Ever touched a baby’s skin and wondered where you went wrong? Here’s the thing – your skin is endowed with a natural line of defence. It is equipped to retain what’s good for the skin and fight against all that’s harmful.
However, a plethora of reasons might cause this moisture barrier to take a beating. In this post, we’ll shed more light on what is the moisture barrier, why you need it, and what you can do to protect it.
What Really Is the Skin’s Moisture Barrier?
Your barrier is the outermost layer of your skin and is made of lipids – oils that bind your cells together. The reason why not a lot of us know about this is because it isn’t something you can feel or touch.
A thick layer that is acidic nature, protecting your moisture barrier is key to having healthy skin.
Let’s take a look at some of the many functions it performs:
- Prevents water loss – If you go back to your science textbooks, you’ll be reminded of the term transepidermal water loss. In simple terms, this means the loss of water from the body (or skin). The moisture barrier prevents the skin from losing out on natural moistures and keeps it hydrated.
- Fights against environmental stressors – Most of us are exposed to a glut of external irritants like microbes, dust, bacteria, and other debris. The moisture barrier prevents these from entering the skin.
- Minimises the risk of skin diseases – By keeping pathogens at bay, the moisture barrier reduces chances of diseases like psoriasis, eczema, etc.
- Maintains pH level – The pH level of your skin plays a huge role in determining the health of your skin. The skin’s outermost layer a.k.a. the moisture barrier has a natural pH value between 4-6. This helps by stunting the growth of fungi, parasites, and other viruses. Higher pH than normal leads to frequent breaking out.
A moisture barrier that’s healthy and intact will manifest itself in the skin’s appearances – think plump, vibrant, and smooth.
Is Your Moisture Barrier Damaged? Here’s How You Can Tell…
A moisture barrier that’s compromised will throw around a number of hints. You must re-evaluate your skincare and lifestyle if your skin:
- Often feels rough to touch
- Is reactive to a variety of products
- Feels tight and itchy
- Is sensitive and easily irritated
- Turns red and flushes frequently
- Is prone to breakouts, and other common skin conditions
- Seems dry despite moisturising
All in all, a broken moisture barrier requires immediate fixing.
What Causes a Damaged Moisture Barrier and What are the Possible Fixes?
Did the above-mentioned symptoms seem glaringly similar to yours? No worries. While a damaged moisture barrier can sound scary, fixing it can be as simple as making lifestyle changes and altering your skincare routine.
Let’s take a quick look at the possible causes and pertinent solutions:
You’re Using Skincare with the Wrong pH
In case you need some brushing up on pH values; anything below 7 is acidic, and everything above 7 is alkaline. As mentioned above, your skin is the healthiest at pH values ranging from 4-6. If it deviates from this magic number, your skin will play host to a range of skin problems.
In addition to avoiding harmful skincare ingredients, make sure you demand its pH information.
Alkaline skincare products pose the biggest threat to your skin’s moisture barrier. While they might make your skin feel smooth and dewy at first, they’ll end up doing more harm than good in the long-run. So, watch out for bar soaps, milky products, foaming face washes, etc.
Products on the other end of the spectrum are equally harmful. Too much acid can strip your skin of essential moistures and dehydrate it. For example, lemons – often used in DIY scrubs can cause irritation and redness.
Exfoliation is great – it unclogs the pores, improves blood circulation, and cleanses the skin. However, we’ve all heard of the saying too much of anything is bad, right?
We come across a number of people that exfoliate on a daily basis. That’s just a big NO! Furthermore, you may have been doing exfoliation wrong all along.
This will not just strip away the skin’s natural barrier, but also contribute to premature ageing amongst other problems.
If you want to exfoliate your face properly, proceed with caution.
- Introduce exfoliants slowly, and in case of any tingling, stinging, or flushing, stop immediately.
- Pick chemical exfoliants over physical ones (those that contain rough material). The latter is too harsh for the facial skin that’s much thinner than the rest of your body.
- If you do choose physical exfoliants, go with gentler ones. For example, sugar scrubs are too harsh for the skin.
- Limit exfoliation to twice a week, and wear sunscreen after you’re done.
Your Skin Isn’t Moisturised Well
If you spend long hours in air-conditioned rooms or dry climates, chances are that your skin requires more moisturising than normal. If you do not give your skin the hydration it needs, its moisture barrier will tear apart.
The key to protecting your moisture barrier is incorporating a fragrance-free humectant. These are products that draw moisture from the environment and keep skin hydrated. Humectants such as lipids and hyaluronic acid are masters at rebuilding or protecting your moisture barrier.
Alternatively, using a facial serum properly can penetrate your skin, and hydrate it at the deepest levels.
You Follow an Unhealthy Lifestyle
Chances are that you’re drinking too much coffee. Or alcohol. Maybe, you’re not getting enough beauty sleep. Perhaps, you’re missing out on foods that are nourishing for the skin. In addition to an efficient skincare routine, following a healthy lifestyle is paramount for protecting your moisture barrier.
Watch what you eat. Are you consuming hydrating foods like watermelons, cucumber, and lettuce?
Furthermore, if alcohol or coffee is your one true love, it might be time to re-assess your relationship. If not eliminate it completely, limiting its consumption would really help with protecting your moisture barrier.
Lastly, look out for yourself. If stress or worries are taking over you, get help. Always remember that healthy mental well-being is a stepping stone to healthy skin and body.
While a moisture barrier can be tricky to repair, some diligence and information can go a long way in protecting it.
Furthermore, using skincare formulated for your skin type will truly make for an easy fix! If you need help on that front, reach out to us. Our free skin assessment will tell you of all the clean and active ingredients your skin needs. It’s time to do away with all the trial-and-error.