Hi everyone, Today I wanted to talk about the skin barrier and what it has probably to do with Acne, atopic dermatitis or just general uncomfortable skin. We’re going to cover the following topics What is the skins barrier? How do we damage the skins barrier? what does a damaged skin barrier feel like? what does it matter if we damage our skin barrier? and What can we do to repair it? But firstly welcome! If you are new here hi, my name’s Anne, I’m a doctor and a beauty lover and I’m passionate about sharing beauty tips and tricks for people with more mature skin. You might not know that about me, but I suffer from a mild form of atopic dermatitis, and recently, due to many factors, I had a huge flare-up that was not contained to my body but spread up over my chest and Onto my face, which was not pretty but reminded me that I’ve been meaning to talk about the damaged skin barrier for quite some time. What is the skin barrier?
The skin barrier goes by many different names: lipid barrier, moisture barrier or, the most technical term, stratum corneum It’s basically the upper layer of dead skin cells. It’s usually 10 to 20 layers of them and in between is a lipid matrix made up of ceramides (around 60%) phospholipids and fatty acids. On top of that the skin has a mildly acidic pH which helps activate some enzymes that are in this lipid matrix and Help fight bacteria. So basically the skin barrier keeps the good stuff like the moisture in and keeps the bad stuff like bacteria and Irritants out. What does damage the skin barrier? Well, basically everything. There are environmental factors like wind Cold air, dry air. There are lifestyle factors like alcohol, smoking, pollution, medication we need to take and stress, because stress increases cortisol levels and cortisol leads to chronic inflammation and increased production of sebum in our skin. Then, as Always, we have age: The amount of ceramides we have in our skin which make up to 60% of the lipids in the skin barrier Decreases.
And there are some innate conditions like acne, rosacea and atopic dermatitis that come with a naturally weaker Skin barrier. The biggest factor though are our habits. And the first one is: over washing our face. Water changes the pH of our skin and any cleansers we put on our face, Especially harsh cleansers, foaming cleansers and alkaline cleansers Do not only disrupt the pH, but take away the oils that we need to protect or to form this protective barrier. I did a whole video on the topic of double cleansing and if it’s actually bad for your skin that I’m going to link in The cards here, but as a takeaway message: Do clean your skin as often as necessary, but as gentle as possible. Another thing is over exfoliation. As I mentioned the skin barrier is made up of 10 to 20 layers of dead skin and these are needed, so if we are continuously Exfoliating the upper layer, we are stripping our skin from this protective barrier. We do need to exfoliate as we age because cell turnover gets slower, the cells don’t shed as easily so we end up not with 20, but with 30, 35 layers on our skin
which makes it look tired, but if we end up with just 5 this isn’t good either because it’s just a weaker protection. And For that it’s really important to take a look at your routine and see what you are actually Using that is exfoliating: Your cleansing brushes – They are physical exfoliants, your microfiber or washcloth – Physical exfoliants. The towel you rub your face with is a physical exfoliant. If you pair that with a daily Gentle chemical peel like the pixi Glow Tonic and then maybe a weekly peel, you’re just overexfoliating your skin and that will get you in trouble. Then of course all the other actives we use, especially acne medication or things like retinol, but even vitamin C,
which can be potentially irritating. So if you use them too often and combine too many, over time You can weaken your skin barrier. Another common mistake is not replenishing the lost lipids. I have been guilty of that as well. When I grew up I would use the harshest cleanser I could on my face and then leave it without any kind of hydrating or Moisturizing layer on top, just because I wanted to get rid of all the oil. But that made things worse, made my skin more prone to bacteria invading and led to more acne breakouts. So a lightweight moisturizer that is aimed at acne prone and oily skin is actually a must, and the same goes for your body: If you take a long bath or a Long shower and don’t moisturize immediately afterwards, you will probably end up with dry patches everywhere.
Well, we all have a skin type and we also have skin conditions, and if these conditions change, this might be a warning sign. My skin type is Combination oily, it gets more to normal now that I age and my skin conditions are: dehydration, mature and acne prone. Some warning signs are if your skin gets Really really oily, but at the same time feels kind of tight and dehydrated, if you get breakouts in areas where you never had a breakout before And these are really stubborn and hard to treat, if you develop product resistant dry patches or flakes of eczema, if your skin feels Inflamed and you develop redness, or if a skin care product that you’ve been using for a long time suddenly causes Stinging and irritation.
Why is a damaged in barrier problematic? The skin acts as a barrier, So not only does a damaged skin barrier make it easier for water to evaporate, leading to dehydrated skin or an increase in Transepidermal Water Loss, but it’s also easier for Bacteria and potential irritants to penetrate inside your skin, So A) you’re more prone to breakout and inflammation and B) You’re more prone to developing sensitivities And this is why I personally, when you have a damaged skin barrier, do not recommend using essential oils or any other kind of Fragrance. Not because they do damage the skin barrier, But because they can penetrate inside and the possibility of you developing an allergy against them is much higher Than it is when your skin is functioning completely normal. And even without the dehydration and the bacteria invading leading to breakouts your skin is actually Pretty uncomfortable. I don’t want to run around with tight, Itchy and red skin,
I want my skin to feel plump and shiny and lovely. Skin barrier repair – How do you actually do it? As always Prevention is key and you can’t repair your skin barrier if you’re leading a shitty lifestyle. Stop smoking Stop drinking Make sure you eat a balanced diet that contains all the good nutrients. Manage your stress levels: Work out – This is my preferred way – or meditate if that is what works for you. Make sure you get enough sleep and if all that is done, take a look at your skincare. Make sure you’re using a gentle cleanser and then really access all your Exfoliation and your actives. Do you need all of them? I mean, it’s perfectly fine if you can apply a retinol, a vitamin C and glycolic acid all in one setting but the important point is: You don’t need to, so why would you? Spread them out to different days. Make sure you only use the actives that you and your skin really need! And of course,
I’m guilty of shoving everything on my face and trust me I have paid the price many, many times! So look what you and your skin really need and then make sure you use it as often as needed But not too often. Look at your exfoliation: Once a week is probably fine. Don’t use face brushes, Don’t rub your face with your towel or your washcloth. Just Gentle. Treat your skin gentle! If your skin is already damaged, Then you need to make a plan: The first thing is to cut out everything and focus on gentle cleansing, a lot of hydration and Ingredients that help repair the skin barrier. The last time I damaged my skin barrier it took me a little longer than a week before I slowly started to reintroduce atcives into my routine. This might be shorter for you if you catch it early, This might take even longer depending on your skin and how far it has been damaged. But your face is not going to fall off if you stop using your actives for a week! Gentle cleanser, Hydration, and then a cream that’s called barrier repairing cream or moisture cream, things like that,
basically a cream that contains phospholipids, ceramides and essential fatty acids to help replenish that. If you have something with niacinamid Or if you have something with ProVitamin B5 then this might help on top to soothe and repair your skin. I will have few product recommendations down in the description box. Urea and Even lactic acid have been shown in some studies to help with rebuilding the skin barrier Because they are slightly acidic and hydrating. So if your skin’s pH is the problem, if it is too alkaline due to your cleansers This might work But I personally did stay clear from even lactic acid for the time that my skin was Upset with me. And once you feel like your skin is back in great condition, your breakouts Go back, your skin looks even, there’s no itching,
no tightness no eczema patches, then you can slowly slowly! Reintroduce your actives. Not more than one a week, don’t start using them every night, really listen to your skin and See how much it can actually take. Skincare is a marathon, not a sprint. You need your skin to look good for the rest of your life So if it takes you a week or two longer to introduce a retinol into your routine This will not make you old Overnight. That was hard because I’m kind of impatient, but I admit my skin looks the best that it has in Quite a long time. So maybe this eczema flare-up was just the nudge in the right direction that I needed. I’m going to link a few videos on the screen that I think might interest you, I´d love to hear if you have experienced a damaged skin barrier and what you did do to Heal it. Don’t forget to Like and subscribe, and I’m going to see you all very soon with another video. Bye