Keeping your guard up – how to make sure your skin barrier stays healthy

Did you know – whether you’re out and about or home and taking it easy, there’s one part of your body that’s always hard at work. Your skin barrier. Acting as a protective layer, the skin barrier is there to ensure your skin looks hydrated and radiant, while keeping it safe from any potential irritants.

It’s become something of a buzzword lately on social media and the beauty scene – but why is the skin barrier so important, and what can you do to keep it healthy and thriving? Let’s take a look.

What is the skin barrier?

Rather than one single layer, your skin is composed of a number of different layers – and that’s exactly what the skin barrier is. The outer, and most important layer, the skin barrier works to keep harmful substances out and moisture in.

The metaphor that’s most commonly used to describe the job of the skin barrier is that of a brick wall – skin cells, or bricks, made up of keratin and moisturisers, surrounded by lipids, or mortar, containing fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol.

In order to keep your skin healthy and hydrated, that brick wall needs to work hard constantly, keeping toxins and harmful environmental elements out, while ensuring that the moisture your skin needs to survive stays in, where it needs to be. It’s a tough job, but the skin barrier’s got to do it.

How does the skin barrier become damaged?

As hard as the skin barrier needs to work, it’s still fairly fragile, and can easily become damaged if not taken care of properly. Often overuse of exfoliators can cause damage to the skin barrier, as can harsh products, acids, and even scrubbing too forcefully. Other conditions that could potentially affect the health of your skin barrier include:

  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Steroid use
  • Staying in an environment that’s overly dry or humid
  • Genetic factors
  • Allergens and pollutants

How can you tell if your skin barrier is damaged?

While having a damaged skin barrier can be bad news, the good news is that the signs are easy to identify – which means you can treat the condition almost immediately and get back to glowing, radiant skin as quickly as possible.

While healthy skin will look fresh, hydrated and dewy, damaged skin will show signs of:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • A flaky or scaly texture
  • Dryness
  • Acne
  • Sensitivity
  • Inflammation
  • Skin infections 

How do you repair your skin barrier?

If you suspect your skin barrier might be damaged, don’t be alarmed – there are plenty of remedies you can try to help repair and protect it.

  1. Keep it simple. Get rid of any overcomplicated skin routine you might be following, and get back to basics. Gentle cleansers and moisturisers are your friends.
  2. Look at the ingredients. Not sure which products to choose? Look for healing and repairing ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides.
  3. Go bare. Bare-faced, that is – and by that we mean stay away from your makeup for a while, and give your skin time to breathe and heal, free from heavy or clogging products.
  4. Choose plant-based. We don’t mean go vegan, but often certain plant oils such as jojoba, coconut, rosehip, almond, soybean and more can help replenish lost moisture.
  5. Stay cool. Make sure you use only tepid water to rinse your face (the water in baths and showers can be too hot) and pat your face dry gently afterwards.
  6. Stress less. If you’re under a lot of stress, it can be harder for your skin barrier to heal effectively – keep this in mind when looking to protect it.
  7. Eat right. Similarly, your diet can also have an effect on your skin barrier. Omega-rich foods like fatty fish, nuts and seeds can help contribute to good health inside and out.
  8. Wear sunscreen. Not just when your skin barrier is damaged, but all year round, to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Your mom says it, so it must be true.

How can O’ri help?  

At O’ri, our skincare philosophy is all about simplicity – a routine that uses the minimum number of products for maximum effect. So if you need to dial your complicated ten-step routine back in order to protect your skin barrier, you’ll find our quick and easy four-step process to be exactly what you need.

More than that, you’ll also find a range of products packed with ingredients specially formulated to help replenish and rejuvenate your skin, including:

  • Spritzing Serum: Use morning and night for a dewy hydrated glow, with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help repair skin, add moisture, and improve the structure and function of the epidermal barrier for a naturally youthful look.
  • Anti-Ageing Cream: Apply this soothing, gentle cream day and night to activate its moisturising properties – infused with retinol to stimulate the skin’s natural collagen production, as well as niacinamide and rosehip oil to help reduce the visible signs of ageing.

Your skin works hard every day to take care of you – now it’s up to you to return the favour. Shop our range for simple, affordable skincare designed to repair and protect, and always put your best face forward in every season.

References:

1. https://www.glamour.com/story/skin-barrier-moisture-repair

2. https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-barrier#how-to-protect

3. https://www.getthegloss.com/article/sense-and-sensitivity-how-to-build-up-your-skin-barrier

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