Your skin is the second largest organ in the body, making up around one-seventh—or nearly 15%—of your total body weight. It’s what separates your delicate insides from the harsh outside world, making it one of the most important organs in your body. Skin is composed of a vast, complex network of various cells, proteins, ceramides, and lipids—but arguably, the most vital component of all is the skin barrier.
WHAT DESTROYS THE SKIN BARRIER?
Unfortunately, your skin barrier is not as robust as a cement wall. It can be damaged by environmental factors such as sun exposure, pollution, smoking, extreme weather variations, etc. Physical factors that a person can inflict, including over-exfoliation or using harsh/irritating products, and finally certain medical conditions like diabetes or even genetics and ageing. This list of damaging components goes on and on, so make sure you get a Skin Consultation to assess your barrier.
Obviously, some of these factors are out of our control, but generally, the most severe damage will come from using too-harsh products, like gritty exfoliators, intense acids daily, and drying sulphates. We know that the skins barrier must have an effective balance of moisture and hydration to make your skin look full, plump and well-maintained.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SKIN BARRIER IS DAMAGED?
If your skin barrier is damaged, your skin might be dry, flaky, red, sensitive, irritated, tingly, burning, and/or itchy. You may also be dealing with rashes and inflammation since a damaged skin barrier increases your risk of infections and dermatitis. Alternatively, you could be experiencing flare-ups of rosacea, eczema, dermatitis and even keratosis pilaris, and for some more discomfort, you may experience multiple skin issues all at once!
HOW DO I MAKE IT BETTER?
Firstly, book a professional consultation so you don’t waste time and money on using the wrong products. With so many symptoms that can be caused by a damaged skin barrier, you don’t want to risk making things worse. In general, most cases require product formulas that improve dryness and strengthen the skin barrier with active ingredients such as ceramides or glycerin. Most medical-grade products strip the skin, much like an antibiotic stripping the gut of bacteria. So, therefore, it is important we replace the lost moisture as this is your body’s first line of defence against external threats. Depending on the level of damage, never expect a ‘quick fix’. Although the steps are easy to repair a compromised skin barrier, it can take between 2 weeks to several months to reverse the damage.
Look at a holistic approach to your skincare by ensuring you are also looking after your digestive health. Try an Essential Fatty Acid supplement such as DMK’s EFA’s and drink at least 2L of water a day. Introducing simple hydrating products to your skincare routine will instantly change your skins ability to retain moisture which will automatically help poor barrier function. Consider also adding a Pre/Pro Biotic system to your daily routine to boost gut health. It all goes hand in hand!
THINGS TO AVOID FOR A DAMAGED SKIN BARRIER
- Harsh soap and scrubs – these will disturb the Ph balance of the skin
- Excessive exfoliation – aim for 1-2 times per week
- Long, hot baths – always cleanse and moisturise after exposure to steamy hot conditions
- Too much sun exposure – get that SPF on!
- Touching or picking the skin
- Not drinking enough water – the average amount should be 1 1/2 – 2 litres a day
- Eating lots of unhealthy food
- Smoking – this disturbs the cell turnover, reduces oxygen levels in the skin and disrupts the barrier function
- Heavy over the counter medications – high amounts of Ibuprofen, Steroid Creams, Sinus Medication etc can all impair your skins barrier.
Book your in-depth skin analysis with Michelle today!