WHAT IS THE SKIN BARRIER AND WHY IT NEEDS PROTECTING?

If you’re a skincare enthusiast, you’ve probably heard people talk about the importance of the skin barrier. While it’s true that reinforcing the skin barrier should be a priority in all regimens, it’s important to understand exactly what the skin barrier is and how it functions before you can consider which products to use.

In this blog, we’ll explain the skin barrier to you in simple terms and ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice about which products are right for you.

What is the skin barrier?

The skin barrier, otherwise known as the stratum corneum, refers to the outermost layer of skin. It functions as a protective shield between the body and the external environment, and is primarily composed of lipids and dead skin cells (corneocytes).

What does the skin barrier do?

The skin barrier performs a number of vital functions, including:

  1. Protecting the body - the skin barrier’s main function is to act as a defensive layer between you and the outside world. It protects against a range of environmental threats, including UV radiation, pollutants, and pathogens.
  2. Preventing water loss - the lipid layer helps to seal in hydration and prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). Those with dry or dehydrated skin often have compromised skin barriers.
  3. Regulating skin health and appearance - a functional skin barrier maintains a healthy microbiome and prevents pollutants from causing excess damage or irritation to the skin.

Why is the skin barrier important?

A compromised skin barrier can lead to a range of problems, including dryness, sensitivity, redness, and increased susceptibility to environmental damage and infection.

A healthy skin barrier is critical to maintaining your skin’s health and appearance. For this reason, regular application of skincare that is formulated to fortify the skin barrier is recommended.

Who should use products that strengthen the skin barrier?

Due to its importance in promoting overall skin health, maintaining barrier function should be a priority for everyone, regardless of age or skin type. However, certain skin types may particularly benefit from boosting the skin barrier, including:

  1. Dry skin – dry skin is characterised by a lack of lipids in the stratum corneum. Using products to boost the skin barrier can go a long way towards alleviating dryness and preventing associated damage.
  2. Dehydrated skin – dehydrated skin is characterised by a lack of water. Strengthening the skin barrier can help seal in moisture and prevent water loss to improve the health and appearance of your skin.
  3. Ageing skin – as we age, our skin barrier naturally begins to lose its former integrity. Reinforcing the stratum corneum should be an important part of any anti-ageing regimen.

Which products should I use to boost the skin barrier?

Moisturisers are a safe bet if you’re looking to fortify your skin barrier. We particularly recommend that you look for products that contain ceramides or skin-identical lipids. These are bioactive lipids that match the ones naturally produced by the skin, meaning they are easy to absorb and quickly improve hydration and barrier function.

See below for the products we particularly recommend:

  • Day Cream: This lightweight antioxidant-rich moisturiser contains ceramides (AP, NP and EOP) and Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) to help replenish and restore the skin while promoting the integrity of the skin barrier. It is suitable for all skin types.
  • Night Cream: The richest moisturiser in the range, the Night Cream contains ceramides and oils to provide deep moisturisation and barrier repair. It is particularly recommended for those with dry or ageing skin.
  • Power Mask: Formulated with an unparalleled selection of ceramides, oils and soy amino acides to strengthen and restore skin barrier function, this leave-on face mask is perfect for those who need the occasional protective and restorative boost. It is suitable for all skin types, but dry skin types may particularly benefit from it.