There are many causes of a damaged skin barrier, including a harsh climate, stress, environmental toxins, exfoliating the skin too often and too roughly, as well as allergens. If you notice that you're experiencing skin barrier damage, don’t panic, there are ways that you can reverse this damage.
Repairing your skin barrier will depend on the cause of the problem and can include switching cleansing products, adding in a certain moisturizing cream, or beginning or tweaking an existing exfoliating regimen.
It might sound like a lot, but with some consistency, you can repair your skin to a much healthier state. We’ll outline how to spot the signs of a damaged skin barrier, how you can go about repairing it, and preventive measures you can take. Read from start to finish, or use the links below to get started.
WHAT IS THE SKIN BARRIER?
Your skin barrier is the outer layer of skin that protects the inner cells and internal organs of the body, and it is made up of cells that are filled with keratin and natural moisturizers. The skin barrier has an important job, which is to keep the skin and surrounding cells and tissues healthy, but the skin barrier can sometimes break down and become damaged.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SKIN BARRIER IS DAMAGED
If your skin has lost that healthy glow that it used to have and you feel it needs some TLC, then your skin barrier may be damaged. It is typically quite easy to tell if your skin barrier is damaged because your skin won't be in the same condition as it was in the past.
Here are some surefire signs that your skin barrier has sustained some type of damage and that you need to begin a new regimen:
- Your skin has been dry, rough and scaly
- Patches of your skin have become discolored
- Your skin has been breaking out with white and blackheads
- Lackluster and reddened skin
- Fungal, viral and bacterial skin infections
- Inflamed skin
- Your skin has become more sensitive than it once was in the past
CAUSES OF SKIN BARRIER DAMAGE
There are many possible causes of skin barrier damage, and often it is a combination of issues and not just a single problem. Many everyday things have the potential to damage the skin barrier that some people never pay much attention to.
Some reasons that you may have sustained some damage skin barrier could be due to:
- Lack of adequate sleep
- Unhealthy diet
- Weather, including wind, UV radiation, etc.
- Using facial exfoliant concoctions that are too harsh
- Using improper cleaners that may have stripped the skin of its natural, protective oils
- Ongoing stress
HOW TO PREVENT SKIN BARRIER DAMAGE
There are many ways to prevent skin barrier damage. Let’s go over a few.
Eat a Healthy Diet
One way to prevent skin barrier damage is to ensure that you are consuming a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and whole grains.
You should also drink adequate amounts of water in order to keep the skin properly hydrated from the inside out. If your diet is lacking in vital nutrients, then you can provide protection to your skin barrier by taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, which can be a substitute for food. However, it is recommended that the vital nutrients that your skin needs to remain healthy and functional are obtained through diet, as the body can't always fully use synthetic vitamins and minerals.
Practice Good Skin Care
Following a healthy skincare regimen on a daily basis is important, as it can also prevent damage to your skin barrier. What should a healthy skincare regimen consist of? First of all, you need to ensure that your skin is clean, and many people wash their faces twice every day. However, for people with dry skin, washing twice daily could place your skin in jeopardy of sustaining damage, as the cleanser could be too drying for your already dry skin.
If you have dry skin, it is an absolute must that you choose the proper cleanser for your skin type, as this could prevent your skin barrier from becoming compromised. Choosing an appropriate moisturizing cleanser and then following that up with a separate moisturizer is recommended.
On the other hand, if you have oily skin, then you want to be sure to use products that are especially for oily skin. Products for oily skin will be "non-comedogenic," meaning that they won't clog the skin. Failing to choose non-comedogenic products for your oily skin can result in the pores of your already-oily skin becoming clogged. Clogged pores mean more acne, so you definitely want to avoid that. Fortunately, there are many products currently on the market that can remove some of the excess oil from your skin without worsening it.
If you currently have normal skin, then you need to choose the proper products to maintain your skin condition. Failing to use the proper products could cause your skin to dry out or become too oily, two problems that can lead to the breakdown of your skin barrier. When choosing the proper products for your skin, read labels carefully, so you nourish your skin, not harm it.
Another important step is establishing a routine that includes not just cleansing your skin but giving it the nutrients it needs directly.
Manage Your Stress
Stress can be very detrimental to the entire body, especially the skin. Stress is a normal part of life and unavoidable, but if you work on developing healthy stress management techniques, then you can prevent stress from wreaking havoc on your body and your skin. Exercising, meditation, and participating in some enjoyable hobbies are just a few ways that you can alleviate stress and protect your skin barrier.
HOW TO FIX A DAMAGED SKIN BARRIER
There are many ways to fix a damaged skin barrier, and you will need to determine what caused yours to break down before you can properly repair it. However, if you're unable to pinpoint exactly what damaged your skin, you can still fix it. Here are some smart ways to fix your damaged skin barrier, so your skin can be as healthy as it once was.
Find a high-quality skincare product
High-quality skincare products offers can work wonders to assist in reversing the trouble you're experiencing with your damaged skin barrier. You will need a safe but effective moisturizer that has an adequate SPF to ward off further damage from the sun. You will also need a facial cleanser and moisturizer that is specifically for your skin type.
Sometimes, identifying whether you have oily, normal, or dry skin can be difficult because many people have what is referred to as "combination skin." Combination skin means that you may have dry skin on your cheeks and around your nose, normal skin on your forehead, and oily skin on your chin.
If you have "combination skin," then there is no need to fret, as there are specialized skincare products that can help you get your skin back to normal, regardless of its current condition.
Tweak your diet
Improving your diet can work wonders for repairing a damaged skin barrier. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods contain important nutrients that can help quickly reverse even the most severe damage. You should also increase your water intake, as it can help to flush out all the toxins that may have accumulated in your body and may contribute to your skin barrier issue.
Furthermore, ensuring that you exercise to get your heart rate up enough to induce sweating is necessary, as sweating will allow your body to release pent-up toxins, repairing your skin barrier in the process.
Remove your makeup completely each night
Makeup wasn't made to be slept in, and you need to ensure that it's completely removed each night before bed. Makeup that isn't thoroughly removed each night can accumulate in the skin and contribute to a damaged skin barrier, as it can irritate and dry the skin out. It can also cause rashes and skin discoloration, in addition to other possible issues.