I remember the last time I took off my skin barrier, like it was yesterday: last fall I tested the products for our NewBeauty Awards and I was very pregnant (ie my skin became more sensitive) and I had no idea it would react so negatively. layering two sera containing the ingredients I used before, without any problems. After about 20 minutes, my skin became hot and red, leaving me for almost two hours. I knew something was wrong (it wasn’t a warm tingle that signaled “it works”) and I immediately washed my face with a mild cleanser and applied a thick layer of repair balm.
If the same thing or something happened to you, you are not alone. There are dozens of similar stories on Reddit, more than 185,000 #skinbarrier posts on Instagram and 309 million hashtag views on TikTok (and still growing). Here’s how to fix a weakened skin barrier and regain that beautiful shine, stat.
Signs of weakened skin barrier
“The natural skin barrier helps both trap moisture and protect the skin from acne eruptions caused by bacterial accumulation,” said Tammy Fender, a holistic skin care expert, founder of the skin care brand of the same name. “A weakened skin barrier can be seen in both skin that is overdried and skin that is overactive.” Celebrity esthetician Nerida Joy adds that irritation, scalyness and rudeness are also symptoms. “The skin is easily irritated – sometimes it’s oily and other days it will feel dry – and it becomes a slippery touch and doesn’t feel absorbed.”
How to fix it
“You have to get back to basics,” says Joy. “Stop using products with active ingredients and switch to a very simple mode. Start with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser and follow it with a simple moisturizer that contains gentle ingredients such as shea butter, allantoin, glycerin, arnica, squalene, etc. When cleansing your face, make sure the water is on the cooler side and do not use any exfoliating I personally love repairing balms rather than traditional moisturizers when my skin is at risk, and Furtuna Skin Replenishing Balm works wonders for me (it is also the winner of the NewBeauty Award 2022).
Although you should avoid physical exfoliants such as peels, Fender says a gentle exfoliant, such as her iconic favorite Epi-Peel, can be used once a week to support skin cell renewal. And to be careful, you can actually mix a small drop of Epi-Peel into a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser – Fender prefers a dairy composition like her herbal cleansing milk – to create an extra gentle peel, and remove with a warm cloth.
The use of sunscreen is also a must, although you may be hesitant to apply it to such fragile skin. However, it is much worse to decide to omit it and risk sun damage on a weak skin barrier. “Choose a physical sunscreen that is high in titanium dioxide and zinc,” says Joy, who recommends avoiding chemical sunscreens that penetrate the skin barrier (physical or mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and reflect UV light, rather than absorb them).
Fender recommends an inside-out approach to also support the skin repair process. “You can also stay well hydrated and eat foods that support the recovery process, such as coconut, avocado, sweet potatoes and leafy vegetables.”
How to find out if your skin barrier is healthy again
“Your skin will no longer feel taut and sensitive,” says Fender. “It will be thicker to the touch and soft and supple to the touch. It absorbs the products you apply without slipping or as if your products just sit on the surface of your skin. It won’t feel greasy at noon, but it will stay consistent with its appearance and impression. ”Redness and pimples should also be reduced, Joy notes. “A healthy skin barrier is essential for radiant skin.”
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