All About The Epidermis: Key facts about your skin’s natural moisture barrier and how to keep it healthy.
If glowing skin is your goal, we’re here to let you in on a little secret: great skin starts with a healthy skin barrier. If you’ve shopped for skincare in recent years, you may have noticed a greater emphasis on products and treatments that promote skin barrier repair, and with good reason. Dermatologists and other skincare experts agree that it’s a critical piece of the puzzle for holistically supporting and transforming your skin health.
Wondering what the natural moisture barrier is, and what you can do to support yours? Read on for everything you need to know, plus our top tips and skincare product picks!
The Natural Moisture Barrier: Your skin’s first line of defense
The skin is a very sophisticated body system composed of many layers, the outermost of which is called the stratum corneum. The acid mantle or skin’s protective barrier, this layer is made up of mature/dead skin cells and lipids including cholesterol, fatty acids and ceramides. This composition is also sometimes referred to as your skin’s natural moisture factor.
When healthy and intact, the natural barrier is what helps keep out harmful toxins, pollutants, free radicals and unhealthy bacteria. It also helps support moisture retention, keeping the skin happy, healthy and balanced. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, all skin types can experience barrier damage from time to time. Some common things that contribute include excess sun exposure, lack of moisture in the environment or even using the wrong skincare products.
So how can you tell if your skin is damaged? Some signs that your barrier is struggling include:
- Skin that feels tight, dry or itchy
- Scaly texture or discoloured patches of skin
- Sensitive, irritated or inflamed skin
- Reactivity to other skincare products and makeup
- Consistent acne breakouts
Tips for Supporting a Healthy Skin Barrier
The good news is that with a little consistency, correct skincare and attention to your skin, a compromised skin barrier is easy to help support and strengthen. Here are our best tips for supporting your skin and preventing barrier imbalance going forward:
Take a breather from harsh ingredients and exfoliation - Although it may be tempting to get aggressive when your skin is breaking out or feeling rough, using potent actives or strong exfoliants can make your existing issues worse. Avoid these types of products until your skin is completely healed, and use only in moderation to avoid causing further damage (1x week max).
- Focus on hydration and moisture - When the natural moisture factor (NMF) is out-of-balance, the best thing you can do for it is keep it hydrated and moisturized. LESS IS MORE HERE. The skin is a living organ, and it needs H2O just like the rest of your body to be able to repair and renew.
For keeping thirsty skin quenched, we recommend applying water-based products( Dewy Moisture Mist $42) and serums (like Hyaluronic Acid or Peptides) liberally. Additionally, facial oils used as the last step in your PM skincare routine can be very effective for sealing in more moisture into the skin and restoring the skin’s natural radiance.
- Look for ingredients that soothe and promote repair - In order to fully heal from a damaged barrier, the skin needs nourishment in the form of calming components that reduce inflammation and irritation. Some of our favourites include aloe vera, green tea, vitamin E, jojoba, chia seed, evening primrose and avocado oil.
Glow Jar Beauty’s Product Picks for Barrier Support & Repair
Understanding the importance of the skin’s natural moisture factor, Glow Jar Beauty focuses on nourishing and promoting a healthy barrier. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Dewy Moisture Mist - $42: Our fragrance free, soothing facial mist is the perfect way to take your glow to go. Formulated with calming aloe, green tea and seaweed extract, it provides a hydrating barrier boost that moisturizes and protects the skin on contact. Suitable for Sensitive, Normal, Dry, Combo, Oily, and Sensitive Skin Types.
- Barrier Repair Facial Oil - $40: The ultimate in skin nourishment, this targeted blend is infused with multiple plant-based oils that provide barrier support and deep skin nutrition including chia seed, jojoba, avocado, evening primrose, geranium and vitamin E. Suitable for Normal, Dry, Flaky and Sensitive Skin Types.
- Moisturizing Face Cream - $45: For normal, dry, dehydrated, and sensitive skin, our moisturizer is unscented and packed with nourishing oils including hemp and avocado and Vitamin E. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Allantoin are anti -inflammatory skin ingredients to help calm redness and skin irritation.