While the term “skin barrier” is a buzz term right now, it’s certainly not a new concept. You’ve likely experienced an impaired skin barrier at some point throughout your life. It’s not uncommon to see barrier impairment after an in-office treatment, when using too many actives (think hydroxy acids and retinoids), using products that sensitize your skin or simply using the right products but incorrectly.
Skincare 101: Damaged Skin Barrier
So then, what do we do when this happens?!
Put down the actives.
Stop using all retinoids, AHAs, BHA, even potentially Vitamin C for a period. It’s a good idea to take a break from any targeted serums if you don’t know exactly what is in them or how they affect your skin. This is only temporary. Once we get this barrier back in tact you can likely go back to using your favorite products, albeit judiciously. AKA be cautious.
Stick to the basics.
For the healing period you’ll want to keep it VERY simple. In the mornings you can use a gentle cleanser, barrier supporting moisturizer and a physical sunscreen. At night stick to a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. I’ll link some favorites below. It’s important to note here that when your barrier is impaired, anything can burn on application but this will improve as your barrier does.
Strict sun avoidance.
Be diligent with SPF. As mentioned, you should be using a physical or mineral SPF every single day and its especially important when you’re irritated. If you’re prone to hyperpigmentation I encourage use of a tinted SPF to prevent this inflammation from hyperpigmenting which is always a risk. Avoid the sun, seek shade and wear large hats during this healing period as well.
Linking my favorite products for an impaired skin barrier here!