Have you felt like your skin has been acting up a bit lately? Are you experiencing dryness, sensitivity, redness and breakouts where you don’t usually? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it could be a sign that your skin barrier is damaged. These symptoms can sometimes be a bit of a bummer, but don't worry, bestie, with the right products you can get your barrier back on track.
We're going to dive deep into what exactly your skin barrier is, how to figure out if it's damaged, and most importantly, what you can do to repair it. After reading this, you'll be well on your way to having the healthy skin barrier you deserve!
What is your skin barrier?
Your skin barrier is a protective layer that covers the surface of your skin. It's made up of lipids (fats), ceramides, and other natural oils that help to keep your skin hydrated and protected from external irritants like pollution, UV rays, and bacteria. When your skin barrier is functioning properly, it prevents water loss and keeps your skin looking healthy and glowing.
Let's dive a little deeper into the world of skin layers, shall we? It’s time to get a little science-y!
Our skin is actually made up of three distinct layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutis. The epidermis, which is the top layer, is the only one visible to the naked eye, and it actually has five distinct layers that work together to protect our skin and keep it healthy.
One of the most important layers of the epidermis is the ‘stratum corneum’, also known as the skin barrier. This top layer is there to protect our skin from external factors like pollution, UV rays, and other environmental stressors. It is actually made from a layer of dead skin cells that are regularly shed and replaced by new cells that have grown beneath the surface.
Think of your skin barrier as a protective shield that keeps all the good stuff in (like moisture and nutrients) while keeping all the bad stuff out (like harmful bacteria and toxins). When your skin barrier is functioning properly, it keeps your skin looking and feeling healthy. However, if it becomes damaged, it can lead to a whole host of skin issues, like dryness, sensitivity, and breakouts. So, taking good care of your skin barrier is key to achieving that chef's kiss level of healthy skin.
What damages your skin barrier?
As you know, sometimes our skin barrier just can't keep up with all the shenanigans life throws at us. So be sure to make a mental note, bestie, because these are some things that can damage your skin barrier that it’s worth keeping an eye on:
Extreme weather that's either too hot or too cold.
Overdoing it with active skincare ingredients like retinol like a mad scientist.
Pollution that can clog pores and make skin dull.
Over-cleansing the skin
Going a little overboard with cleansing – too many scrubs, too many washes – you know the drill.
Soaking up too much sun, like a beach bum.
Getting too close to chemicals that can irritate and damage your skin – think household cleaners, deodorant sprays, etc.
Over-exfoliating the skin
Scrubbing your face with too much exfoliation, thinking it will do wonders – when actually it’s harming your barrier.
Side note: When it comes to trying out new products or changing up your skincare routine, take it slow and steady, bestie. Don't rush it, and give your skin time to adjust. Otherwise, you might just end up doing the opposite of what you wanted and damaging your skin barrier. Slow and steady wins the race, and try to introduce one product at a time.
How to tell if your skin barrier is damaged
Think of your skin barrier as your body's very own superhero shield (pretty cool, right?). It's your first line of defence against external stressors, like pollution and UV rays, and helps keep the good stuff, like hydration and nutrients, locked in where they belong. But just like any superhero, even the mightiest shields can get a little worn down over time.
There are a tonne of different factors that can contribute to a damaged skin barrier, both from the inside and out. Maybe you've been using a few too many active skincare products, or maybe your skin is feeling the effects of stress or a lack of sleep. Plus, everyone's skin is unique, which means what might work for one person may not work for another.
So how can you tell if your skin barrier is in need of a little extra TLC? Keep an eye out for common signs of damage, like:
If your skin feels tight, flaky, or itchy, it could be a sign that your skin barrier is damaged. When your skin barrier is compromised, it loses its ability to retain moisture, leading to dryness.
If your skin is easily irritated or prone to redness, it could be a sign of a damaged skin barrier. A weakened skin barrier can't protect your skin from external irritants, leading to inflammation.
If you're experiencing more breakouts than usual, it could be a sign that your skin barrier is damaged. A damaged skin barrier can't protect your skin from bacteria and pollutants, leading to clogged pores and acne.
But don't worry, bestie, there are plenty of things you can do to help repair and strengthen your skin barrier. We've got your back (and your skin barrier, too!).
What to do when your skin barrier is damaged
First off, let us say one thing... reach for your rebound serum. If you think you might have a damaged skin barrier, no need to worry, we're pros in this field. We know our stuff when it comes to taking care of your skin's barrier, and we've even created a special product just for it! Yup, you read that right, one product that does it all!
We like to call it ‘rebound,’ and it's basically a magic potion that will leave your skin feeling healthy and hydrated. We teamed up with pharmaceutical scientist and skincare influencer Hannah English to make sure we included all the right ingredients to support your skin's barrier – and we put them all in one serum so you don’t have to go out and buy the ingredients in three separate bottles.
Ceramides, cholesterol, and phytosphingosine are some of the key natural components of your skin's barrier that we've added to rebound. We're just replenishing what your skin may have lost. Plus, we've included glycerin, hyaluronic acid, electrolytes, niacinamide (vitamin B3), and panthenol (vitamin B5) to help hydrate and repair your skin's barrier.
So, if you're dealing with tightness, breakouts, or redness, rebound is the serum for you! It's like having a personal skin expert in a bottle.
If you have any questions about how to use it, just head over to our Q&A with Hannah here.
Damaged barrier routine:
If you suspect that your skin barrier is damaged, here are some steps you can take to repair it:
Use a gentle cleanser:
Avoid using harsh cleansers that strip your skin of its natural oils. Instead, opt for a gentle, non-foaming cleanser that won't disrupt your skin barrier.
Moisturise your skin regularly with our thirst trap moisturiser to help restore its hydration and prevent further damage.
Exfoliating can be beneficial, but over-exfoliating can damage your skin barrier. If your barrier is a bit damaged, it’s best to put a pause on exfoliating, as this can further irritate your skin. Once you introduce this step back into your routine, limit your exfoliation to once or twice a week, and avoid using harsh scrubs with ‘bits’ in them, as these can cause what’s called ‘micro tearing’ of your skin. Opt for a gentle chemical exfoliant containing lactic acid instead. (We like this one by Boost Lab.).
Protect your skin:
Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using skin shady 50+ and wearing protective clothing like hats and sunglasses. If your barrier is damaged, wear more sunscreen than usual and don't skip it.
Repairing your skin barrier takes time, so be patient and consistent with your skincare routine. It may take a few weeks or even months to see results, but with regular care, you can restore your skin's health and see a massive reduction in redness and sensitivity.
Don’t forget, your skin barrier is like your own personal bodyguard, protecting you from all the harmful things out there trying to attack your skin. But when it gets damaged, it's like your bodyguard took a day off, leaving you vulnerable to all sorts of skin issues. So, show your skin some love, and it will love you back!