Your skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. Your skin barrier sits on that topmost layer, the epidermis, and is responsible for your skin’s overall health. A healthy skin barrier results in glowing skin and an even complexion, whereas a damaged skin barrier can manifest as redness, irritation, acne, and other inflammation. So, if you want that lit-from-within look, it’s time to focus on your skin barrier.
Meet Your Skin Barrier
The skin barrier, also known as the stratum corneum, is your skin’s outermost layer. Think of your epidermis as a brick wall. Your skin cells are the bricks and everything else (including your skin barrier) is the mortar that keeps it all together. The “mortar” of your skin also includes nutrients like cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides which naturally keep your skin moisturized if your skin barrier is functioning at its best.
The Role of Our Skin Barrier
Our skin barrier is what protects the layers below from internal and external stressors like free radicals, UV damage, and pollution, helps retain water to keep your body (and skin) hydrated, and makes sure vital nutrients get transported to your skin.
Not only that, but your skin barrier is what determines how your skin visibly looks. When the mortar (skin barrier, ceramides, fatty acids) from above is keeping those bricks (skin cells) in a uniform position, the bad things stay out and the good things stay in. That’s when your skin retains water properly, is less prone to sensitivity and irritation, and has an even, smooth and elastic feel.
While a healthy skin barrier is always the goal, it’s easy to damage and can result in some unfavorable consequences. See what we mean below.
Signs of A Damaged Skin Barrier
If you have a damaged skin barrier, you’re likely to see the following symptoms:
- No skin elasticity
- Water loss
- Visible infections or dermatitis
- Dry skin
These are just a few of the many warning signs your skin may reveal if its barrier is damaged. You may also notice any irritation worsening after stepping into the sun, using specific skincare products, even washing your face. A damaged skin barrier can be quite painful and detrimental to your overall skin health. Luckily, there are ways to fix a damaged skin barrier using products that promote a healthy and strong skin microbiome.
How to Fix A Damaged Skin Barrier
While it’s easier to prevent damage rather than reverse damage, it’s still possible. Here are some tips to fix a damaged skin barrier:
- Use lukewarm water when cleansing your face (using a gentle face wash, as well!)
- We like using a melting balm that simultaneously hydrates your skin while cleansing it before going in with a gentle face wash.
- Avoid abrasive scrubs as they can lead to micro-tears in the skin
- While exfoliation isn’t recommended in a barrier-restoring routine, we have a very gentle face scrub that polishes away any unwanted buildup while still being safe for sensitive skin.
- Use fragrance-free skincare products
- Synthetic fragrances can add to the sensitivity your skin is already feeling.
- Try to limit the use of active ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, salicylic acid, steroids, or acne treatments
- Instead, use naturally effective ingredients, like goat milk, to get skin-boosting benefits without any irritation.
- Wear a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or greater daily
- This is the lowest hanging fruit—and something we suggest everyone implement in any skincare routine.
By consistently following a skincare regimen that promotes a healthy skin barrier, you can expect to see results in a couple of weeks to six months (depending on the level of damage).
Tips for Preventing Skin Barrier Damage in the First Place
To prevent skin barrier damage from happening in the first place, you must first understand what causes a weakened skin barrier. And let’s just say—the list goes on and on. From genetics to lifestyle choices, almost everything contributes to the state of your skin barrier. However, the most significant factors to look out for include:
- UV exposure
- Over exfoliating
- Stress overload
- Lack of sleep
Knowing this, we have a few helpful tips to help prevent skin barrier damage.
- Wear SPF every single day.
- Use a gentle, yet effective, facial cleanser.
- Prioritize a nighttime routine.
Our Favorite Products for Skin Barrier Repair
If you want to repair your skin barrier, there are a few ingredients you can’t miss. Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, squalane, fatty acids, and niacinamide are just a few of our favorites—and luckily for you, we have a few barrier-repairing products that include each and every one of these ingredients.
The Ultimate Skin Barrier Serum
First up, we have our skin barrier serum, Oh! Mega Milk. This fermented barrier boosting facial oil features goat milk (which is rich in omega fatty acids) and fermented plant oils which increase omega fatty acid content by 90x for the ultimate skin nourishment and hydration. Plus, this serum is formulated with niacinamide which is known to strengthen and repair the skin’s natural barrier.
Secondly, we want to highlight our ceramide serum, Milk Drops. This deeply nourishing skin barrier serum features ceramides, squalane, hyaluronic acid and fruit enzymes. This formulation strengthens the skin barrier, locks in moisture, plumps and hydrates the skin, while gently exfoliating. And to get your most radiant complexion, we can’t help but suggest you pair it with our favorite face cream below.
Repair and Restore with Our Skin Barrier Moisturizer
A damaged skin barrier is in desperate need of moisture—that's where our Bloom Cream comes into play. This daily skin barrier moisturizer is certified microbiome friendly and clinically proven to restore your skin barrier. We suggest using it alone or in combination with one of the serums above, both morning and evening for the best results.