You might have heard a lot about barrier repair online over the past year. So why is everyone
talking about it? Your skin barrier is essential for the health of your complexion and can
easily become damaged. So, what is it exactly? Your skin is made up of layers, each of
which performs important functions in protecting your body. The outermost layer, called the
stratum corneum, is often described as a brick wall. It consists of tough skin cells called
corneocytes that are bound together by mortar-like lipids. This is your skin barrier.
Inside the skin cells, or ‘bricks’, you’ll find keratin and natural moisturisers. The lipid layer
contains cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides. This fantastically thin brick wall is literally
keeping you alive. Without your skin barrier, the water inside your body would escape
and evaporate, leaving you completely dehydrated. Your skin barrier is essential for good
health and needs to be protected to function properly
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR BARRIER IS
There are a few symptoms that point to a damaged skin
barrier, with some of the most common being:
» Dry, scaly skin
» Rough or discoloured patches
» Sensitive or inflamed areas
Another key indicator of a damaged barrier is stinging when
applying products that aren’t active such as cleansers.
WHAT CAUSES A DAMAGED BARRIER?
Your skin barrier’s top job is to keep water in your skin. Water
is the key to healthy skin and a strong barrier helps to prevent
transepidermal water loss (which can lead to a variety of skin
conditions). Several factors can damage the skin barrier and
lead to water loss and irritation, including:
» Harsh cleansers and soaps. If a cleanser is too harsh, it
can increase the pH of the skin, damaging the acid mantle.
» Using the wrong products. If you are using skin care
products that are wrong for your skin or have too many
exfoliating or active ingredients, they can damage your
barrier and create more problems than they can fix.
» Your age. As you age, the pH of your skin changes.
Throughout life, the skin changes from a neutral pH at
birth and gradually becomes more alkaline as we age,
which can lead to dryer skin and a compromised barrier.
» Skin conditions. Inflammatory skin conditions such
as eczema, rosacea and acne are associated with a
disrupted acid mantle.
» An environment that’s either too humid or too dry. An
environment that is too humid or too dry can impact your
barrier and lead to dryness.
» Over-exfoliating. This can strip the skin of barrier
protecting nutients that leave it exposed to the elements.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you are showing signs of an impaired skin barrier, it is always
a good idea to consult your local DMK Skin Technician for
help. Getting a professional skin analysis will ensure you are
using the right products for your skin to get you on the road
to healing. A damaged skin barrier and acid mantle can heal
itself quickly when treated with the correct products. Our top
tips for repairing the skin barrier include:
» Cut down on using actives. As great as actives can
be, if your barrier is compromised, you will need to be
as gentle as possible with your skin. Avoid products
containing alcohol, harsh surfactants, chemical exfoliants
such as glycolic and salicylic acid (once a week is usually
enough) and treat the skin with care – so no physical
exfoliating scrubs that are grainy. Remember – always
pat dry the skin after showering, don’t rub with your towel.
» Use a gentle, hydrating cleanser. Ensure you are using
a cleanser that is gentle and isn’t stripping your skin.
We recommend DMK’s Milk Cleanser. Milk Cleanser is
specially formulated for sensitive skin and contains a
blend of soothing botanicals that will not cause dryness.
It also offers herbal lipids for delicate or damaged skin.
» Add a serum. If your barrier is damaged, your skin will
be crying out for moisture. DMK’s Beta Gel is a must. This
signature formulation features beta-glucan and is a hydration
superstar that will help fill the skin up with water and soothe
any irritations. Beta-glucan is extracted from the cell wall of
certain yeasts that have immune-boosting abilities.
» Replenish your skin’s natural oils. DMK’s Herb &
Mineral Mist, Seba-E and Herbal Pigment Oil are great for
barrier repair. When used with Herb & Mineral Mist, both
Seba-E and Herbal Pigment Oil imitate the skin’s natural
oils and keep the skin nourished and hydrated. Herb &
Mineral Mist also aids the delivery of the active ingredients
in your other products into the skin for maximum benefit.
OTHER BARRIER REPAIR ESSENTIALS
» EFA Ultra. To enable the skin to stay healthy, strong and
look great, the actual skin cell must function optimally. EFA
Ultra hydrates and nourishes the skin from the inside out and
improves barrier function. It features ingredients such as
evening primrose oil; one of the most concentrated sources
of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid of the
omega-6 family. For healthy skin, we need omega-3 in our
diet; however, we also need omega-6, and this is where
the EFA message to the public has become distorted.
When you consume only one of these essential fatty acids
you will become deficient in the other one. Therefore, EFA
Ultra contains a powerful blend of the EFAs 3, 6, 7 and
9, sourced from plant-based ingredients, to encourage a
bouncy, hydrated complexion