Beauty experts – ourselves included – love to talk about the skin barrier. A key component of skin health, maintaining a strong skin barrier is vital in protecting skin from the outside world, while also helping it cling onto much-needed moisturiser. But what actually is it, and what’s the best way to care for it? Let’s dive in…
What is the skin barrier?
The term ‘skin barrier’ refers to the outermost layer of the skin, otherwise known at the stratum corneum. This layer consists of skin cells bound together by lipids and is often likened to a brick wall; the cells are the bricks and the lipids are the mortar, comprising fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterol.
Why is the skin barrier important?
The importance of the skin barrier is two-fold. Firstly, it provides a physical barrier to the outside environment. Without it, all manner of toxins would be able to penetrate the body, which could not only have a detrimental effect on the skin, but also the body at large. Put it this way, the skin barrier is your first line of defence against things like pollution, dirt and bacteria.
But that isn’t the only role the skin barrier plays. It also provides a welcome layer of protection for all the moisture that resides inside the skin. If your skin barrier is weak or compromised, then this moisture would leak out and leave you with dry, dehydrated and inflamed skin – and nobody wants that.
What causes a weak or compromised skin barrier?
There are so many factors at play that could cause damage to the skin barrier. Some factors are environmental, for instance, if the air is too humid or too dry, or if you receive too much sun exposure.
Other risks to the skin barrier include allergens and pollutants, harsh soaps and cleansers, stress and the big one: over-exfoliation. Thanks to a rise in products containing exfoliating acids, so many Lionne clients first come to us complaining of irritation and dryness, and that’s all down to the fact they’ve exfoliated their skin barrier into oblivion. Don’t worry, though, we know how to fix that!
How do you repair a weakened skin barrier?
Sadly, repairing your skin barrier isn’t as easy as using a single hero product and hoping for the best. In fact, the best course of action is first figuring out what might be causing the weakened skin barrier in the first place, and then eliminating that risk factor. Then, it’s about building a skincare routine that replenishes the skin barrier with ingredients that mimic the role of the lipid layer, or mortar, if you will.
Key ingredients for skin barrier health include ceramides, fatty acids, hyaluronic acid and glycerin, among others.
How to build a barrier-repairing skincare routine
Feel like your skin barrier could use some help? We’ve got you. Simply book in for a one-on-one skincare consultation (what we call Holistic Skin Sessions) and together, we’ll rebuild that barrier in no time.