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You want to be nice to your skin and avoid stripping it of necessary oils and moisture. Maybe you’ve even heard of the importance of your natural protective skin barrier.
But what is that natural barrier? What factors lead to a compromised or damaged skin barrier? Can you restore your skin barrier? If so, what are the best skin barrier repair products?
Important questions. Let’s get started.
Your natural protective skin barrier is essentially a wall of dead skin cells held together by a skin lipid barrier and “is highly biologically active and of major importance not only to skin health, but to overall health” according to researchers. It functions as a security guard, protecting the tissue beneath it and preventing UV radiation, pollution, bacteria, dirt, toxins, and other unwanted contaminants from passing through.
Other skin barrier functions include proper hydration, balanced lipid levels, and maintaining your natural moisturizing factor.
This protective skin barrier can be compromised for many reasons - including over stripping your skin with chemical cleansers and topical medications. Some of the most common include:
As you get older, the functions of the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis, starts to decline. This leads to a weakened skin barrier that could become vulnerable and further damaged from elements such as weather.
While you can’t stop the aging process, there are proactive steps you can take to prevent and possibly even reverse skin barrier damage. Barrier creams also known as anti-aging creams or ointments can be added to your regular daily routine. These creams are thicker than a moisturizer and work to repair and heal damaged skin.
Harsh weather can take a toll on your skin barrier. In extreme heat and high humidity, your skin secretes more oil leaving you with greasy skin. In extreme cold and low humidity, your skin loses moisture quickly leaving you with dry, flaky skin.
To protect your skin from harsh weather, ensure you have proper attire to cover your skin. In cold conditions, bundle up with essentials like gloves and use a face cover such as a big scarf. In hot conditions, wear loose clothing and protective covering such as a wide brimmed hat.
You may also need to adjust your skincare routine. In cold conditions, you may need to switch to a thicker moisturizer especially in drier areas to protect and hydrate your skin. In hot conditions, you’ll need to use gentle cleansing products to keep oils at bay and switch to a lighter moisturizer. In all weather conditions, you should always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
Cleansing should always be part of your daily routine but using the wrong cleanser may actually harm you in the long run. Some cleansers such as bar soap contain harsh chemical ingredients like tetrachlorosalicylanilide (TCSA), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), and Laureth Ether Sulfate (SLES). While these chemical surfactants clean your skin, they’re also stripping away moisture, drying out your skin, and reducing your skin barrier.
Before purchasing any cleanser including makeup products, read the ingredient label to avoid products with harsh chemicals. Instead, opt for a gentle product made with natural ingredients where possible.
When cleansing your face, especially when you’re in a rush, avoid using regular soaps such as hand soap. Then follow up with a natural face moisturizer to lock in hydration.
Using the wrong cleanser, foaming washes, or makeup wipes can leave your skin feeling dry and tight. This feeling is known as skin stripping. These products “strip” away the natural oil in your skin leaving your skin barrier vulnerable to inflammation and damages. Using hot water as well as rubbing your face with a towel or cloth will also over-strip your skin.
Prevention is key to keeping your skin clean, hydrated, and protected. Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser made with all natural ingredients. If you’re unable to use an all natural product, take product breaks switching with other cleansers to give your skin a break especially if you notice the overly tight feeling after using a product. You can also minimize how often you wash your face. Avoid rubbing your face with a towel and instead, gently dab your face until it is dry.
Drinking enough water not only keeps you hydrated, it flushes out your body keeping you healthy. When you don’t drink enough water, the outermost layer of your skin loses moisture resulting in dehydration. When you become dehydrated, your skin loses elasticity and is unable to bounce back.
According to the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average daily water intake to remain hydrated is 2.7 liters (11.5 cups) of water for women and 3.7 liters (15.5 cups) for men from all food and beverage sources.
To stay hydrated, ensure you are drinking the recommended amount of water by drinking water with meals and between meals, while and after exercising, and whenever you feel thirsty.
Your environment, whether outside or inside, has a big impact on your skin. Environmental stressors like air pollution, UV radiation, and second-hand smoke can damage your skin barrier, making it more difficult for your skin to protect you from these harmful substances. When your skin barrier becomes damaged, your skin can become dry and inflamed resulting in premature aging.
While you may not be able to help where you live, there are several things you can do to combat these effects. First, use natural skin care products that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help restore your skin barrier. Second, avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. And lastly, limit your time in areas with high levels of pollution or UV radiation.
We can all tell when our skin looks ‘off’. Most of us have experienced the occasional bout of dry, irritated skin.
But there is more to it than that. Maybe your skin feels tight and itchy, or you’ve noticed that you’re suddenly more prone to breakouts. These are all possible signs that your skin barrier might be damaged.
A damaged skin barrier can be painful - and frustrating. When the skin barrier is damaged, it can become dry and irritated, making it more susceptible to infection.
Here’s how to tell if a damaged skin barrier is what your skin is suffering from.
A compromised skin barrier makes your skin feel consistently dry and dehydrated, no matter what products you use. This is called transepidermal water loss, and it’s a clear sign that you need to restore skin barrier function.
Another sign that your natural protective skin barrier has been weakened is your skin becoming irritated by products that you used to tolerate. This kind of hyper-reactivity could be a sign of damage.
These indicate that your skin barrier is reacting to irritants in your environment, possibly including even simple airborne particles like dust.
If your skin is looking dull, it’s a signal that your natural sebum production is out of whack. Similarly, breakouts are a sign that your defenses are down.
There are many reasons for our skin to break out, from eating oily food to environmental stressors such as heat and humidity. If you consistently have breakouts, this can be a sign of skin barrier damage.
Skincare products made with gentle, natural ingredients are best for restoring and strengthening your natural barrier. Here is a list of some of the best nutrient replenishing ingredients for skin barrier.
A form of Vitamin B3, niacinamide boosts ceramide production, thereby improving lipid barrier function and helps to keep skin hydrated. Niacinamide is also known for its anti-imflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness and inflammation.
Linoleic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that helps repair barrier function. Linoleic acid is something that our bodies can't produce on their own, but we can get it from external sources such as nuts and seeds.
Load up on vitamin E, vitamin C, and other antioxidants to protect against free radical damage to your skin’s barrier.
An essential nutrient, Vitamin E is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by environmental stressors such as UV rays. Vitamin E also aids in reproductive health, vision, and keeps the heart healthy.
A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C helps to protect and repair your skin from damage caused by free radicals which can cause premature aging, wrinkles, and dark spots. Vitamin C is also essential for the production of collagen, a protein that helps to keep your skin firm and elastic.
Sunscreen is important whether you’re spending a day at the beach or sitting next to a window. Choose sunscreens with natural, skin-safe ingredients that have SPF of at least 30 for skin barrier protection from UV damage without causing any additional harm.
We nailed down 8 key ingredients that offer the majority of benefits to your skin. All of our products contain an efficacious amount of one or more of these eight “Saints”, providing truth and clarity in natural, effective skincare.
The weather, your environment, use of products containing certain chemicals, and overstripping can all lead to dehydration. Your skin barrier may be dehydrated if you experience the following:
Our Cloud Whip Face Cream blocks free radicals, fades sun spots, and prevents discoloration all while locking in moisture to keep your skin barrier hydrated.
Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, MSM, Jojoba oil
How to Use It: Apply in the morning or night after serum massaging upwards into your face and neck until absorbed.
Our Coast is Clear Face Toner contains healing minerals and anti-inflammatory agent, Vitamin B5, to soothe your skin and stabilize your skin barrier holding in water while absorbing trapped dirt and oil.
Key Ingredients: Vitamin B5, Witch Hazel, Seawater & Kelp
How to Use It: Saturate a cotton pad and sweep over face, neck and under eyes. Alternatively, spritz 3 pumps onto your palms and gently pat your face for a midday refresh. Follow with serum, oil, and/or moisturizer.
Environmental stressors like pollution and UV rays can damage your skin barrier causing irritation, inflammation, and dryness resulting in a dull complexion.
Our dual purpose Soulmate Brightening Treatment combines hyaluronic and glycolic acids for exceptional hydration and rapid cell turnover resulting in radiant, bright skin.
Key Ingredients: Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Organic Shea Butter
How to Use It: Apply 1-2 pumps of brightening treatment after cleansing your skin avoiding the eye area. Layer brightening moisturizer over serum and under cream.
Our lightweight High Society Face Oil is rich with antioxidants, absorbing quickly into your skin for intense hydration while smoothing fine lines.
Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, Marula Oil, Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil
How to Use It: Apply two to four drops to your face and neck in the evening after cleansing. Gently press the oil into your skin.
Skin blemishes like acne, eczema, and dry skin are usually the result of damage to your skin barrier from environmental stressors such as weather and pollution. Since the skin on our face is thinner and more delicate than the skin on other parts of the body, it’s more susceptible to developing blemishes.
Made with natural pink Kaolin and French green clays, our Down to Earth Gel Cleanser absorbs excess oil and unclogs pores without stripping, irritating, or drying out your skin.
Key Ingredients: VItamin C, Kaolin Clay, French Clay, DMAE
How to Use It: Use 1-2 pumps mixed with water to lather and gently massage onto your face in an upward, circular motion. Splash with warm water to rinse.
As a result of your environment, weather, and harsh chemicals, your skin barrier can become damaged leading to a variety of skin problems including redness, itchiness, dryness, and breakouts.
Our fast-absorbing Seeking C Face Serum reduces skin inflammation, irregular pigmentation, promotes health collagen production, and naturally prevents acne breakouts.
Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, Dandelion, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E
How to Use It: Use daily after cleansing by applying a small amount of this anti-aging serum to your entire face and neck. Let sit and allow to dry then follow up with a moisturizer.
Our Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment is formulated with maximum strength 2% botanic salicyclic acid to clear up blemishes and witch hazel to tighten pores, controlling stubborn acne while reducing redness and inflammation.
Key Ingredients: Botanical Salicyclic Acid, Witch Hazel, Cloves
How to Use It: Use this spot treatment when you have an acne breakout allowing up to 48 hours for acne reduction. Apply a pea-sized amount gently onto your acne no more than once a day.
As you age, your skin barrier becomes weaker and less able to protect you from factors such as the environment and weather. This can lead to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. While you can’t stop the aging process, you can repair and protect your skin by using natural products that contain ingredients to repair the skin barrier.
Our hydrating Almond Butter Sugar High Hand Cream is formulated with Vitamin C to combat wrinkles, even skin tone, and reduce inflammation.
Key Ingredients: Hemp Seed Oil, Cacao Butter, Shea Butter, Avocado, Vitamin C
How to Use It: Use as needed by massaging the hand cream into your hands and cuticles.
Our natural Up The Anti-Aging Cream includes niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B-3 which increases production of ceramides, elastin, and keratin to firm and smooth your skin preventing wrinkles and fine line.
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Peptides
How to Use It: Use daily on clean skin by gently massaging a small amount of this anti-aging cream to your entire face.
The skin barrier is a crucial part of keeping your skin healthy and happy - it’s essentially your skin’s natural dense system. But when damaged, how long does it take for your skin barrier to repair itself? It depends.
When removed from stressors that damaged it in the first place, your skin barrier can heal on it’s own within two weeks. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to remove all stressors such as aging.
But with a little patience, lifestyle changes, and the right skincare routine, you can help your skin barrier repair itself. If your skin barrier is only slightly damaged, it may take 2-4 weeks to heal. However if there is moderate or severe damage, it can take anywhere from 3-6 months to heal.
Maintaining healthy skin doesn’t stop at using the right products - it also requires some lifestyle changes. Learn how to strengthen your skin barrier for long-term positive effects.
Remember that healthy skin comes from within - which means there are key nutrients that you can consume to help restore your barrier today:
One of the most important things you can do for your skin is to make sure you're properly hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your skin cells plump, prevents the formation of wrinkles, flushes out toxins, and reduces inflammation.
Ceramides and essential fatty acids are available in supplement form. In clinical trials, 95% of participants experienced complete rehydration of stubbornly dry, flaky skin after 90 days with total elimination of itching and cracking when taking ceramides.
They’re anti-inflammatory, meaning they soothe and repair the skin’s protective barrier. Consuming fatty-acid rich foods like cold water fish, flax seed, and plant oils will also restore your lipids.
Your skin is your first line of defense against the elements, so it’s important to keep it healthy and strong. There are a few simple things you can do to keep your skin barrier strong so it won’t damage easily.
Intense astringents like alcohol can damage your skin barrier, making it more susceptible to damage. Use a gentle natural astringent like witch hazel to prevent damage and restore your skin barrier.
Avoid harsh cleansers such as soap. The ingredients in these cleansers can negatively affect your natural moisturizing factor. Instead, opt for a gentle cleanser that won’t strip away your skin’s barrier.
Cut back on physical exfoliation, perhaps only using a scrub once or twice a week at most, until your skin barrier is restored. When using an exfoliator, select one with natural ingredients to avoid irritating your skin.
Don’t use products with harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate. They can strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving your skin susceptible.
Very hot water is hard on your skin and can slow the process of restoring your natural barrier. When you are done showering, make sure to gently pat your skin dry versus rubbing as this can irritate and damage your skin barrier.
If you’re feeling like your skin just isn’t quite right, take a step back and evaluate your current skincare routine. Are you using harsh cleansers or exfoliants? Have you been spending too much time in the sun without adequate sunscreen?
A damaged skin barrier can be frustrating, but you can repair, restore, and strengthen it so it doesn’t happen again. While there is no shortcut or fast track, by making simple changes to your lifestyle and skincare routine, you can get your healthy, glowing complexion back in no time.
Here at Eight Saints, we’re dedicated to using only the best natural ingredients based on science and trials. So whether you need help with repairing or protecting your skin, we’ve got you covered.