How to repair your skin’s barrier function

How to repair your skin’s barrier function

It’s never bothered you before, so why does it suddenly sting when you apply your anti-ageing serum? Also, your skin feels incredibly dry, but no amount of moisturiser manages to quench it. So have you suddenly developed a dry, sensitive skin type overnight? It’s not likely, but there’s a good chance you’ve disrupted your skin’s barrier function. The good news, however, is that it’s easy to repair with the right products. 

Barrier function 101 

Your skin’s “barrier” is essentially the uppermost layers, and its “function” is two-fold – to keep moisture in and irritants like bacteria and pollution out. Alas, you can damage these critical layers in many ways. A combination of things like exposure to extreme weather could do the trick. However, most often, people damage their skin’s barrier by over-using exfoliating products, be it a grainy scrub or a high percentage alpha hydroxy acid toner. 

So, once your barrier function’s gone wrong – how do you repair it? Your journey starts with taking a break and then making a switch.

A clever swap   

What are you currently using on your skin? Exfoliating scrubs? Super soapy cleansers? Alcohol-infused toners? All of these and anything else containing a potential irritant, things like fragrance, acids, enzymes, and potent actives like retinol and vitamin C will need to be put on ice.  

You can then say ‘hello’ to your new favourite ultra-gentle cleanser Lamelle Serra Cleansing Gel. It’s soap-free and specially formulated for very dry, sensitised skin using anti-inflammatory peptides and patented Ceramide-P. The latter replicates your skin’s ceramides to help repair your barrier function. 

Hydrate cleverly 

Imagine your skin like a tiled roof with the tiles representing your outermost skin cells. When they’re damaged, they’re missing or lifting up instead of lying flat, allowing your skin’s natural lipids to escape. As a result, ordinary moisturisers “leak out” within minutes of being applied. This is why you’ll need specially formulated reparative products that can give your skin a very particular type of moisture. These are a mix of ceramides that can mimic those in your skin’s intracellular matrix. 

A top pick would be SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 formulated with 2% ceramides, 4% cholesterol and 2% fatty acids. Another barrier-repairing gem is the Lamelle Serra NSB Cream

For the record, a period of sensitivity isn’t the only time you could benefit from a barrier repair cream. We often recommend them to our patients after having an ablative treatment like a laser session or peel. Two of our “intensive care” favourites are Lamelle Professional Barrier Repair Cream – a literal “bandage in a bottle” – and SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair

The road to recovery

After a period of TLC, most of our patients find their skin’s barrier restores to the point where they can revert to using their old products. But it’s essential to move slowly and reintroduce things one by one to see exactly what – and how much – you can tolerate. Don’t want to walk this road alone? Make an appointment to see one of our highly skilled therapists who can help you set up a reparative regime that’ll get you back on track in no time at all. 

Read the full June 2021 Online Skin Store Newsletter here!

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