Happy Friday! Today, I am sharing with you how to restore your skin barrier. A skin barrier is actually extremely important yet is easily overlooked in the beauty community. Your skin barrier is what makes your skin look strong and healthy. It’s what allows you not to have any skin issues. This is actually what I am struggling with at the moment and struggled with in the past. Therefore, in this post, I will share with you in detail what is a skin barrier, what happens when it’s damaged and how to restore it.

If you want to know how to restore your skin barrier, then keep on reading. Don’t forget to check out my previous post: REVIEW // Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide by Paula’s Choice

How to Restore your Skin Barrier

How to restore your skin barrier
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

What is a skin barrier?

The skin barrier is the outer layer of your skin that has a natural and protective shield. This barrier helps maintain healthy skin, helps avoid “trans-epidermal water loss” and protects your skin from irritants and allergens.

Trans-epidermal water loss can lead to a variety of unwanted skin conditions like more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles. It’s essentially when your skin lacks water and hydration. On another hand, irritants and allergens can cause other issues like acne, dryness, inflammation, and sensitivity.

Hence, your skin barrier is here to keep all of the damage out and to help your skin stay hydrated and balanced. Normally, a healthy barrier consists of ceramides, cholesterol, and essential fatty acids. And usually, a person with a strong skin barrier will be able to handle any product.

According to Paula’s Choice, “ceramides are smart ingredients: they serve as messengers and watchdogs, only letting in what they deem good for skin while helping keep the bad stuff out”

What happens when your skin barrier is damaged?

What is a disrupted or damaged barrier?

A disrupted barrier is when your barrier is weak and stops protecting your skin from environmental threats. It’s when your skin lacks ceramides and all of the healthy components I talked about above.

What causes your skin barrier to be damaged?

What usually causes your skin barrier to be damaged is when you use harsh cleansers and strong acne-medication. But it is also when you over-wash, over-exfoliate, or overuse a product in your routine. All of these contribute to your skin lacking hydrating and becoming irritated. I also know that stress and hormonal changes can weaken your skin barrier.

What are the signs of a disrupted barrier?

One of the signs of a disrupted barrier is oily-dehydrated skin. So when your skin feels dehydrated even though is still producing oils. “People who secrete a lot of oil are more likely to demonstrate aggressive skincare habits that strip away the natural oil and all (even good) bacteria off their face, which further damages your barrier function” (Krave Beauty, Skin Barrier 101).

Like I mentioned above, a disrupted skin barrier can lead to trans-epidermal water loss so your skin starts losing water quickly and starts feeling dehydrated.

Other signs of a disrupted skin barrier are sensitivity, redness, itching, and a dull, depleted look. Moreover, your skin may start reacting negatively to products that previously gave you no problem and you can become reactive to UV light, wind, cold temperatures, and other environmental threats.

In my case, when my skin barrier is damaged, my skin starts reacting negatively to active ingredients and recently, to face masks. Whenever I wear my mask at work, my cheeks and nose become extremely red. Take into consideration that I did not have this issue at the beginning of the pandemic. I am extremely sensitive to any active ingredient, for example, I can’t use salicylic acid more than once a week. That’s because my skin barrier is weak and my current routine focuses on restoring it!

How to restore your skin barrier?

“Skin’s barrier isn’t as difficult to repair as you might think. Doing so involves giving skin back the ingredients it needs thrive, protecting it from environmental damage, and, most important, treating it gently ” (Krave Beauty, Skin Barrier 101).

There are a few steps you can do in your routine that contribute to a healthy skin barrier like implementing facial oils and products with ceramides and cholesterol. I also know that adding Niacinamide to your routine can be extremely beneficial and slowly incorporating exfoliates into your routine is a good idea. I would suggest avoiding any active ingredients at first (like BHAs, Vitamin C…), just to give your skin the time to heal. It’s also advisable to avoid products with fragrance and essential oils because that contributes to more damage and sensitivity!

In general, “less is more”. Hence, just taking a step back from your routine to give your skin time to heal is critically important, along with treating it gently.

Concerning the time it takes for your skin to heal, it totally depends. It can take up to 2 weeks or a month for your skin barrier to be restored. It really depends on your type of skin. The key is to be a patient. Once your skin barrier is repaired, you’ll notice a decrease in redness, skin-sensitivity, inflammation, and dehydration. Your skin will look and feel stronger. This is when you’ll be able to go back to your regular routine while not making the same mistakes that lead your skin barrier to be damaged😉.

A step-by-step routine

The first step in a routine should always be a cleanser. For that step, always opt for one that is gentle and that does not dry out your skin. My personal favorite is the Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser by Youth To The People. It’s very gentle yet effective and is perfect if you have oily to combination skin. If you have normal to dry skin, I would suggest a hydrating cleanser from Paula’s Choice. The brand has a wonderful selection of cleansers!

The second step in a routine should be a hydrating toner or serum. This step is targeted towards replenishing your skin and restoring your barrier with key ingredients like Niacinamide, Ceramides, and so forth. You can obviously find a moisturizer with these ingredients and just stick to three products in your routine. This is just if you feel fancy! A wonderful serum I’ve always wanted to try and that is targeted towards restoring your skin barrier is the Great Barrier Relief by Krave Beauty. Paula’s Choice also offers an amazing skin-replenishing booster that helps restore the skin barrier.

The third step is to moisturize. Now, you can either go for a regular fragrance-free moisturizer or you can go with one that contains all key ingredients to restore your barrier. Personally, I am using the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream by Youth To The People that one is amazing because it is so lightweight yet extremely rich and moisturizing. Exactly what one needs for the winter. An even better option would be the Barrier repair moisturizer with retinal by Paula’s Choice that one contains retinol but Paula’s Choice offers other amazing options for dehydrated skin without any active ingredients so definitely check their website.

The fourth step should be sunscreen. That’s the most important step in any routine. Sunscreen protects your skin from any sun damage and hence helps your skin to look strong and healthy! I am actually hating the one I am using at the moment so I won’t mention it but Paula’s Choice has amazing sunscreen products that can also be used as moisturizers. I actually made an order recently and I can’t wait to try the sunscreen I chose!

How To Restore Your Skin Barrier

That’s it for today. Thank you so much for passing by. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you did, don’t forget to give it a ‘like’ and to subscribe to my blog.


See more on my Instagram & Twitter

This post contains affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click on one of these links and make a purchase. If you want to support my work, feel free to use these links! But no pressure whatsoever. Thank you 💕

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.