7 Tips For Repairing Your Damaged Skin Barrier

May 9, 2020
Our skin is our body’s largest organ, but it is also one of the most vulnerable. Our skin’s barrier serves as a protective layer to keep it healthy and moisturized, but when that is damaged, it can result in an uncomfortable and uneven skin texture. Here’s how to determine whether or not your skin barrier has been damaged and how you can fix it. 
What is the skin barrier? 
Your top layer of skin cells serves as a barrier to protect the rest of your skin from the elements. This layer of skin cells is covered with fatty acids and other lipids that form a thin layer of moisture. This moisture layer combined with your skin’s resilient top cells protects you from things like allergens, chemicals, and other environmental irritants. If this barrier is damaged, it becomes very difficult for the skin to protect itself from outside factors, which can lead to further health problems. 
How do I know if my skin barrier has been damaged? 
One of the first signs of a damaged skin barrier is that your skin is feeling dry and dehydrated. Because of this, this skin will then start to flake or feel itchy, and you may notice patches of redness. Your skin will also be much more vulnerable to bacteria, and may try to over-produce moisture to compensate, which can lead to acne flareups. 
While a damaged skin barrier can be very frustrating, there are things you can do to fix the problem. In many cases, a damaged skin barrier is caused by harsh skincare or makeup products, so switching up your routine can make a world of difference. 
What can I do to repair my damaged skin barrier? 
There are a number of different things you can do to repair your skin’s barrier once it has been damaged. 
  • 1. Start by reassessing your skincare routine. Go through your products and get rid of any that contain alcohol, sulfates, parabens, or any other harsh chemicals. You should also temporarily stop exfoliating the skin, as this will further break down the skin barrier when it’s already damaged. If you’re unsure about any chemicals that are currently in your skincare routine, do some research to find out more about how they can affect your skin. 
  • 2. Next, it’s time to develop a new skincare routine that uses gentle ingredients. You will need to find a cleanser, moisturizer, and serum that do not have any skin irritants. When you use your cleanser, be sure not to scrub too hard, as this can further irritate your skin. Your moisturizer should contain ingredients that will rehydrate your skin, and both the moisturizer and serum should contain ingredients that promote faster healing. Hyaluronic acid and ceramide are both good ingredients to look for, as they promote a faster healing process. 
  • 3. Use nourishing oils to further add moisture to your skin. Natural products like olive oil and coconut oil can be very helpful for rebuilding the skin’s barrier, since they contain fatty acids and other components that are necessary for a functional skin barrier. Applying oil-based skincare products can actually stop your body from over-producing oil and prevent your pores from clogging. 
  • 4. Make sure you’re using a gentle sunscreen on your skin every time you go outside. Sun exposure can further irritate a damaged skin barrier, which is why it’s so important to protect it. Aim for a physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one, as they are usually more gentle and less likely to clog pores. 
  • 5. Keep an eye on your diet. You’ll want to make sure that you’re drinking several glasses of water each day, as this is crucial for keeping your skin smooth and healthy. If you struggle to remember to drink water, try carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day. You should also make sure you’re eating plenty of foods with omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, walnuts, and spinach. 
  • 6. After your skin has started to heal, look for products that help with collagen production. When your skin’s natural barrier is damaged, your skin will start to lose its fullness, which can exacerbate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Our body also naturally slows down its collagen production as we get older. Collagen-boosting products can help restore your skin to a healthy state. 
  • 7. If you’re still struggling to repair your skin barrier after switching up your skincare routine, don’t hesitate to see a dermatologist. They can perform a more in-depth examination to determine the cause of your damaged skin barrier. They can also prescribe stronger products to help repair the damage. 
A damaged skin barrier can feel uncomfortable, but it’s not permanent. By adjusting your skincare routine and staying hydrated, you can restore your skin barrier to a much healthier state. 
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