skin barrier skin care

Skin barrier skin care: barrier repair & protection

Many people experience damage to their skin barrier at some point in their lives, with symptoms including dryness, eczema, redness, itching and irritation. In this post we help you to understand more about the role of the skin barrier and how it can be damaged. You will also learn how to support skin barrier repair with moisturisers, serum and other skin barrier products.

By Hannah Mepham

7 Minute read

Many people experience damage to their skin barrier at some point in their lives, with symptoms including dryness, eczema, redness, itching and irritation.

As experts in sensitive skin, we know the importance of protecting the skin barrier and formulate our organic skin care products with skin barrier health in mind.

In this post we help you to understand more about the role of the skin barrier and how it can be damaged. You will also learn how to support skin barrier repair with moisturisers, serum and other skin barrier products.

Healthy vs damaged skin barrier

The skin barrier is the outermost part of your skin and the function of this is to keep moisture in and irritants out.

A healthy and balanced skin barrier will:

  • Give protection against external aggressors
  • Prevent dryness
  • Retain moisture, softness and comfort
  • Retain skin elasticity and flex
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles
  • Preserve a healthy, hydrated and balanced complexion

If your skin barrier is damaged, your skin will struggle to hold onto moisture and irritants will be able to infiltrate the skin with greater ease.

Damaged skin barrier

A damaged skin barrier is the equivalent of having missing mortar between the bricks of a house. Water is lost, cracks form between the cells which results in dry, tight and uncomfortable skin. Without its protective layer, skin is also more vulnerable to irritants and may become red and inflamed more easily. The tell-tale signs of a damaged skin barrier are skin dryness and flaky, itchy skin. If your skin barrier is damaged, you might also notice that your skin is quickly irritated and appears red or inflamed after being exposed to harsh or astringent actives. You may also display symptoms of eczema. Those experiencing skin barrier damage may also notice that their skin has lost some of its elasticity and that wrinkles appear more pronounced on the skin’s surface.

What causes skin barrier damage?

The skin barrier is vulnerable to damage from hard water, pollutants, skin-chafing elements and detergents. Skin-drying ethyl alcohol/ethanol, harsh surfactants and actives that are not compatible with the skin’s pH may also strip the skin of protective oil lipids, leaving the skin barrier dry, imbalanced and compromised.

Those with sensitive skin or eczema can be more prone to a depleted skin barrier function and this is because these skin types typically have lower levels of Squalene, the skin’s built-in moisturiser. Squalene levels also decline with after the age of 25 which is why you may find your skin becomes drier as you age.

Did you know that healthy skin should contain around 12% Squalene? If your skin is prone to dryness look for skin care that contains Squalane. This plant-derived active reputed to preserve skin's moisture for 8 hours and that converts to Squalene once it comes into contact with the skin.

Olive Squalane:

  • Penetrates deeply into skin
  • Locks in moisture for long-lasting hydration
  • Forms a protective barrier on the skin

Skin care tips for skin barrier repair

It is possible to repair damage with barrier repair moisturisers and other skin care products. The key to this is avoiding further damage, whilst also replenishing the skin with nourishing actives that restore the skin’s pH and moisture balance.

Care should be taken to avoid any skin care products and practices that have potential to deplete the skin barrier of moisture. We suggest avoiding using harsh foaming agents and overusing exfoliating actives.

Alcohol is often used as a skin care preservative but some alcohols, such as ethanol, are known to dry out the skin and can help to transport skin irritants through the skin barrier. For this reason, those with a damaged skin barrier may prefer to use ethanol-free skin care.

Skin routines for repairing skin barrier damage

Best skin barrier cleanser

Those with a damaged skin barrier should avoid cleansing with harsh foaming actives and instead wash their face gently with a cleanser that’s rich in hydrating actives.

Our best face wash for sensitive, dry skin is our Scent Free Cleanser, an ultra-gentle cream facial cleanser that’s suitable for all skin types and genders and enriched with a skin-balancing blend of actives including Squalane, Prebiotics and Shea Butter.

Even cleansing with water will disturb the pH of the skin so always pat the skin dry after cleansing and then apply pH-balanced skin care whilst the skin is still slightly damp.

The benefit of applying skin care to damp skin is that humectant ingredients will utilise excess moisture and sandwich this into the skin to help skin feel hydrated for longer.

Best skin barrier repair serum

Serums sink deep into the skin to deliver hydrating, calming, skin-plumping benefits. Help your skin to hold on moisture for longer by applying a barrier repair serum after cleansing but before you apply your moisturiser.

When looking for skin serum for a damaged skin barrier, play close attention to the humectants listed on the product’s ingredient list and make sure to avoid ethyl alcohol/ethanol. Humectants help the skin to hold onto moisture.

Suitable for all skin types, Glycerine is particularly helpful for dry skin and is the humectant that we use to formulating our Scent Free Hydrating Calming Serum. This features a hydration-replenishing blend of Green Marine Macro Algae, Tara Bush and Aloe Vera which work in synergy to restore the skin’s softness and moisture levels.

Make sure to follow your serum with a moisturiser or facial oil to lock in hydration to the skin barrier.

“Calming Serum really works for me. I have had patchy itchy eczema for a long time but until I used this product regularly, could not tame it. It not only works, but is lovely to use, smooths your skin and smells lush.” - Sylvia B

Best barrier repair moisturisers

The best moisturiser for damaged skin barrier will be rich in hydrating-locking actives and we can’t think of a better barrier repair moisturiser than our Scent Free 24-Hour Cream. Naturally unscented and free from skin-drying ethyl alcohol, this gentle day cream contains features a moisture-retaining complex that soothes and replenishes dry, damaged skin.

Its key actives include moisturising Shea Butter, the proven anti-ageing active Baicalin and Squalane, an emollient-like ingredient that’s derived from Olives and converts to Squalene once it comes into contact with the skin. 

For intense hydration, we suggest applying this repair moisturiser following your serum. You may like to then seal its hydrating power into the skin by applying a little organic facial oil.

For more help finding the best barrier repair moisturisers and skin care for your skin, please contact our friendly UK customer care team on 01403 740350.

If you wish to republish this content, please credit Green People as the original creator with a link to "Skin barrier skin care: barrier repair & protection". Please do not use an affiliate link.

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