Is Your Skin Barrier Damaged? Here's How to Find Out!

We've all been focused on exfoliating acids and retinols for years, but now there's a new beauty trend in town: nourishing the skin barrier. So, let's address the burning question: What exactly is the skin barrier?

Understanding the Skin Barrier

The skin barrier, also known as the "moisture barrier" or "acid mantle," refers to the outermost layer of your skin. When we talk about skin, we're referring to its three main layers: the epidermis (the outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer containing collagen and elastin), and the subcutaneous fat layer that separates the skin from the muscles. Within the epidermis, there are different types of cells:
  1. Keratinocytes: These cells form the structure of your skin, and they're like the building blocks. Natural oils, ceramides, and cholesterols act as the glue that holds them together, creating a mostly impermeable wall.
  2. Melanocytes: These cells produce melanin, which protects the skin from UV damage and gives it its natural tone.
  3. Langerhans cells: These cells help the skin mount an immune response against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When we talk about the skin barrier, we usually refer to the very top layer of the epidermis called the stratum corneum.

Why is the Skin Barrier Important?

The skin barrier plays two crucial roles: keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. It shields the body from physical toxins, like pollution and harmful chemicals, as well as UV radiation from the sun. Additionally, it helps the skin retain moisture by preventing water loss through the skin.
When the outermost layer of the epidermis lacks sufficient water, the skin loses elasticity, appearing dry, rough, and flaky. Poorly hydrated skin also struggles to maintain an intact skin barrier, making it more vulnerable to damage from external sources.
A healthy skin barrier is the key to achieving hydrated, glowing, and even skin.
Signs of a Damaged Skin Barrier
When the core functions of the skin barrier are disrupted, several signs may manifest:
  1. Rosacea and eczema: Genetic defects in the skin barrier can contribute to these conditions, which can worsen with additional damage to the barrier.
  2. Chronic skin irritation
  3. Itchy skin
  4. Dehydrated and dull skin
  5. Hyperpigmentation
  6. Skin infections
  7. Delayed wound healing
Factors that Can Damage Your Skin Barrier In general, various aspects of daily life can harm your skin barrier:
  • Smoking
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Nutrient-deficient diet
  • Pollution
  • Wind
  • UV radiation
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Use of cleansers that strip the skin of natural oils
  • Overuse of exfoliating acids
  • Use of harsh physical exfoliants

Taking Care of a Damaged Skin Barrier

Be Kind to Yourself

My life philosophy is all about being kind to yourself, others, and your skin. When it comes to caring for your skin barrier, it's crucial to approach skincare and cosmetic treatments as practices that respect and celebrate your skin's natural beauty. Remember, glass skin doesn't actually exist. You're unique, and radiance and glow can be achieved while embracing your true self.

Streamline Your Skincare Routine

One of the best things you can do is consult an expert aesthetician or a board-certified dermatologist to curate a personalized skincare routine. During each appointment, I always ask my patients about the products they use, emphasizing the importance of understanding why they use each one. This approach helps ensure that you select products that address your specific skin needs.
Whether you collaborate with an expert or conduct your own research online, it's vital to know what each product does before incorporating it into your routine. By setting clear goals for your skincare routine, such as reducing redness or controlling acne breakouts, you can simplify and optimize your routine while being gentle on your skin. Remember, your skincare routine may vary depending on the season, so adjust accordingly.
100% of participants experienced a significant improvement in the reduction of skin redness. (Measured by Chroma Meter)
96% of participants felt skin inflammation was reduced
100% of participants felt this product reduced irritation and redness
100% said their skin felt calmer and healthier
*based on 8 weeks of the clinical study performed by 3rd party.

Use a Gentle, Effective Cleanser

Urban environments can be harsh on the skin, so it's essential to thoroughly remove pollution and protect your skin's natural ceramides and oils. Find a cleansing routine that effectively removes makeup, small particles, and dirt without stripping your skin. If you use multiple products on your skin, consider a "double cleanse" technique. Some gentle facial cleansers that I recommend
This 3-in-1 formula contains fewer ingredients at higher concentrations to effectively simplify and enhance your skincare routine. The irritation-free cleansing exfoliant helps to increase circulation, leaving skin visibly refined, and the soft exfoliating plant-based beads help to remove dead skin while releasing essential nutrients to protect and nourish skin every day.

Consider Skin Barrier-Friendly Serums and Moisturizers

While you can still use exfoliating acids and retinol, it's important to balance them with products that support your skin barrier. Layer these barrier-friendly ingredients with your active products or use them on days when you skip your actives. Look for serums and moisturizers that contain ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and petrolatum. Patients with sensitive skin often benefit from using prescription-strength sulfur cleansers to soothe their skin. 
With Lorde+Belle's RegenPen and Repair Serum, we see 212% increase in Hydration in 8 weeks of Clinical Study performed by Princeton Consumer Research (PCR).
With Lorde+Belle's Repair Serum alone, we see 149% increase in Hydration in 8 weeks of Clinical Study performed by Princeton Consumer Research (PCR).
*based on 8 weeks of clinical study performed by 3rd party.

Opt for a Multifaceted Moisturizer

The best moisturizers combine emollients and humectants. Humectants attract and bind water, increasing the skin's moisture content. Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are popular humectants, while other options include alpha hydroxy acids, panthenol, sorbitol, urea, and propylene and butylene glycol. Emollients, on the other hand, soften the skin and include ingredients like dimethicone, grape seed and jojoba oils, cocoa and shea butters, stearyl and cetyl alcohols, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly. Don't forget to look for moisturizers rich in ceramides, which help replenish what your skin loses throughout the day.
Hydra-V offers 24-hour dryness prevention even in cold weather and features HA3, a revolutionary compound delivering simultaneous multi-level hydration. This soothing moisturizer includes a highly effective skin repair complex, which contains a patented ceramide complex to help restore the skin barrier for less irritated skin, also preventing moisture loss.

Treat Inflammation with Care

Once your skin becomes irritated, anything and everything can worsen the situation. Pay attention to your skin's daily condition and skip exfoliating actives when sensitivity arises. Instead, opt for soothing serums or moisturizers. If you're dealing with significant inflammation, such as rosacea or eczema, it's best to consult a board-certified dermatologist for appropriate treatment. Managing the underlying condition often allows for a broader range of products to be tolerated. However, for sensitive skin, less is often more.

Don't Neglect Your Body

While we often focus on facial skincare, it's crucial to care for your body too. The body is susceptible to dryness, itching, dullness, and hyperpigmentation, just like the face. Use gentle cleansers for your body and hands.

Take Care of Yourself Holistically

Remember, your skin is part of your body, and its health is influenced by your overall well-being. Factors like diet, sleep, and stress management have an impact on your skin health. Prioritize self-care and understand that skincare goes hand in hand with taking care of yourself. While a face mask may provide temporary benefits, getting enough sleep will support your skin's health in the long run.
Your skin barrier plays a crucial role in protecting your skin and maintaining its hydration and overall health. Various factors, such as pollution, UV radiation, harsh skincare products, and lifestyle habits, can damage the skin barrier.
To treat a damaged skin barrier, adopt a skincare routine that is gentle, effective, and tailored to your specific needs. Consult with an expert or conduct thorough research to understand the purpose of each product you use. Pare down your routine, use gentle cleansers, incorporate skin barrier-friendly serums and moisturizers, treat inflammation carefully, don't neglect your body, and prioritize self-care for holistic skin health.

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