A damaged skin barrier is a truly awful experience and with an abundance of products targeted to help our skin, knowing where to start can be extremely overwhelming. Whilst fixing your barrier, everyday your goal is to repair, moisturise and protect. 

Lukewarm water only

The first process of elimination with a damaged barrier is cutting out behaviours that could further damage your compromised skin. Ensure you are not using hot water on your face as this will further dehydrate and irritate your skin’s surface. Instead opt for luke warm or cold water as your first rule of thumb. 

Ditch your flannel

A flannel is a great tool when coupled with a cleanser to thoroughly remove SPF, make-up and debris from the face. A healthy and uncompromised skin barrier can generally tolerate a soft flannel very well and benefit enormously from a truly cleansed face. However, when our skin barrier has been damaged and is more prone to irritation, the friction caused by our flannels can be a little too much and you should avoid dragging and tugging at the skin in this manner for several weeks.

SPF religiously

A trusty SPF should be a daily staple, however, your chosen formula is more important than ever when your skin is delicate and thin. Thinned skin is more susceptible to damage from UV rays and as such do consider upping your SPF factor and avoiding the sun with a wide brimmed hat whilst you allow your skin to heal. If your skin barrier is very damaged you may find more irritation is present when using chemical filters, with this in mind, opt for a physical formula during this time as long as it is not too thick and laborious to remove. 

Consistency is key

The number one mistake many people make when trying to repair their damaged barrier is a lack of consistency with a simplified routine. It can be incredibly tempting to try your entire arsenal of soothing products when trying to quickly and effectively rehydrate your skin. However, during this time your skin is more sensitised and does not want to encounter multiple new products. For several weeks commit to no actives, the same gentle cleanser and moisturiser and consider skipping cleansing all together in the morning and instead opting for a short rinse with water. Understand that despite our skin being extremely resilient, repairing a damaged barrier can take several weeks to several months. Chopping and changing your routine and using too many products will further annoy and confuse your skin. 

Don’t overlook occlusives 

An occlusive provides a layer of protection to the skin and is designed to be layered on top of hydrating products to prevent trans epidermal water loss. Damaged skin struggles to effectively retain water and thus moisture and often requires the support of an occlusive to keep the skin hydrated and protected from the elements. Available in balm and cream formulas, occlusives are typically greasy and work well before bed for an additional layer of soothing protection. Used on their own, occlusives don’t generally contain skin-repairing ingredients so should always be layered on top of a moisturising, thinner lotion.

Leave a Reply