Building a Strong Skin Barrier

A strong skin barrier will keep you safe from irritation and sensitivity. If your skin is damaged or weak, the barrier won’t provide you with the protection you need. This is the reason for sensitive skin. The best way to protect yourself from environmental stresses, like UV radiation, pollution and harsh chemicals, is to strengthen the skin barrier.

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A weak skin barrier could result from aging or skin color (the more sensitive to irritation, redness etc.).) or other environmental triggers. A strong skin barrier is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and the hydration. Dry and dull skin is the result of a weak skin barrier. A weak barrier to skin can also mean that chemicals can be more easily absorbed into the skin, which can cause irritation. This is usually evident in people complaining that certain products sting, irritate or redden their skin. So what can you do?

Make sure your skincare routine is simple. Look at what products you’re using. Eliminate alcohol- or witch hazel-based products. Avoid using detergents in your cleaning routine. Avoid the use of harsh chemicals of any kind.

No scrubs, cleansing tools, or over cleansing (i.e. brushes or cleaning cloths). If you need cleaning equipment, ensure that it is gentle. The tools could be too rough. Always be gentle when cleaning your face.

* Look for ingredients like Linoleic acid (Omega 6 fatty acid). We don’t manufacture this ingredient in nature and need to obtain it through diet or applied topically. It improves the barrier of skin and is extremely moisturizing. Find oils such as Hemp Seed Oil, Sunflower, Safflower in your products.

*No detergents! (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). They cause dry skin, irritated and SLS’s upset the natural balance of PH in the skin. Avoid products that are acidic that strip the skin’s surface layer. Colorants, fragrances and harsh chemicals may be a contributing factor to the weakness of skin.

*Do avoid using hot water when bathing or showering. It can cause the depletion of natural oils.

*Play defense! Make sure your skin is protected from stressors such as free radical damage. Search for antioxidants, natural extracts such as Green Tea, Vitamins (A,C and E) and nutrient-rich oils like pomegranate within your products. These ingredients help to build a stronger skin barrier.

*Stress. Look at the ways you manage stress. High stress levels slow down the capacity to heal.

*Diet. *Diet. They are great for the skin and help retain water. The healthier your diet, the better your skin.

*Sunscreen. It’s important to use it. It’s the best way to shield your skin barrier.

Melanie Hemsworth has spent the past 20 years researching and analyzing the ingredients in skincare, their applications and regime in order to understand what is effective and what doesn’t on the skin.