Sound, language, gender, knowledge: All barriers that are ok to break. Your skin barrier? Not ok to break. The skin barrier (a.k.a. the moisture barrier), is basically our body’s built-in armor, protecting us from outside aggressors like free radicals, toxins & infections, while also preventing moisture loss to keep our skin hydrated and healthy. Unfortunately, it's also delicate, and only the slightest overindulgence can cause damage.
The biggest and easiest ways to damage your skin barrier is by over-exfoliating (either too often or by using products too strong for your skin type) or using very irritating products, but environmental factors like excessive water exposure, extreme weather (like freezing temperatures or excessive wind), and overexposure to the sun (all hail SPF!) can also take their toll. You'll start to notice increased sensitivity and more reactive skin that can be dry, red, itchy and flaky. One of the most common signs of a damaged barrier is a stinging sensation when you apply even the most gentle of products. You might also notice more breakouts than usual and you can even develop a skin infection.
Healing a damaged skin barrier can take time, so being proactive by nourishing and fortifying your skin with products formulated to support and protect it is your best barrier defense. We asked Lindsay H., Dermstore’s resident esthetician, to help us put together the ultimate barrier strengthening routine.