Our skin has many different layers that all work together to keep you safe. The topmost layer, called ‘stratum corneum’, or, more commonly, ‘skin barrier’, is often compared to a wall due to its thick, protective nature. The skin barrier is made of hardy skin cells and mortar-like lipids that hold it together. Basically, on our entire body and our face, there is a protective film that is responsible for keeping our skin healthy.
When it comes to facial skincare, some habits, products, or active ingredients can damage and compromise the skin barrier. This could lead to redness, irritation, dryness and even breakouts.
Here are some useful skincare tips to keep your skin barrier healthy and thriving:
Though it’s essential to keep our skin clean to avoid clogged pores and product build-up, harsh soaps and cleansers have the potential to irritate and dry it out. To prevent the premature breakdown of your skin’s protective lipid layer, you should wash your face no more than twice daily with lukewarm water and a gentle, low-pH cleanser.
Using a nourishing moisturiser is key to keeping your skin barrier functioning properly. The best moisturisers for skin barrier health contain nourishing ingredients such as ceramides, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. Therefore, be mindful of buying reputable products like the BL+ skincare products for example, that are among the best on the market, as they contain amazing natural ingredients and a unique complex. At night, it’s best to use a more occlusive moisturiser to avoid water loss from the skin. These kinds of creams leave behind a thin film that aids in retaining moisture. Products like with urea, honey, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid are highly recommended.
Be mindful of exfoliation
Exfoliating too vigorously or too often removes more than just the superficial layer of dead skin cells, it also removes the protective skin barrier. If you suspect your skin barrier is damaged, press pause and avoid exfoliating until your skin has regained its health. Exfoliation is important for cleaning pores out and for avoiding sebum build-ups that lead to breakouts and black heads. But it must be done correctly and not too often. Every person is different but 1-2 times per week is a general rule of thumb.
Less is more
Your skin’s protective barrier may be compromised if you use too many products on your skin. While 10-step skincare routines may be beneficial for some people, not everyone is the same. Take note of how your face responds to different products.. You shouldn’t go crazy when applying new things either, this will make it hard to understand which one is bothering your skin. Last but not least, not all products are compatible, so be mindful of ingredients and check if they can be mixed.
Ceramides to the rescue!
The skin barrier is rich in ceramides, a sticky lipid essential for the health of your skin’s protective layer. Products with pseudo-ceramides have been shown to alleviate the dryness, itching, and scaling that result from a compromised barrier. Moisturisers that contain ceramides have been shown to improve the skin barrier. So if you feel like your skin could use a little TLC, apply a generous amount before heading to bed.
Never underestimate plant oils
The skin barrier can also be repaired with the help of certain plant oils, which will also help your skin retain its moisture. Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties can also be found in many of these oils. Some of the best plant oils for your skin, include: argan oil, coconut oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil and almond oil.
What do you do to keep your skin barrier healthy? What is your favorite moisturiser? I’d love to hear all about it, so please leave a comment below!
This is a guest post – written in collaboration with Hanna Johnson.