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Skin Barrier Damage: Causes, Signs, Skincare Tips & Ingredients To Use

The outermost layer of your skin is called the skin barrier as it acts like a barrier between the outside (environment) and inside (your body). Its chief function is to protect the main layer of your skin – the epidermis and prevent your body from getting dehydrated. But  pollution, prolonged sunlight exposure and the use of wrong skin products can easily lead to skin barrier damage making your skin dry, dull and susceptible to breakouts.

Your skin is made up of layers, each of which serves a crucial protective purpose for your body. It is the stratum corneum or uppermost layer of the skin which is referred to as the ‘skin barrier.’    It is made up of thick skin cells called corneocytes that are held together by lipids, keratin, and natural moisturizers, acting as the defense mechanism for the main layer of your skin called the ‘epidermis.’. 

Without the skin barrier, a wide range of hazardous environmental pollutants and infections might enter your body and cause damage. Furthermore, if your skin barrier were to fail, the water in your body would escape and evaporate, leaving you completely dehydrated. Your skin barrier is critical to your overall health and must be safeguarded.

Various external and internal factors can adversely affect your skin barrier such as: 

  • Too much humidity or dryness in the environment
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Exposure to pollutants, allergens, and irritants in the environment 
  • Harsh chemicals, harsh detergents, and soaps, 
  • Steroids 
  • Over-exfoliation and use of harsh scrubs,
  • mental stress and genetic disorders
  • skin diseases.

A skin barrier damage is characterized by dry, itchy, scaly skin texture, discoloration or hyperpigmentation, frequent acne breakouts, skin sensitivity, skin infection, redness, rashes and dullness on the skin.

  • Products containing hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid or glycerin: These all are different types of sugar that attract and hold water molecules. It aids in the reduction of wrinkle depth, the improvement of skin firmness, and the reduction of skin roughness.
  • Peptides- Peptides are found in living creatures in their natural state. Certain peptides have been demonstrated to improve skin texture by stimulating collagen formation. 
  • High-Quality SPF: A good quality SPF sunscreen is very essential to protect the skin barrier against harmful UV rays.
  • Botanical Oils high in Essential Fatty Acid: As the skin barrier is mainly made up of lipids and fatty acids, botanical oils help protect it by maintaining the lipid content. 
  • Ceramides: Ceramides are fats or lipids found in the cells of the skin. They constitute 30 to 40 percent of your epidermis. Ceramides are essential for keeping your skin moisturized and preventing infectious substances from entering your body.
  • Excessive use of acidic ingredients like ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C): Although face acids like ascorbic acid and vitamin C are good for your skin but excessive use of these acids in higher concentrations can burn the skin barrier.
  • Harsh cleansing scrubs: Harsh scrubs like Walnut scrubs can give micro-injuries to the skin barrier.
  • Essential oils: Essential oils can be too concentrated and strong for a lot of people and hence should only be used with caution. 
  • Harsh topical prescription acne medications (like benzoyl peroxide): Although helpful for active acne, such medication can cause skin barrier damage if used on a daily basis.
  • Sulfates:  Sulfates such as sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate are harsh, abrasive, and drying compounds that are widely found in cleansers, body washes, and shampoos. They irritate and corrode the skin, leading to increased dryness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with time. Research has shown that sulfates can age the skin.
  • Certain alcohols: Ingredients like SD alcohol, ethanol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and ethyl alcohol are drying ingredients that strip away skin’s natural oils and lead to premature aging and irritation

The time taken for the skin barrier to repair totally depends on your skin type, condition and the level of damage. On average one can expect to start seeing visible results anywhere between two to four weeks.

  • Deconstruct Retinol and Peptide Serum Deconstruct Retinol and Peptide Serum has 0.2% Retinol and 5% Peptide that increase the cell turnover rate and rejuvenates damaged skin. This serum also helps in tackling acne, dark spots, and pigmentation thus giving even-toned skin. 
  • Deconstruct Hydrating serum with 2% Hyaluronic Acid + 1% Niacinamide This unique serum combines two of the best ingredients for dry skin. With 2% Hyaluronic Acid and 1% Niacinamide, the serum has a mild formula that will be well tolerated by all skin types alike. It hydrates while repairing the skin barrier. 
  • Deconstruct NMF Hydrating Moisturizer– NMF skin cream is a lightweight daily gel moisturizer that hydrates, nourishes and calms skin. Enriched with Natural Moisturizing Factor Complex (NMF) that mimics the skin’s natural NMF, helps to maintain adequate hydration in the barrier, without giving the oily feel and strengthens the skin barrier.

The skin barrier is an essential component of our body. Not only does it protect the main layer of our skin but only ensures that we don’t get dehydrated. Prolonged exposure to the sun, pollutants, allergens, harsh chemical products, etc can damage the skin barrier leading to all sorts of skin problems. With proper care and nourishment, a damaged skin barrier can be repaired.

  • How do you know if your skin barrier is damaged?

Occurrence of dry, itchy, scaly skin texture, discoloration or hyperpigmentation, frequent acne breakouts, skin sensitivity, skin infection, redness, rashes and dullness on the skin can be a sign of damaged skin barrier.

  • Can a damaged skin barrier be repaired?

Absolutely! With proper skincare and preventive measures, the skin barrier could be repaired. 

  • How long does it take to treat the skin barrier?

You can expect to see visible results anywhere between 2 weeks to 4 weeks. The full recovery time. 

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