What is Skin Barrier and How to Protect it?

It happened again. You used your chemical exfoliator too much and practically stripped off the skin layer. Even though you think that you can heal that redness, itchy, and dry skin patches, those are the signs of a damaged skin barrier. This important skin ‘shield’ determines how the skin looks and how healthy it is. Once you damage it, it can lead to breakouts, premature wrinkles and lines, and many other skin concerns. 

However, what to do if you have already damaged the skin barrier? Which are the ways to heal it? We have the answers. Read below to find out how to fix the important skin barrier. 


What is Skin Barrier?

Skin is made of multiple layers and they all play important roles in protecting our body. The skin barrier is the outermost layer, also known as the stratum corneum. It consists of skin cells called corneocytes that are bound together. It serves as a protective shield to your face. 

This layer is what practically keeps you alive. Without it, all those harmful toxins and pathogens would penetrate the skin and cause damage to the body. Still, wondering why the skin barrier is so important? Without it, your overall body function will be at risk. 

What Can Damage Skin Barrier?

Unfortunately, the skin barrier is fragile and can be destroyed by environmental factors (sun exposure, pollution, smoking…), physical damage (using harsh products or over-exfoliating the face), and using certain medications. Some scientists even say that the skin barrier will be less and less effective as we age since ceramide levels are going down. 

These are more external and internal factors that can damage or even destroy the skin barrier: 

  • Allergens, pollutants, and irritants
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Alkaline soaps and detergents
  • Too much humid or too dry weather conditions
  • Genetic factors

How to Know It is Damaged?

When you have been exposed to some of the factors we listed above, you can experience some of these symptoms. They can tell you that your skin barrier is damaged or not working properly. 

  • Itchiness
  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Acne
  • Sensitive and inflamed areas
  • Bacterial or fungal infections on your skin
  • Rosacea, eczema, keratosis pilaris appearance

Photo by Anna Shvets: https://www.pexels.com/photo/young-peaceful-black-woman-applying-golden-collagen-eye-patches-3852204/ 

How to Protect and Heal Your Skin Barrier

You can definitely heal and protect your skin barrier. No matter how much it is damaged, you can always remember these simple yet very effective strategies that really help. 


Simple Skin Care Routine

A simple skincare routine is something you should always aim for, especially when your skin barrier is damaged. Good-quality products with a mild chemical exfoliator will be just enough for your skin to heal and be healthy and good-looking again. 


Go For Oils

Natural oils are known as a perfect solution for dry and flaky skin. If you prefer to use plant oils, don’t hesitate to try some of these to heal the skin barrier: 


  • Jojoba oil
  • Almond oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Argan oil

Add Ceramides to Your Skin Care Routine

Ceramides are the main lipids, found in the skin barrier that make it work properly. You should find products that contain ceramides and humectants and add them to your skincare routine. They should improve the dry, itchy skin with redness. If you have acne-prone skin, ceramide-packed products can also be helpful. 


pH is Important

The skin’s acid mantle is around 4.7. Keeping your skin’s pH at this level will protect you from conditions like dermatitis, acne, and infections. 


However, some products can even go to 8.2 which is not so good for the skin. You should use a cleanser that has a pH of 4.0 to 5.0.  


Use Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin Moisturizers

Dry skin is a problem that many have, but it is also one of the symptoms of a damaged skin barrier. What can you do to hydrate it and keep the water in your skin? Go for moisturizers that contain a high percentage of hyaluronic acid, urea, and glycerin. All these ingredients are water-binding and will prevent moisture loss.