Thin, fragile skin? We've got the best products for building up your skin barrier

As winter approaches its time to up your body armour…

Ok, so here’s the science bit. Your skin is made up of lots of different layers. Each one has an important role when it comes to protecting our body. The top layer, or outermost, is called the stratum corneum – think of it as the gate that protects the rest of the house. This layer of skin tends to be thicker to ensure it can prevent as much damage as possible.

However, there are certain factors that can affect the skin barrier and therefore weaken it. These include stress, pollution, UV rays, and injury. All of which can take its toll and leave your susceptible to irritation. That’s why it is so important to keep this skin barrier in tip top condition.

What are the signs your skin barrier needs help?

This can sometimes feel like a chicken and an egg scenario. As a compromised skin barrier can present itself as lots of other skin concerns, from acne to rosacea. Yep, a sudden breakout could be caused by a weakened skin barrier as this can then cause the lower layers (or derma layers) to become dehydrated therefore signalling to the sebaceous glands that they need to up the oil production. And, you’ve guessed it, this excess oil can lead to acne spots. Nightmare.  

Let’s hear from the experts

According to Dr Lucy Thomas, a consultant dermatologist it’s all about keeping the skin as hydrated as possible to improve the overall condition of the skin barrier – especially in the winter months.

“Dry skin is extremely common and affects people of all ages and skin types. The skin can appear rough, scaly, and sometimes irritated,” says Dr Thomas.

Therefore, you need to look for products that contact hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help the skin retain moisture and start to repair any dry patches. It is also good to look for products that contain vitamin a, c and e as these anti-oxidants help to reduce inflammation and protect from environmental stressors – like going from dry central heating to freezing cold or wet and windy weather outside!

So, what does Dr Thomas recommend?

Vaseline Expert Care Instant Dry Rescue is a soothing emollient that contains a unique combination of ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and novel pro-lipids to repair the skin barrier and has been scientifically proven to improve dryness from the first use.” 

This drugstore favourite works by retaining hydration – thanks to the hyaluronic acid – has glycerin for adding moisture and its famous jelly for locking all the ingredients in.

These are our other favourites skin barrier-building products –

For faceMurad Nutrient Charged Water Gel, £50

This little pot of magic contains a mixture of vitamins, minerals and peptides that will all help repair your skin barrier. It is like a big glass of water for your skin and free from any oils that may cause damage to any irritated areas.

For hands (or dry spots)La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5, £5

This wonder balm is a must-have for your bag this winter. It can be used anywhere and everywhere. It is also amazing for children and babies who are suffering from dry irritated skin. Packed full of panthenol P5 it instantly soothes and repairs even the most cracked skin.


“If you want a flawless finish then you need to try EX1 Cosmetics. I use it on all my clients and always have a bottle in my personal make-up too. It looks so good on camera, doesn’t give any flashback, and gives skin a golden glow.”


“I have olive skin so I really wanted to try EX1 Cosmetics, as I had no idea what shade I would be. I tried the match me tool, thinking it was a bit of a gimmick, but it got my shade spot on. For someone will yellow or green undertones these products are amazing!”


“Before I used EX1 Cosmetics I tried EVERY premium foundation on the market. Some were ok, but most left me feeling disappointed and underwhelmed. I didn’t have much hope for a foundation costing £12.50, but I was SO wrong. The medium coverage looks like your skin but better and it doesn’t oxidise.”


“I’ve always been told I have warm or medium skin tone, but every foundation I ever tried was either too pink or too orange. After trying the skin classification tool and realising I have warm skin with green undertones – everything makes sense! Now, I look for make-up aimed at olive skin – like EX1 Cosmetics – and I have never looked back!”


“I used to mix at least two different foundations to create the right shade for my skin – until I found EX1 Cosmetics. The shade match is spot on and the formula blends perfectly into my skin. I love it.”


“I had seen that loads of celebrities using EX1 Cosmetics Foundation and I was intrigued to see if it lived up to the hyp e. It blew me away. The formula feels so premium for £12.50. I recommend it to everyone.