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What is The Skin Barrier and Its Function?

A trendy topic at the moment in the world of skincare is "the skin barrier", "the barrier function" or "impaired barrier". But what is the skin barrier after all? What does it do and how can I protect my skin barrier? Welcome to your Q&A with a Skin Therapist!

Q. What is the Skin Barrier?

A. The skin barrier is, as the name suggests, our skin's protection, the outer surface of the skin. It has a "brick and mortar" structure. The bricks are our skin cells and the mortar are our oils. When the mortar is damaged, from a multitude of reasons, it allows outside pollutants and irritants to enter and damage the skin cells. This is what we call an impaired barrier.

Q. What happens when I have an impaired barrier?

A. Have you ever noticed your skin is inflamed, flaky, sensitive or dry, seemingly out of the blue? Well, you might have impaired your skin barrier. That might even lead to acne or a rash.

There are so many reasons for this to happen: sun damage, cold and heat, over-exfoliation with the incorrect products and/or incorrect home care and skin ageing.

With an impaired barrier, the skin has no fighting mechanism to protect itself from outside aggressors.

Q. How can I prevent this from happening?

A. There are many factors to be considered in order to maintain a healthy skin barrier. For instance, it's easy to get caught up trying every different product you can find, but make sure you have a professional prescribe your skincare. This will avoid damaging your skin barrier through incorrect home care.

Avoid sun exposure. The UVA & UVB rays have an extremely damaging effect on the skin! And remember to wear SPF every single day.

Avoid long hot showers. The heat can cause inflammation and strip the skin of the natural oils that help keep its protective barrier healthy.

Do not over exfoliate. Make sure you are using the correct exfoliation process for your skin type and condition and listen to your skin care professional, as they will be able to guide you carefully with this process.

Moisturise every morning & night. All skins need to be hydrated, this is a vital step in keeping the skin happy and the protective barrier functioning efficiently.

Q. What should I do if I have an impaired barrier?

A. Less is more when it comes to active ingredients. Pull back on the use of actives for at least two weeks or until the skin has returned to a less irritated and more stable state. Generally, look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide, oils and glycerine.

Here are my top picks to treat an impaired barrier:


Dermalogica's exclusive UltraCalming Complex contains Oat and botanical actives that work below the surface to interrupt inflammatory triggers that lead to sensitisation, while helping to minimise discomfort, burning and itching. Help restore a healthy barrier function with Oil of Evening Primrose, Borage Seed Oil and silicones as vitamins C and E help combat free radicals that can lead to inflamed and irritated skin.


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A soothing recipe of just 7 active ingredients to calm redness and provide intensive relief to sensitive skin. By improving the skin’s natural barrier function, this nourishing serum helps to combat all kinds of redness, including flare-ups caused by day-to-day environmental stress, irritants and dryness.


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Gentle Clean - This gentle gel cleanser with Canadian Willowherb mildly cleanses the skin as well as effectively removing makeup. Leaving the skin feeling calm, clean and fresh.
Hydrating Serum - Its super-hydrating properties make Hydrating Serum a suitable alternative to a cream-based moisturiser for those with oily skin, as well as the ideal choice for those who are dry. 
Red-Less 21 - Red-Less 21 is a serious cosmetic Sea Buckthorn corrective with the power to confirm and relieve the look and feel of stressed, red skin.


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About the Author

My name is Rochelle, I have been lucky enough to be in the Beauty Industry for over 30 years helping clients achieve amazing results with their skin.

With 3 children of my own, I understand life is busy, so I'd love to help you find the best regimen that works for you and your lifestyle!

Having owned my own traditional based Beauty Salon and time in the Laser Industry, I've learnt that my passion lies in results-driven skin treatments and products. I feel so fortunate to have the most amazing brands at my fingertips. This allows me to give the best possible treatment and home care advice you need to achieve the skin you desire.

 

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