May 25, 2024

Skin Barrier Damage Signs And How To Rectify It

We love trying new skincare products just as much as the next person but it’s easy to go overboard with skincare, especially if your skin starts acting differently and unpredictably. Indeed, you might think you’re giving your skin what it needs with a plethora of active ingredients and hardworking products but actually, by trying to treat a concern, you end up making things much worse and can cause inflammation, more breakouts and a sore skin barrier.

Damaged skin barrier is going to be a hugely talked-about skincare issue as we head into 2023, according to experts, so what exactly is a damaged skin barrier? As Dr Hugh Lyford explains: “Almost every day in my clinic, I see patients who are potentially damaging their skin barrier with products that were never designed for them.

I get it – we’re all constantly bombarded with trending products and they all sound great, but in reality, a lot of products are designed for skin with specific concerns, and these can end up doing more harm than good on skin that’s healthy. The key is to use products that are dermatologically tested and clinically proven to protect the skin barrier. »


According to dermatologists, the key to keeping young skin healthy is all about protecting the skin barrier, as opposed to damaging it with the wrong products. “The skin barrier (or moisture barrier) is the outermost protective layer of the skin filled with proteins, ceramides, fatty acids, and lipids,» explains Dr Emma Amoafo-Mensah. «It absorbs and maintains moisture by preventing trans-epidermal water loss, which is dehydration of the skin. It’s important that the skin barrier is not stripped of its essential moisture as this can lead to dry dehydrated skin, and breakouts. ”

The key to keeping skin healthy is to use a simple skincare routine that you can easily stick to and that gives your skin everything it needs. This means cleansing, toning and moisturising, with skin experts advising people to look for proven complementary skin ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide, glycerin, vitamins and squalane.

Concerned your skin barrier may be damaged? Here are the five tell-tale signs:

Dry, dehydrated, dull skin is one of the most common signs of a damaged skin barrier. Your skin absorbs and maintains moisture by preventing trans-epidermal water loss, which is dehydration of the skin. Try to avoid fluctuations in humidity, especially in Winter by protecting your skin with skincare that contains humectants, emollients and moisturisers such as glycerin, ceramides and squalane.
If your skin feels sore or stings when you apply even a gentle product or even water to your skin, it’s probable that you’ve over stripped your skin, too much mechanical or chemical exfoliation and overly hot water can leave the new layers of skin exposed and feeling sensitive. Dial back on exfoliation and give your skin time to recover, once a week exfoliation with a gentler exfoliant such as mandelic acid is enough to keep your skin glowing without damage.
Breakouts and redness are a sign that your protective acid mantle has been compromised so you may have been using products that are too acid or too alkaline which removes the protective sebum layer. Choosing products that are pH balanced to skin will help prevent breakouts and inflammation.
Sensitivity and itching can occur if the skin microbiome becomes unbalanced so that irritants from for example pollution or smoking can more easily enter the skin. Protect your skin with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E in your skincare.
Fine lines becoming more noticeable and hyperpigmentation are also typical signs of a damaged skin barrier. This may be caused by UV exposure so it’s important to wear sunscreen every day, even in winter.

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