Are You Looking After Your Skin Barrier? Face coverings, stress, central heating and changing weather conditions – our poor skin! It’s no wonder everyone is talking about our ‘skin barriers’ right now, but did you know strengthening it is the single most important thing you can do to ‘pandemic-proof’ your skin.
The skin barrier is a watertight seal that keeps the outermost layers of skin smoothly together. When these outer layers are healthy your skin will feel soft and look supple and plump. However, if these outer layers are damaged, skin may look dull and feel rough, sensitive or dry.
Our skin barrier’s can weaken as a result of ageing and genetics as well
as external contributors, like over-cleansing, UV exposure and stress. The ‘stress’ hormone, cortisol, can weaken the skin barrier and cause water to leak out of cells, dehydrating the skin and causing dullness, fine lines and sensitive skin.
To combat this here are four simple ways to strengthen your skin barrier...
1. Do some damage limitation
It’s not just about building the barrier up – you also need the ingredients that will minimise any incoming stressors to look after it in the long run. Cica is a great ingredient for strengthening the skin’s barrier. Cica boasts high levels of essential fatty acids, which help to strengthen skin, boost hydration and protect skin from environmental damage. COSRX Pure Fit Cica Serum (£30, feelunique.com) is a lightweight serum Infused with the antioxidant CICA-Y Complex. It’s powerful skin-soothing properties leave the skin feeling calm whilst Pycnogenol deeply nourishes the skin.
2. Mind your PH
If you are noticing your skin barrier is rather week, avoid products that have active acids, like salicylic acid for example. They strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving the barrier dry, exposed and susceptible to irritation. Instead, opt for a product that that that works to balance your skin’s pH like the COSRX Low- pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser (£14, beautybay.com). This mildly acidic cleanser has the ideal balanced pH level of 5~6. Formulated with botanical skin-purifying ingredients and mild acids, it is gentle on the skin and makes skin supple and clear without stripping skin’s natural oils, leaving skin hydrated all day long.
The Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré (£13, lookfantastic.com) is a 5-1 moisturiser enriched with nutrients and water to balance skin and promote cell renewal to leave skin supple and healthy- looking. Its rich formula contains essential fatty acids and vitamins instead of actives to reduce irritation especially after shaving and plump skin for firmer results.
3. Look for the right ingredients
Products containing ceramides are your best option for strengthening the skin barrier. The best way to think of Ceramides is by imagining skin cells as the bricks and ceramides as the mortar in between, sealing in moisture. The COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream (£31.99, feelunqiue.com) is a lightweight moisturiser that soothes and heals irritated skin, while balancing and protecting your skin barrier. Formulated with 50% of Centella Asiatica Leaf Water, 10,000 ppm of Ceramide NP and 500 ppm of Centella Asiatica Medical Grade Extract, this cream repairs damaged skin and protects it against environmental irritants and moisture loss.
Are You Looking After Your Skin Barrier?
4. Use a SPF
Sun exposure is one of the major causes of a damaged skin barrier. Use a sunscreen that is rich in antioxidants and has an SPF of 30 or greater. SOS Serum SPF 50 (£15, sosserum.co.uk) is a mineral based suncream using an ultra-sheer form of Zinc Oxide for protection from UVA/UVB. Active ingredients of Soy Bean Stem Cell helps to reduce wrinkles and increase skin’s firmness, combine with well known antioxidant, Vitamin E to fight free radicals on the skin.