants, and prevents most foreign substances from passing into the skin.
But it also functions in reverse. Not only does the skin barrier help keep things out, it helps keep vital substances in – like water, oil and numerous other components of healthy skin, including essential lipids like fatty acids and ceramides. These natural fats function like mortar to bind the skin cells together.
While a brilliant protective later, the skin barrier isn’t impermeable. If it were, some of the most beneficial skincare actives found in the best anti-aging serums, like antioxidant vitamins and botanicals, nourishing plant oils and amino acids, wouldn’t be able to penetrate the skin to enhance and sustain skin health.
How do you know if your skin barrier is damaged?
A damaged skin barrier can be the bane of your existence. Signs that your skin barrier may be compromised include: dryness, flakiness, redness, irritation, sensitivity, a dull complexion and the occurrence of acne blemishes.
Suddenly, your skin may begin acting up. Where it once responded positively to beneficial actives in a face serum, it may become sensitized – seemingly out of nowhere. Damaged skin may also become reactive to sun exposure, even with adequate UV protection.
How do you get a healthy skin barrier?
Preventing a damaged skin barrier is the most effective way to maintain optimal barrier functions. Some of the most effective ways to protect barrier integrity are to:
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during the dry, colder months. A good rule is to drink an ounce of water for every pound of body weight.
Use a sunscreen. UV damage is perhaps the most common cause of a thinning, compromised skin barrier. Dermatologists recommend applying a sunscreen each morning with an SPF 30 or higher.
Go easy on the acids. Overdoing it with aggressive acid treatments including potent AHA’s like Glycolic Acid can damage the skin barrier and increase sun sensitivity.
Maintain a balanced pH. The pH level of a healthy skin barrier is believed to be, on average, between 4.7 and 5.75. Know the pH levels of the skincare products you use. Higher pH levels measuring 9 or more can actually strip the skin and case severe dryness. It’s important to maintain equilibrium.
If you suspect you have a damaged skin barrier, dial back the use of aggressive acids, amp up your use of sunscreen, and consider a barrier repair face cream rich in bio-identical lipids such as ceramides and fatty acids.
Best skin barrier repair routine
- Step 1 begins with removing makeup, dirt and oil. Try using an oil-based face cleanser or a product like our barrier+ Foaming Oil Cleanser that contains ingredients to replenish lipids and ceramides. For oily skin try our barrier+ Foaming Clay Cleanser that helps clean and sooth the skin.
- Prepare your skin to effectively absorb the benefits of a face moisturizer by utilizing a potent serum as an intermediary step. As part of this regimen, our serum serves to replenish vital moisture and fortify the skin barrier. One such serum is Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Hyaluronate Serum, which boasts our patented 5% Triple Lipid Complex™ technology that works to effectively replenish and strengthen the skin barrier.
- Don't forget about the delicate eye area that is highly susceptible to damaged skin. Brighten and refresh the eye area with our barrier+ Triple-Lipid Boost 360° Eye cream.
- Now it's time to lock in moisture with a face cream that contains ingredients like active lipids, peptides and shea butter to protect the skin barrier and plump the skin. What is a good barrier cream? The best face creams for barrier repair contain skin-similar lipids that mimic the skin barrier’s own natural lipid content. A lipid-rich moisturizer is one of the most effective ways to replenish skin lipids like ceramides – and to help restore and maintain skin barrier health. Skinfix barrier+ Triple-Lipid Peptide Cream won the 2022 Prevention Beauty Award winner for Best Face Moisturizer and an Allure Best of Beauty Award.
- Protect the lips. The skin on our lips is thin and loses collagen over time as we age. Try a lip treatment that helps nourish dry lips like our barrier+ Triple Lipid + Collagen Lip Treatment.
If you're looking for a skin barrier repair routine the Skinfix Barrier+ regimen
is clinically proven to replenish skin lipids by 23.6% in 28 days. That's nearly 1% per day. Shop our collection online or try our Barrier Besties Kit