It’s easy to get drawn in by new products on social media to improve the quality of your skin, but using too many products can damage the protective shield your skin creates to protect the exterior and interior of your body, resulting in your skin looking lacklustre and prone to blemishes such as acne, rashes and dark spots.
What is the skin barrier?
The skin barrier is a protective shield that shelters the body from free radicals (unstable molecules that cause damage to our cells). The skin is made up of several layers, but the actual skin barrier is the outer layer (also known as stratum corneum).
It is the primary layer and keeps us alive as without it, harmful toxins from the environment could penetrate the skin and water would escape and evaporate causing us to dehydrate.
What causes damage?
There are many factors that can contribute to damaging the skin barrier, these are:
- Humid and dry environments
- Excessive exposure to sun light
- Psychological distress
- Over exfoliation and over washing
- Psychological distress
- Medical conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis
How to tell if your barrier is damaged
When you skin barrier becomes damaged, there are many visible symptoms that will begin to affect your appearance and overall feel of your skin. These are:
- Dry and scaly skin
- Discoloured, rough patches
- Sensitive or inflamed areas
How can I repair my skin barrier?
If your skin barrier is damaged, the good news is that it can be repaired overtime. This might take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months and requires a little effort, consistency and patience.
- Simplifying your skincare is a great place to start, as using too many products can actually weaken your skin barrier. It would be best to talk to a skincare professional or doctor to get products that are best suited to you.
- Dry skin is a common problem that damages skin barriers but is easily fixed by using moisturisers that contain hyaluronic acid, petroleum & glycerin on a consistent basis as they help strengthen the barrier.
- Applying SPF daily is important as sun exposure is one of the biggest causes of damaged skin barriers. Using one with antioxidants and SPF30 or higher would be additionally beneficial.
- Using mild cleansers will keep essential moisture and & nourishing elements that your skin naturally creates to keep the barrier healthy.
- Fragrance- free products are ideal, as products that contain fragrance strip the skin of its necessary elements and irritates the outer layer, leaving it sensitive and prone to blemishes such as a rash or acne.