Our skin is made up of different layers. The moisture barrier is the outermost layer of your skin. It regulates moisture levels, keeps water locked in your skin, and protects you from environmental damage (UV, pollution) and bacteria.
It’s important! But, disappointingly, it’s not bulletproof. When it’s from environmental factors, going too hard on exfoliants or actives, using the wrong skin care, not using the right skin care, or ageing, it’s easy to damage your moisture barrier.
And if/when that happens, you’ll likely be able to spot it pretty quickly. (Let’s just say a damaged moisture barrier isn’t subtle when it wants you to know you need to put down your million and one goddamn actives and chill for a bit.) It can punish you with a number of skin concerns. And, in a way, that can be a good thing. Because the sooner you realise you’ve pissed off your barrier, the better! The sooner you can start repairing your angry skin and get it back to feeling healthy and happy.
These are the tell-tale signs of a moisture barrier in need of a little TLC.
Exfoliants help clear congestion by clearing out your pores and removing dead skin cells. But when you overuse them? They can lead your skin to do the exact opposite: Increasing pimples and breakouts to let you know it’s time to slow, it, down.
Your Skin’s More Easily Irritated
Focus on the more easily here, because sensitive skin does not automatically equal a damaged moisture barrier. But sensitised skin is a clue that you’ve disrupted your moisture barrier. In a nutshell, sensitive skin is a skin type. If you’ve always struggled with redness, reactive, or inflammatory conditions (such as rosacea), your skin is likely just sensitive. Sensitised skin is caused by external factors, such as overdoing it with potent skin care. Nobody knows your skin better than you, so if you start to notice your sensitivity level has changed, or if you start to notice stinging or burning when you apply your products, it’s probably time to pull back on the potent actives and replace it with some gentle, restorative skin care.
Itchy, Flaky, Peel-y Skin
Another clear way your barrier lets you know it’s aggravated is through desert-levels of dryness. It might just be a tight, uncomfortable feeling, or it may go as far as flaking or peeling. It’s no surprise, your moisture barrier is responsible for keeping water within your skin. So when you damage it, it’s no longer able to perform that essential function, and instead leaves your face screaming for moisture. If this is the case, you’ll want to turn to a gentle moisturiser or mask loaded with ceramides and humectants (glycerin, panthenol, hyaluronic acid) to replenish the hydration.