Your skin's barrier function is the absolute key to the look, feel and health of your skin. And when it's in bad shape, your skin becomes extremely vulnerable to things like dryness, dehydration, irritation and premature ageing.
Sad news is your barrier function weakens with age. Particularly if you leave it to its own devices.
Read on for five easy ways to help keep your skin's barrier function strong and resilient...
Firstly, What Is Your Skin's Barrier Function?
Acting like a brick wall on top of your outer layer of skin (the epidermis), the barrier consists of around 20 layers of skin cells which work hard to safe-guard your skin. It has the job of keeping the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.
A healthy barrier ensures your skin is soft, hydrated and less vulnerable to environmental damage.
When it's below par it's unable to efficiently retain water (cue dehydration) and essential lipids (hello dryness). It also loses the ability to fight off free radical damage from pollution and the sun. The results? Fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin.
NOTE: Experts also agree that a compromised barrier function is one of the major causes and triggers of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
5 Ways To Look After Your Skin’s Barrier
A weakened barrier function is inevitable as you get older. In better news, if you look after it your skin’s barrier will stay strong, resilient and resist sensitivities and dehydration for much longer than if you leave it to its own devices. Here’s how…
1: Careful Cleansing
Cleansing with harsh chemicals strips your barrier of natural oils and upsets your skin’s pH balance, making it weak, dry and more susceptible to damage and irritation.
Must Do: Choose your ingredients carefully, avoiding nasties like parabens and sulphates at all costs. Instead, concentrate on skin nourishing ingredients like botanical oils and gentle surfactants like potassium oleate.
Our Crystal Cleanser ticks these boxes nicely and is ideal for all skin types. Featuring Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Glycerin, Co-Enzyme Q10 and more to gently cleanse, nourish, hydrate and smooth your complexion.
2: Ditch The Steaming Hot Water
Another easy trick is to avoid using hot water when you cleanse your skin. Why? Because hot water literally melts away all the essential lipids in your natural moisturising factor.
Without these lipids, your barrier is unable to successfully retain water, and you know what that means? Yes, dehydration, which equals flaky, itchy skin that easily becomes irritated.
Instead of cranking up the heat, stick with lukewarm or room temperature water whenever you're washing your face or hands.
3: Don't Overload Your Skin
While your intentions might be great, a complicated skincare routine with countless products and tools could be doing your skin’s barrier more harm than good.
Active ingredients such as retinol and AHAs like glycolic acid can be fabulous for your skin in small doses. But if you pile them all on, coupled with scrubbing tools or cleansing brushes, you could develop major problems and irritation.
Minimise the chemicals and switch out all those lotions and potions in favour of one, like Pre-Eminent Beauty Serum. An all-encompassing treatment that works on the visible signs of ageing while hydrating and protecting your barrier function at the same time.
4: Never Skip The Moisturiser
As you age, your skin's natural moisturising factor becomes less efficient and needs a little helping hand. This is why applying moisturiser is essential.
Look for barrier-fortifying ingredients like ceramides, squalane, hyaluronic acid, peptides and/or fatty acids and, better yet, choose a moisturiser that also comes complete with antioxidants to help protect your skin from environmental damage.
Imperial Moisturiser contains healing vitamin E and the super-protective vitamin C as well as hydrating and nourishing ingredients to calm and heal your skin’s all-important barrier.
TOP TIP: For extra moisturisation, reach for Organic Age-Defying Facial Oil to boost your barrier as you sleep. This luxurious facial oil works super hard to lock in water and help your skin repair itself from everything you’ve thrown at it throughout the day.
5: Protect, Protect and Protect Some More
The weather can be especially damaging to your skin’s protective barrier and the sun is a real challenge all year round. Around 80 to 90 percent of all visible signs of skin ageing come from UV radiation, including dark spots, dull skin, lines, wrinkles and sagging.
Wear daily SPF (rain or shine) to reduce environmental damage and always choose a broad-spectrum product that contains UVA as well as UVB protection. Try our fabulous Organic Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 25 which is available in four adaptive shades and nourishes your skin barrier while you’re wearing it. Win win!
PRO TIP: To further protect your precious barrier, reach for the sunnies and a gorgeous sun hat, taking time out in the shade where possible. Your skin will really thank you for it.
Understanding how your skin works will really help you achieve great results from your skincare regime.
No, you don't need to become an expert in human biology. Just knowing the basic facts about your skin and its key functions will help set your skin up for success! It might also help to answer some skincare niggles you've been struggling to get to the bottom of.