Know Your Skin Barrier – What Is It and How to Protect It
Walk into any beauty boutique or a drugstore and you will find shelves stocked to the brim with products that aim to protect and rejuvenate your skin. Some exfoliate, others plump, while the rest moisturise.
These products have one thing in common – they all act on your body’s outermost layer which is your skin barrier. But what is your skin barrier? What is its purpose? And what can cause damage to it?
This article will help you answer these questions while exploring the steps you can take to protect and restore this vital defensive layer.
What is the skin’s barrier?
Your skin is a complex yet sophisticated organ, comprising many layers to protect your bodies from external environmental stressors or microorganism. To keep your skin healthy and functioning optimally, your skin is armed with a defensive layer which is commonly known as the “skin barrier”.
Your skin barrier is a watertight seal that retains moisture and keeps the outermost layers of the skin smoothly together. A healthy outer layer means your skin is soft, supple, and plump but if the outer layer is damaged or impaired, your skin may look dull and feel rough or dry.
Your skin barrier loses the ability to hold on to vital substances that keep skin cells intact. As a result, it can lead to water loss and skin becoming more vulnerable to external aggressors. Unsurprisingly, a damaged skin barrier also makes it difficult to prevent signs of ageing and heal post-breakout marks.
This is what healthy skin versus damaged skin looks like:
How does your skin barrier get damaged?
Your skin barrier can be damaged by many factors. When it’s damaged, the arrangement between the skin cells is lost, allowing external irritants to easily enter your skin. Thus, leading to more water loss.
Damaged skin barrier is often characterised by easily irritated, dehydrated, and flaky skin. Your skin becomes red, irritated, and tight, but very oily. Common external causes of damaged skin barrier vary from basic daily routines to external environmental factors like:
- Overexposure to water and the sun
- Overuse of harsh cleansers, like alkaline detergents and soaps
- Over-exfoliating or over-washing
- Pollution, bad or dry air quality
- Psychological distress, like stress and lack of sleep
- Genetic factors, like atopic dermatitis an psoriasis
- Allergens, irritants, and pollutants
What to do when your skin barrier is damaged?
When your skin barrier is damaged, you may be more susceptible to developing some of the following symptoms and conditions:
- Dry, scaly skin
- Rough or discoloured patches
- Sensitive or inflamed areas
- Bacterial, viral, or fungal skin infections
When this happens, it’s good to nourish it with repairing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides. Your skin will need these ingredients especially when it comes to restoring your skin barrier and incorporating them in your skincare regime to ensure your skin reaps the benefits.
Alternatively, keep your skincare routine simple. Sticking to the basics reduces the chances of irritation on your already irritated skin. Your 3 essential steps start with cleansing, moisturising, and protecting, while defending your skin from external irritants to maintain a healthy skin barrier for visibly plumper and bouncier skin.
Give your skin the drink it needs with Naru Hydra. Naru Hydra is formulated, designed and made in Japan, and focuses on hydration for your skin. Powered by 3 functional ingredients (SI Extract, Fission Yeast, and C2A ComplexTM, Naru Hydra helps to:
- Rehydrate your skin for deep, long-lasting hydration
- Reinforce your skin’s barrier to prevent moisture loss
- Revitalise your skin through deep penetration to stimulate gene expression
- Defend your skin against external irritants and environmental pollutants
Disclaimer: Based on in-vivo test results by Japan Laboratory and on customer self-assessments, it was shown that a user’s skin was instantly hydrated after day 1, followed by the skin remaining hydrated 3 days later, and in 6 days, their skin felt significantly hydrated and plumper. Individual results may vary.