Dermatologists’ Advice on How to Protect the Skin Barrier

Couldn’t hold yourself back from trying that new skincare product? Did a skincare trend go wrong and end with rashes on your face? Don’t worry! We’ve all been there. The redness that might feel like a normal rash could be your damaged skin barrier. Let’s see what Dana Stern, Dhaval Bhanusali, and Chris Tomassian, board-certified dermatologists, have to say.

What Is the Skin Barrier?

An outermost layer on our skin that acts as a shield to protect our face from heat, inflammation, and any other external factor that would be harmful to our face. In technical terms, it’s known as the stratum corneum, a superficial layer of the epidermis. According to Dr. Stern, the cells are like bricks, whereas cholesterol and ceramides are the liquid that binds those bricks, and everything together forms a wall that serves as a barrier.

What Damages the Skin Barrier?

Even though it’s a shield that protects our skin, extreme environmental factors can cause damage to it. Pollution, heat, over-exploitation of skin, and genetics are a few of the reasons that could harm the superficial layer. Dr. Sten says that with age, ceramide levels in our body decrease, which reduces the ability of the layer to hold moisturizer. While we can’t control factors like age and genetics, we can definitely avoid using products that are harsh on our skin.

Signs and Precautions

If you feel that your skin is dry, itchy, flaky, overly sensitive, or burning, then that means your skin barrier has been damaged, and the risk of getting a skin infection increases. Usually, the barrier damage can be repaired within two weeks. But, if you continue to follow the routine that led to damage, the situation can get out of hand. According to Dr. Tomassian, you should avoid using exfoliators and use gentle, mild products on your skin. Once the inflammation has reduced, you should wait for at least a week before applying any exfoliant to the skin.

Curing the Damage

The best way to cure skin damage is to let it breathe. Use fewer chemicals and keep your skin hydrated. You should go for gentle products and follow these few steps to repair the damage. Use a face wash to clean your face, once in the morning and again before going to bed. Use a face serum and a rich, nutrient-filled repair cream. Don’t worry, damaging the barrier permanently is a highly unlikely outcome and happens only in rare cases. But, if the damage isn’t healing, you should consult a professional.