Everything To Know About Barrier Repair for Great Skin
When it comes to skin, most of our biggest frustrations are the consequence of one thing: a compromised skin barrier.
Strong skin barriers protect the skin from harmful substances that would otherwise penetrate and absorb into the skin. The skin has several "barriers" – cellular walls, circulatory and lymphatic vessels, and the walls that separate each layer of the skin. The surface layer - the hydrolipidic barrier - is the one that needs to be built up in order to protect against any irritants or bacteria. The longer the barrier is left out of balance, the weaker the skin gets and the faster the aging process.
Without the protection of the hydrolipidic barrier, any skin care benefits are only temporary. Simply put, you cannot have skin that is supple, healthy and protected if your barrier is damaged. That’s why it’s critical to make barrier repair a priority.
The following skin concerns are common signs of a damaged skin barrier:
Discover what causes skin barrier damage, the steps necessary to restore it, and what products we recommend for barrier repair below!
What causes a damaged skin barrier
The harsh reality is that any and everything can damage the skin in our modern world. Alina Houtz, Senior Esthetician at the Jordan Thomas Salon & Spa, emphasizes that "the harmful effects of UV rays and atmospheric pollution critically damage your barrier and are often the top two culprits, along with not taking care of your body and skin properly.”
The factors below can have a dramatic effect on the skin's surface, destroying the protective skin barrier:
Genetic skin conditions make you more susceptible to a compromised barrier, such as rosacea or oily skin
Improper product and/or cosmetic use including over cleansing and excessive or abrasive exfoliation
Environmental factors like pollution and continual sun exposure without proper UVA + UVB protection
Stress, depending on its severity, can manifest in many ways, including making visible changes to your skin’s appearance
How to restore the skin barrier
“Rather than covering up a skin concern, learn how to strengthen the barrier to solve the problem at the core so the positive results are long-term." – Teresa Stenzel, Director of Education at Bioelements
Follow the right daily routine to strengthen skin. Regardless of your skin type, you should always cleanse, tone, and moisturize twice a day and apply a broad spectrum sunscreen every morning. Properly moisturizing your skin every day is the key to building a tolerant, strong barrier. Find the best daily products for your skin type here.
Exfoliate. This step is crucial for all skin types, as proper exfoliation increases the rate of cell turnover, increases lymph flow, and stimulates nerves to self-repair. Remember to be gentle when exfoliating to avoid further barrier damage. You can find your perfect exfoliator match here.
Consult an esthetician. Houtz recommends reaching out to a skin care professional to figure out the best products and treatments for your skin’s needs. You can browse a list of world-class estheticians here.
What we recommend for barrier repair
“It's crucial to coax your skin into shape, not assault it." – Rhonda Robb, licensed esthetician and Bioelements educator
When it comes to repairing the skin barrier, it’s all about the ingredients. Many skincare products focus on the ingredients they DON’T contain and fail to provide what, if any, key ingredients are included actively help your skin.
Here are some ingredients to look for in products that promote skin barrier repair:
Silver ear mushroom provides anti-oxidation, soothes redness, and calms reactive skin
Rhodiola extract maintains water balance in the skin and increases blood flow in cells to reduce puffiness
Beta glucan soothes irritation and can protect the skin from pathogens and allergens
Hyaluronic acid binds water to skin and has deep moisturizing effects
Ceramids & lipids enhance moisturization & prevent moisture loss
These active ingredients can be found in the new Bioelements Sensitive Skin + Barrier Repair line. Each formula has been clinically and dermatologist tested to be non-irritating, making it ideal not just for sensitive skin, but anyone who is frustrated with their damaged skin barrier and wants to see an overall improvement in their complexion.