How to Repair A Damaged Skin Barrier & Why It’s Important

Our clients often ask us, what is the skin barrier? How does it function, and how can you protect a damaged skin barrier? We’re here to answer all of your questions in simple terms, and help you identify if your skin barrier is in need of repair and what products you can use to achieve a healthy restoration.

What is a Skin Barrier?

The skin barrier is a watertight seal that keeps the outer layers of the skin smoothly intact. Keeping these outer layers properly maintained is the key to achieving soft, hydrated and glowing skin. When there is damage to the skin barrier it loses the ability to hold on to vital substances which hold the skin cells together, and the skin can appear dull with a dry texture. This results in increased water loss and the skin not being effectively protected against external aggressors. When the skin barrier is not functioning properly it becomes impaired which is the major cause of many skin conditions such as breakouts, accelerated ageing and chronic dryness.

Causes of Damage to the Skin Barrier

The skin barrier can be disrupted by a number of factors. When it’s damaged, the tight arrangement between the skin cells is lost. This allows external irritants to get into the skin and can cause more water to leave the skin. We characterise a damaged skin barrier as easily irritated, dehydrated and flaky skin. Skin that is red, tight and oily can also be the result of a damaged skin barrier.

Every day, your skin is faced with a barrage of threats, many of which come from outside your body and a few that come from within. Being aware of the contributors to potential damage to your skin barrier can help you to take the right preventative measures and alter your lifestyle in a way which will protect your skin.

Overwashing

Harsh and abrasive cleansers can cause severe damage to the skin. Overwashing can strip away the skin barrier and potentially damage the first layer of the skin that provides the most protection.

Over-exfoliating

Over-exfoliation can remove the functional skin barrier, so always be mindful while using your exfoliating products and look out for any differences to your skin. If you notice any irritation or dryness, this is an indication that you should stop and cut back on exfoliation.

Pollution, bad or dry air quality

It is not uncommon for people to experience sensitive, dry or itchy skin in areas where the air quality is poor. Air quality is an external factor outside of our control, however, in order to protect your skin barrier, you can limit your time outdoors in polluted areas, wear a protective mask in public spaces and use an air purifier in your living or workspace.

Stress and lack of sleep

Have you ever noticed dry skin and heavy bags under your eyes after a night of poor sleep or when you’re run down with stress? Stress and lack of sleep can actually damage your skin barrier and lead to increased transepidermal water loss. Practising a healthy sleep routine and anti-anxiety lifestyle measures such as meditation can help to keep your skin barrier intact.

Genetics

Unfortunately, some people’s skin barrier can be impaired simply due to genetics. Genetics can cause us to lack the production of vital components needed for the function of a healthy skin barrier. We commonly see this in people with atopic dermatitis or eczema, however, practising healthy skin care habits, such as the ones mentioned in this blog, can help you to significantly reduce any potential damage.

Ageing

As we age our skin barrier naturally becomes weaker. This is why people experience drier and more sensitive skin as they age. At The Skin Health Clinic we offer a number of treatments such as customised Bespoke facials, micro needling and LED light therapy which can help you to look after your skin as you get older.

How to Repair a Damaged Skin Barrier

Simplify your skincare routine

If you have a complicated skin routine involving a range of different products you may be unintentionally weakening your skin barrier. If you are worried about your skin barrier and don’t know where to start, consider booking a consultation with one of our skincare experts about which products are most suitable for you. This can be done at the clinic or via zoom for your convenience.

Pay attention to your skin’s PH levels

The skin barrier is slightly acidic, and this acidity is known as the acid mantle which helps to protect against harmful bacteria and viruses that can lead to a variety of infections or skin conditions. The acid mantle stands at a PH of around 5.7. Many skin products may be problematic as they can range from 3.7 all the way up to 8.2. It is highly recommended that you use a daily cleanser which is close to your skin’s natural PH balance. Our skincare experts suggest using DMS Cleansing Milk, which works in harmony with the structure of your existing skin barrier. This cleanser is suitable for all skin types and will gently lift away all grease, grime, pollution and make-up to restore a natural PH balance.

Look for formulations that include ceramides

Ceramides are essential waxy lipids that are crucial for a healthy skin barrier to function. Creamide-rich skincare products work to strengthen your skin barrier and produce a soft, healthy glow. Using a ceramide moisturiser is especially helpful for those who are prone to acne. In acne-prone skin, the barrier is often impaired and acne treatments can cause the skin to become dry and reddened. An effective moisturiser that we recommend is Barrier Renewal Cream, which is packed with ceramides.


We also recommend that you gently apply any moisturiser to your skin immediately after you get out of the shower, when your skin is still moist.

Try NeoGenesis Barrier Renewal Cream

Neogenisis Barrier Renewal Cream is specifically formulated to repair and renew the skin barrier. The lightweight, non-greasy formula works to restore maximum hydration and reduce inflammation. Neogenisis Barrier Renewal Cream is unscented and suitable for dry, sensitive or irritated skin. Daily use will ensure optimal respiration of your skin barrier and a youthful healthy glow. For best results, we suggest that you use this cream twice a day after cleansing and serum application.

For more information on our skincare products or to book a consultation with one of our skin experts, visit our website.