What is the Skin Barrier?
The skin barrier is the super thin top layer of the skin: made up of about 15-25 layers of dead cells. This layer is a protective barrier that helps retain moisture in your skin and prevents irritants or foreign substances from penetrating the skin.
What happens when your skin barrier is damaged?
In simple terms, your skin is left “unprotected”. Small " cracks " are formed, not visible to the human eye, where irritants can penetrate more easily and where water escapes from your skin more easily.
Some ways in which we can damage the skin barrier are:
Exfoliation physical abrasive
use cleaners that leave the skin with sensation stiff either stiff
Use products with high levels of drying alcohols
use products irritating
use too many ingredients active a the time
Use active ingredients in higher concentrations than what your skin tolerates
Virtually anything that damages our skin barrier can cause our skin to enter into vicious cycles. The idea is to identify when we are in these cycles in order to stop them.
Getting out of a vicious cycle is a somewhat tedious process since your skin requires time to adjust to normality. Similar to when you stop eating sugar, at first you may go through a phase of anxiety and want to eat something sweet, but if you manage to get past that phase you begin to feel much better and even have more energy and vitality than before.
Well, something similar happens when you get out of a vicious skin cycle. While your skin barrier has not yet recovered, the skin produces oils to try to stop excessive water loss. You see your oily skin and the first thing you want to do is go back to your drying products… you see the texture in your skin and the first thing you want to do is go back to your heavy scrubs… But if you let your skin barrier recover, you will really be able to see the wonder of having a healthy and strong skin barrier. Healing the skin barrier in some people takes 2-4 weeks and in other people it can take a little longer. You have to be patient.
When your skin is well balanced it is so much easier to achieve the skin you want.