HEALTHY BOUNDARIES: SPOTLIGHT ON SKIN BARRIER PROTECTION
The hashtag – #skinbarrier – may have started as a trend but the shift towards restoring and replenishing the skin barrier proactively, rather than superficially treating skin barrier damage, reactively, is here to stay.
In the past 12 months there has been a 70% increase in search terms related to Skin Barrier Protection; nearly 130, 000 mentions of #skinbarrier on Instagram and over 40 million views of the hashtag on Tik Tok, making the topic more than a buzzword – it’s a legitimate movement in the skincare industry and social media circles.
If every action has a reaction, then the recent focus on skin barrier protection is the industry’s answer to the problems created by the “glass skin” trend of 2021 that led to DIY resurfacing products and treatments flooding the market. These at-home peels, DIY micro-needling kits, mix-and-match exfoliating acids, and increased prescription retinoid doses may have promised smooth, clear, “Instagram filter” skin but delivered more harm than good, stripping more than hard-earned cash from wallets – stripping hard-working skins of their defences, too.
What is the skin barrier?
In a nutshell, it’s the uppermost and outermost layer of our skin – your body’s first line of defence. The skin barrier is responsible for keeping the good (think moisture) in and the bad (think bacteria) out. A healthy skin barrier lets your skin live its best life – hydrated, healthy-looking, microbe- and pollutant-free. When your skin barrier is compromised your skin will battle to maintain pH balance and retain moisture, and it won’t able to keep environmental pollutants out. The key culprits responsible for putting your skin barrier in a compromised position? Using products too harsh for your skin type, over-exfoliating, and “Just ten more minutes, I’ll put SPF on just now” sunburn.
You’ve overdone (and over-exfoliated) it, now what?
For 6 to 8 weeks, pack away the retinol and the acids, and make a gentle cleanser and moisturiser your new skincare BFFs. You’re going to want to go big on hydration and nourishment to restore the moisture you’ve lost and create a temporary physical shield while your skin re-builds its own. Look for products that contain hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, and niacinamide, and protect your skin all day, every day with a multi-tasking sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection from beach vacay to virtual boardroom.