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 face – Murad 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, £5This 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.