So lemme ask you a question, how is your skin barrier doing? If you don't know how to answer that question, fret not, you're not alone!
But what if the bricks start to crack or if there isn't enough mortar to go around? Eventually, it will start to decay, debris will enter and the structure will crumble.
Well, guess what? The structure of your skin is like a brick wall.
The uppermost layer of your skin, your skin barrier (aka your stratum corneum) is your first line of defence against bacteria and environmental stressors like harmful UV rays, pollution and toxins. When weakened, it’s easier for irritants to infiltrate your skin. Your skin also becomes more prone to sensitivity.
This resilient layer of your skin also happens to have a light film on top of it known as your acid mantle, which is made of natural oils and sweat. This may sound like no big deal, BUT it also consists of proteins and molecules that your skin uses for defence, like UV-absorbers, inflammatory mediators and antimicrobial peptides.
That's a lot to digest, but your takeaway from this is that this outer protective film is critical for its ability to protect your skin and body within from the outside world.
When everything is going well, your skin barrier works effectively (hello plump and dewy skin) and contains the right amount of lipids that make your skin look healthy and well moisturized.
However, if the skin barrier gets damaged, it becomes easier for the skin to experience irritation. Dry patches, redness or breakouts along with flaking or a 'tightness' in the skin are all signs that your skin is having difficulty.
External stressors like pollution and smog can play a role along with stress, alcohol and just the natural process of aging, but in many cases, you are just using products that are way too harsh for your skin.
Piling on more products can do more harm than good if you’re not looking carefully at the ingredient list. Here's what to look out for and what to avoid.
Ingredients to Avoid
The next time you’re shopping for personal care products, make sure to look out for common irritants like benzoyl peroxide, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate is a common culprit in cleansers), synthetic fragrances and dyes.
SLS, in particular, can have an alkalizing effect on the skin, throwing off your skin’s pH balance which makes your skin more susceptible to bacteria and infections.
Stay away from acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid until your skin barrier repairs itself. Cleansing is an important step in your skincare regimen, but using something gentle is key. Our Face Foam uses apple cider vinegar and white willow bark to gently cleanse the face without stripping away natural oils.
Ingredients to Look For
The good news is it’s possible to strengthen your skin barrier and get your skin glowing again with just a few changes.
Search for products heavy with antioxidants like our Berry Rich Cream, which contains blueberry oil and does a great job of repairing the skin.
Certain plant oils also help to increase your lipid count, so your skin barrier is able to retain water better (The result? More radiant looking skin). We use squalane oil in our Phyto Clear.
Jojoba oil is especially good for those with red or damaged skin. It’s a proven anti-inflammatory and has a high concentration of wax esters that help to repair weakened skin barrier. You can find jojoba oil in our Putty, a soothing face cream that's ideal dry, red or irritated skin.
Other great ingredients like hyaluronic acid keep moisture locked in, your skin looking 'plump' and encourages collagen synthesis. You can find this in our Fullmoon Serum. This anti-aging serum also includes a botanical collagen to reverse the signs of aging. As we age, our collagen production slows and breaks down, so this is the ultimate skin barrier repair product!
Along with loading your beauty regimen with skin-benefiting superfood ingredients, make sure to take preventative measures with your skin health. If you are going to be out in the sun, look for products with sun protective oils and minerals. Remember that even on a cloudy day when it's not hot and sunny, your skin is still susceptible to damage from UVA and UVB rays.
Using the right mix of products will help keep your skin barrier strong and your face glowing.