IS YOUR SKIN BARRIER DAMAGED? HERE'S HOW TO HEAL IT FAST

IS YOUR SKIN BARRIER DAMAGED? HERE'S HOW TO HEAL IT FAST


7 minute read

Your skin barrier protects moisture from evaporating and bacteria from entering. The state of your barrier determines the strength of your skin - how well it will respond to new products, environments and daily stressors.

 

The critical function of your skin barrier 

 

Your skin’s natural oil, water and microorganisms work together to protect and maintain healthy skin. Without this balance, inflammation starts to occur. In this state, your skin is not able to focus on healing. It’s focused on slowing down premature skin aging.

 

Your skin’s natural oil and sweat secretions make up your acid mantle, an acidic hydrolipidic film that protects water from evaporating and toxins from invading. Skin care ingredients that mimic your acid mantle include jojoba oil, squalane oil and silicones.

 

Underneath this layer of oil is tightly packed skin cells in water. This is what holds all your cells together and keeps your skin supple and hydrated. These natural moisturizing factors (a.k.a NMF) are made of amino acids, urea, fats, water, sugar and minerals. Skin care ingredients that mimic your natural moisturizing factors include ceramides, cholesterol and hyaluronic acid.

 

In addition, we have thousands of microorganisms that live on our skin that make up our skin's microbiome. This complex ecosystem protects and supports our good bacteria so that bad bacteria (as seen with acne, eczema and rosacea) doesn't thrive and take over.

 

Skin barrier function graphic

 

The strength of your barrier function depends on your age, genetics, sun exposure, weather, diet. The skin care products you choose have an even greater impact. 

 

What is dehydrated skin?

 

When your skin’s water levels drop, your skin will become dehydrated. It’s one of the most common skin conditions I see in my practice. It’s caused by evaporation of moisture (water) and removal of sebum (oil) from the surface of the skin.

 

Dehydrated skin will start to occur any time your environment drops below 80% humidity. Heavy air conditioning and dry winter air will steal moisture from your skin, leaving it tight, flaky and in some cases, warm.

 

Common practices like over cleansing or exfoliating and using cold or hot water promote dehydrated skin. I often find new clients using products with sodium laureth sulfate, denatured alcohol and witch hazel that can cause or worsen the condition.  

 

It’s a common misconception when people think that you can simply drink more water to hydrate your skin. Since your skin is on the outermost layer of your body, it’s the last organ to get hydrated. The best way to treat dehydrated skin is to replenish moisture topically. 

 

6 signs your skin barrier is damaged

 

Product sensitivity

If you're noticing increased sensitivity to new products, your skin barrier may be impaired. I'm not talking about the tingling sensation that is common with exfoliating acids, rather gentle products like a hydrating lotion as an example. When we don't have enough water, oil or good bacteria on our skin, the skin will have less tolerance and can react negatively to new products. Add the clarifying cream under your new product to provide an additional layer of support as your skin heals.

Clarifying Cream

Clarifying Cream

$60.00

This powerful multi-use product helps to improve the appearance of problematic skin of all ages and types. Effective at regulating the skin’s microflora and strengthening its resistance to colonization of unwanted bacteria. Used as a serum, primer and moisturizer, this...

Excess oil production

If your skin is overproducing oil, it may be a sign that your skin is simply dehydrated. When the skin lacks water, it produces more oil to compensate. More oil on the skin can often lead to increased acne breakouts as this is what acne bacteria feed on. Try adding a hydrating toner and serum to your morning and evening skin care routine for one 4-6 weeks (one full skin cycle) to notice any reduction in your skin’s oil production.

 

Flaky skin surface

 

Seeing visible skin flakes means that your skin is severely dehydrated. Your skin cells are so dry that they are visible on the surface. If products also string upon application, it will take 2-3 skin cycles to repair your skin barrier. Add a hydrating toner and hydrating serum and consider adding a treatment oil such as squalane to your evening skin care routine. 

 

Shiny pores

 

If you’re noticing enlarged pores that have a shiny appearance with or without oil, your skin is lacking water. In addition to increasing your water intake, make sure all the products you use have a hydrating component. Make sure you’re not cleanser more than twice a day, over exfoliating or using astringents. Add a hydrating serum to your morning and evening skin care routine for 1-3 skin cycles to minimize the appearance of pores and shine.

 

Facial redness

 

Extreme dehydration can result in skin that is pink, red and warm to the touch. This is blood rushing to the surface of the skin as a cry for help. Three skin cycles are needed to repair this level of damage by increasing water levels and oil content on the skin. In this case, silicones can be very helpful topically as they the acid mantle and protect the skin. 

 

Tight skin

 

If your skin feels tight, it’s most likely lacking water. Simply adding a hydrating toner to your skin care routine can make a big difference. If after two weeks your skin is still feeling a bit tight, add a hydrating serum. In the winter months, consider applying an oil treatment in tight areas on top of your moisturizer before sleeping. This will help to seal in the important moisturizers that help to make your skin feel soft and supple the next morning.

 

How to repair your skin barrier fast

 

Cleanse with a gentle foaming cleanser or gentle cream cleanser that will not strip your skin’s natural oil and water content. Choose a creamy cleanser if your skin is more dry and foaming if your skin is more oily. 

 

Gentle Cream Cleanser

Gentle Cream Cleanser

$48.00

This gentle cream cleanser thoroughly removes makeup, excess oil and debris while respecting the skin's natural moisture balance. Free of fragrance and dyes, this cream cleanser is designed to gently cleanse even the most sensitive skin for a refreshed complexion...

Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Gentle Foaming Cleanser

$35.00

This soft and airy foam will gently cleanse your skin from impurities without stripping the lipid barrier. This delicate and well-balanced formula promotes a healthy skin flora and is safe for all ages, skin types and conditions including teenage skin,...

 

Hydrate topically first using an astringent-free toner to soften the epidermis and allow more intense hydration to penetrate - glycosaminoglycans. These extreme hydrators will be better able to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin and visibility plump the skin when used in a serum.

 

Trifecta Power Mist

Trifecta Power Mist

$28.00

This multi-tasking mist combines the multi-action power of oxygen, HOCL and sea salt to rejuvenate and hydrate your skin. Formulated for all skin types, Trifecta Power Mist soothes and supports skin’s natural defenses against irritation, inflammation, and post-procedure sensitivities. Trifecta...

Daily hydration Serum

Daily hydration Serum

$80.00

This lightweight hydrating serum restores skin's suppleness with this instant, skin-quenching boost. High levels of water-binding humectants hydrate thirsty skin, helping balance moisture content and prevent transepidermal water loss.

 

Always seal in the moisture within 60 seconds of applying hydrators to prevent those beneficial ingredients from evaporating from your skin. During the day, choose a sunscreen with hydrators like aloe vera or better yet, ceramides. At night, choose a fragrance and essential oil free moisturizer that will respect the barrier function of your skin.

 

AM Replenish SPF 40

AM Replenish SPF 40

$74.00

This lightweight sunscreen and day cream is formulated with zinc oxide, ceramides and powerful antioxidants. AM Replenish SPF 40 is a fragrance-free formula that will restore your skin’s moisture levels and protect against UV damage. If you’re looking for a...

Clarifying Cream

Clarifying Cream

$60.00

This powerful multi-use product helps to improve the appearance of problematic skin of all ages and types. Effective at regulating the skin’s microflora and strengthening its resistance to colonization of unwanted bacteria. Used as a serum, primer and moisturizer, this...

 

Remember, your skin barrier is comprised of water and oil. Since your skin is unique, assess whether your skin needs more oil, water or both. My all time favourite oil to combat dehydration is squalane oil because it closely resembles natural sebum and won’t feed acne bacteria - even fungal.

 

Intense Moisture Squalane Oil

Intense Moisture Squalane Oil

$40.00

This natural non-comedogenic moisturizer provides instant relief to dry and dehydrated skin. Squalane oil provides a protective barrier to the epidermis to calm and heal the skin post peel, sunburn or extreme weather conditions. Just a few drops prevents moisture...

 

A real client example

 

A client came to me with rosy cheeks, something she’s experienced all her life. Now, in her early 30s, she’s developed mild rosacea. 

 

Before treating rosacea, or any condition for that matter, we must treat dehydrated skin and repair the skin barrier to achieve calm, clear skin.

 

Skin barrier repair to calm rosacea before and after

By simply switching to a gentle cleanser, adding hydrating products to her skin care routine and a silicone based moisturizer, this lovely client was able to calm facial redness and considerably improve her rosacea in just 3 months!

 

Book your routine review to ensure each skin care product and practice moves you closer to your skin care goals.

 

Routine Review

Routine Review

$95.00

Have a certified Skin Therapist review your skin care to ensure the products you use are compatible with one another, right for your skin type and target your concerns without damaging your skin!  Over a one hour video or phone call,...

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