A healthy skin barrier is crucial for a radiant, blemish-free complexion. Here’s how to keep yours in tip-top condition.

Your skin barrier is something you may not have thought about much in the past. But, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the constant mask-wearing that came with it, we are now more aware than ever just how important it is to keep our skin barriers healthy and strong.

Breaking down the barrier

Our skin is made up of layers, the outer of which is made up of tougher skin cells to protect what’s underneath. This is called the stratum corneum, or your skin barrier, which contains keratin and moisturizing oils. The fatty acids and ceramides keep your skin functioning as it should. If your skin barrier is compromised, you can experience all sorts of concerns, ranging from breakouts to redness.

There are many culprits that could be responsible for damaging your skin barrier, such as over-washing and over-exfoliating, dry air, sun exposure, allergies, and your genetic make-up. You could experience dry, rough patches, inflammation, zits, discoloration, or even infection. One of the main reasons that skin barriers are in the spotlight right now, however, is thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. With masks becoming mandatory, people started to develop more acne and those with existing skin conditions were experiencing flare-ups. This is because of the constant friction of the mask rubbing against the face.

But, with mask-wearing, no doubt being a *must* for the foreseeable future, here are tips to keep your skin barrier strong so that it can fulfill its important role and keep you healthy.

Tip #1: Go back to basics

It’s possible that your compromised skin barrier is a result of an overly-complicated skincare routine. Try eliminating some of them and stick to only those that are 100% necessary, such as cleanser, moisturizer, and sunblock. Also, avoid harsh scrubs and try a chemical exfoliant instead.

Tip #2: Embrace facial oils

Facials oils have become increasingly popular. Rosehip, jojoba, soybean, almond, and argan oils are common picks. They can be applied directly onto your skin or mixed into your face cream.

Facial oil

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Tip #3: Check out the ingredients

There are a number of skincare ingredients that are hailed for their skin-barrier-restoring properties. Ceramides, which are naturally-occurring in the skin and are essential to its function, are a great addition to your skincare routine, as are moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid or glycerin.

Tip #4: Watch your water temperature

It’s tempting, particularly in the cold winter months to wash your face with hot water. It will strip away the natural oils and lead to dry, itchy epidermis. Tepid water is best! You can follow up with a lotion to seal in much-needed moisture.