No doubt you’ll have read the words ‘skin barrier’ in articles and on product packaging.
But what exactly is your skin barrier?
What causes damage?
What happens to skin which has a damaged skin barrier?
Will it repair itself?
What can you do to keep your skin barrier in top condition?
We’re answering all these questions in this blog.
The outermost part of your skin is the skin barrier (scientifically known as the stratum corneum).
As a fan of Katherine Daniels products, you’ll have heard us talk of the skin barrier on many occasions.
Your skin barrier keeps the ‘good stuff’ in (oil and water). It helps keep your skin and body hydrated.
It keeps the ‘bad stuff’ out (external stressors, pollution particles, dirt and bacteria from the day and UV radiation).
It transports vital nutrients to your skin.
Think of the structure of the stratum corneum as a brick wall. Your skin cells are the bricks. Everything else, including your skin barrier, can be likened to mortar. It’s the mortar that holds the bricks together and keeps the wall strong and in the best condition to do the job it is intended to do.
See how important it is to keep your skin barrier intact?
Your skin barrier contains essential nutrients, like cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids. These compounds are referred to as skin’s “natural moisturising factor.” This helps keep the deeper layers of your skin hydrated and nourished.
What causes skin barrier damage?
External factors – the most common causes are extreme weather conditions, UV radiation, smoking and exposure to pollution.
Internal factors – lifestyle challenges may cause damage, including your stress levels and poor sleep patterns, as well as some medications.
Physical factors – damage to your skin, such as over-exfoliating, or using products that are too harsh or aggressive. Some medications including steroid creams.
Think of it this way: Internal or external stressor which results in visible changes to your skin are capable of disrupting or damaging your skin barrier.
How to spot the signs of damage.
It’s easy to spot that your skin barrier is damaged. Signs to look out for include:
– Sensitive, inflamed, or irritated skin
– Very dry skin or scaly patches
– Skin dehydration, dull, grey complexion, open pores, fine lines and sometimes under-skin congestion
– Bacterial, viral, or fungal skin infections
Your skin barrier won’t repair itself. But you can take steps to help it.
The good news is a damaged skin barrier can be repaired, but it does take a little time and effort. Depending on the extent of the damage. It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks up to 6 months to get it back to its protective best.
How to fix a damaged barrier.
Whether damaged or healthy, it’s still good to nourish it with repairing ingredients such as fatty acids, cholesterol, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. You should also wear a daily SPF. Think of this as your final protective coat of skin armour.
How to repair your damaged skin barrier.
Firstly, consider what has caused the damage.
Has your skin been neglected or over-treated?
Neglected skin needs a simple routine to begin with. One you can follow consistently, one that fits your lifestyle. One which gives your skin all the nourishment and hydration to rebuild a healthy and protective skin barrier.
Over-treated skin. Go back to basics. Wanting the best results often leads to the overuse of too many products and aggressive ingredients. This may include the overuse of acids and aesthetic procedures, whether your skin can tolerate them or not. Consider what your skin needs. Without this consideration too many products sending too many messages to your skin will cause ‘skin confusion.’ This will result in your skin becoming overwhelmed. As the largest organ of your body, it must be treated with the same respect you show your other organs. Gently does it!
Nurturing Night Balm
Daily DNA Defence SPF30