Believe it or not, there’s an art to maintaining your skin barrier and keeping it strong, supple and balanced – and knowing how to do so is the key to having healthy, radiant, glowing skin.
As any dermatologist will tell you, the easiest way to achieve a healthy-looking complexion is by having a healthy skin barrier. But, what does it take to ensure that your skin barrier remains healthy?
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of skin, which acts as the body’s shield from external bacteria, pollution, irritation, and damage. It’s made up of a combination of skin cells, lipids and an ecosystem of extremely diverse microorganisms.
The thicker your skin barrier, the better protected it is from skin sensitivities, which is why taking good care of it is so important. The issue is that when the skin barrier becomes thin or weakened, it cannot work as effectively.
The skin barrier can easily become damaged, and when this happens, it can lead to a range of common problems, such as redness, irritation, and dry patches. That’s why, when it comes to having a healthy, clear, glowing complexion, looking after your skin is touted as being so important.
When it comes to what can cause your skin barrier to become damaged, it’s important to understand that there are a number of factors that can cause damage to occur. These range from extremes of temperature and overusing facial scrubs to using harsh soaps and even genetics.
When microscopic tears in the skin barrier form, they allow irritants to enter, which can cause inflammation and exacerbate damage from free radicals, ageing, and skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and rosacea.
It’s important to understand that the skin barrier requires careful care and nourishment to remain healthy and intact. It can easily become damaged without the right care, leading to a wide range of related skin problems.
Take a gentler approach to how you care for your skin
When it comes to skincare, it’s vital that you make sure that you have a skincare routine in place that helps to aid skin health rather than being detrimental to it. Making smart choices when it comes to your skincare, like choosing a gentle facial scrub or picking a moisturiser that’s been made especially for skin that’s sensitivity-prone, can be smart moves to make.
Of course, it’s not just about skincare products either; it’s also how you treat your skin on a day to day basis. For instance, heating and cold weather can both impact skin health, stripping it of its natural oils. So while you can’t avoid going outside in winter or turning your heating on when it’s cold, what you can do is have cooler showers so as not to strip skin further, for instance.
Carefully monitor irritants
Irritants can have a big impact on the health of your skin barrier, so monitoring them is the first line of defence for your skin. You may not realise it, but whenever you step outside on a cold day, take a steamy bath, or repeatedly rub an area of skin, you’re irritating and compromising your skin barrier.
That’s why it’s so vital that you are constantly monitoring the irritants impacting your skin barrier. The goal shouldn’t be to avoid these irritants altogether. Instead, it should be taking steps to mitigate the problems that they cause by taking steps to repair and manage your skin barrier’s health.
Support your microbiome
Another important aspect of looking after your skin’s natural barrier is making sure to support your microbiome. It’s the microbiome (the combination of good bacteria and fungi that live on the skin barrier) that supports optimal barrier function.
While certain things destroy the microbiome, such as some irritants, for instance, there are steps that can be taken to reinforce the healthy microflora that lives on your skin. Like, using specific serums and moisturisers that are designed to feed the ecosystem and keep the microbiome intact.
Get prescription skincare
Sometimes, over-the-counter products just aren’t enough to give your skin (and its protective barrier) the care that it needs. So if you find yourself struggling to maintain a healthy skin barrier or have noticed that your skin looks dull and unhealthy, you may want to consider prescription skincare.
Prescription skincare, such as the Obagi Nu-Derm System, can cater to your skin’s exact needs, ensuring that your skin barrier has everything it needs to remain healthy and intact. The Obagi Nu-Derm System features a combination of active and prescription ingredients, including Tretinoin and Hydroquinone 4%, that maximise deep penetration to all skin layers.