As aestheticians, we have always talked about skin barrier repair, but lately, it keeps popping up on social media everywhere. During the pandemic, with everyone wearing masks, many people started noticing their skin was more irritated than usual. During this time, we first heard the term “maskne,” which was acne that formed from the masks, but the other side was that the skin became overheated and irritated, which can affect the skin barrier’s health.

Creating a healthy skin barrier is essential to good skin function.

Many factors can contribute to a compromised skin barrier. Some reasons a skin barrier could be compromised are, using the wrong products for your skin type, ingredients that are too harsh for your skin, or overexposure to the sun.

What is Skin Barrier?

There are three main layers to the skin. The epidermis is the top layer of skin and acts as a protective barrier. The middle layer of the dermis contains collagen and elastin and makes up most of the skin’s thickness. The third bottom layer is the hypodermis, or fatty layer that safeguards muscles and bones. When the skin barrier is functioning at the right level, it prevents irritants and bacteria from getting into the skin and creating problems. A healthy skin barrier locks oils and moisture into the skin, keeping the skin in good condition. 

What causes a compromised skin barrier?

Internal and external factors can contribute to a compromised skin barrier. Internal factors include illness or genetics that can cause eczema, and external factors include using products that irritate and strip the skin and environmental stressors like pollution and weather. All of these factors can keep your skin barrier from functioning correctly. 

What are signs that your skin may have a compromised skin barrier

 Your skin may become irritated quickly, with dry patches and inflammation. The top layer of skin may become thinner and red. 

The everyday products that you use daily may sting your skin. Skin conditions can worsen in the skin with a compromised skin barrier Which is another reason to maintain a healthy skin barrier. 

How to Repair a damaged skin barrier

Make sure to wear plenty of sunscreens to protect your skin while exposed to the sun. Wearing sun protection will prevent your delicate skin from receiving even more damage. Moisturize your skin daily using ingredients like ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, which will help to lock moisture into the skin and help to repair the damaged skin barrier. Make sure to use gentle products that use words like emollient and hydrating on the label to restore your skin barrier. Ensure you get enough sleep and eat well, including a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish. If you don’t already work out, try a light workout with your doctor’s permission which will help to relieve stress.

Things to avoid when you have a compromised skin barrier

Try to avoid things that could irritate your skin further, which will slow down the healing process in your skin. You will want to avoid anything abrasive, like rubbing your skin after washing it with a towel; instead, pat your skin gently. Other things to avoid during the healing process are waxing, microdermabrasion, retinol, active ingredients, and too much sun exposure. 

Final thoughts

Be patient with your skin during this time, and treat it gently. Start slowly getting back into your regular skincare routine when your skin’s fully healed by introducing one active ingredient at a time back into your routine. If you see any symptoms mentioned above, consult a licensed aesthetician to find the right products to repair your damaged skin barrier. 


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