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Your natural skin barrier is your body's first defence against harmful pathogens and airborne particulates.

Your skin is more complex than you think – it's made from three different layers, each with its own function.


• The epidermis layer – The water-resistant, tough outer layer that protects your body.

• The dermis layer – A layer of blood vessels, hair follicles and glands protected by collagen.

• The subcutaneous layer – The layer of fat to shield muscle tissue.


It's your epidermis layer that houses the skin barrier. The epidermis is made up of tiny cells – known as corneocytes – that are bound together with fatty acids, lipid molecules and cholesterol.  

Think of it like the protective outer layer, preventing harmful bacteria, ultraviolet rays and other toxins from damaging your skin’s sensitivities.


How to know if your skin barrier is damaged?


Any damage to the skin barrier is likely to cause discomfort. If you have a damaged skin barrier, you may experience symptoms like: 


• Psoriasis or eczema

• Itchy, flaky or inflamed skin

• Breakouts of acne

• Bacterial and fungal infections that may cause ongoing pain

• Dull skin

• Hyperpigmentation 


These symptoms can be caused and exacerbated by: 

Weather – Because your skin likes to stay hydrated, changes in humid and dry climates can cause it to become irritated and inflamed.

Allergies and reactions – Whether it be allergens, irritations or toxins, the skin barrier is particularly sensitive to strong chemicals. Sometimes, using the wrong skin formulas can trigger a reaction in the skin barrier – leaving you with agitated skin.

UV exposure – UV rays cause the skin to age prematurely. UV ray overexposure can cause your skin to take on a leathery texture, contribute to wrinkles and even cause skin cancer in the most severe cases. 

Over-exfoliation and over-washing – Overwashing your skin strips it of healthy fats and good bacteria, leaving it vulnerable to infection. Harsh chemicals used in most body washes and cleaning products can also lead to further irritation.

Steroids – Topical steroids – often used in powerful acne creams and skin lotions – tend to inhibit the synthesis of epidermal lipids which reduces skin barrier function. Although steroids can help limit swelling caused by acne, they can also weaken the skin barrier, opening the door to other problems.

Psychological stress – Broken or irritated skin can be one of the first signs of stress – which causes a spike in cortisol and adrenalin that slows the skin barrier's normal function.

Genetic factors – As unfortunate as it seems, some people are simply more genetically prone to skin issues like psoriasis, eczema or dry, inflamed episodes.

Diet Studies have shown that diets high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants contribute to healthy, hydrated skin – while those containing excessive amounts of saturated fats and sugar increase the likelihood of wrinkles, rapid skin ageing and dryness.


How to repair your skin barrier  


Looking after your skin can be a delicate balance. We understand how frustrating it is to deal with dry, flaky, and irritated skin and how much it can affect your confidence. 

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to enjoy healthier skin and reverse the symptoms of a broken skin barrier. 

Identifying the possible cause – Although it can be difficult to pinpoint the root cause of skin barrier weakness, considering how you treat your skin might help you narrow it down. For example, do you wash your over-wash or over-exfoliate? Are you stressed and do you get enough sleep? Is the weather or air quality affecting your skin? 

Limit over-exfoliatingSimilarly to your hair, your body produces natural oils to help protect and rehydrate the skin over time. While washing removes dirt, grime and excess oils that can contribute to irritated skin and acne breakouts, overwashing completely strips these oils away, meaning that the dermis and epidermis feel the effects of the elements. 

Moisturise regularlyWhatever the cause of the skin barrier damage, helping the skin lock in moisture and minerals with topical treatments is always beneficial. Moisture supports healing – without it, your body can't effectively fight the causes of inflammation or heal overly dry or cracked skin. 


Be careful with new productsThe skin has a normal pH of around 4.7, yet some products have a pH as low as 3.7 or as high as 8.2. If your skin is particularly sensitive, you may end up buying a new product that disrupts its delicate balance, causing further irritation. If you think your current products may be contributing to flair-ups, try naturally-derived topical formulas that are gentler on sensitive areas. 


How long does it take to repair the skin barrier? 


Depending on the skin concern and type of treatment, recovery times can vary dramatically. 

With a targeted treatment that includes naturally-derived formulas – and persistence – you may see a significant improvement in mild skin conditions in as little as one week. 


For skin conditions causing greater discomfort, it may be up to six weeks to a couple of months before you notice an improvement. 


What products are best for repairing a skin barrier?  


A helping hand from a range of topical formulas can make all the difference when strengthening your skin barrier. These include: 

Naturally-derived oils – Naturally-derived oils – like coconut, almond or jojoba oils – are packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can help a damaged skin barrier gain and retain moisture, while also proving soft on the skin and not disrupting its delicate pH balance. 

Barrier creams – What better way to treat your skin barrier than with a formula designed for that exact purpose? Not only do barrier creams moisturise dry skin, but they also contain humectants that promote the skin's ability to hold onto water – keeping it hydrated long after the cream is applied. 

Vitamin B3 serums – Also known as Niacinamide, B3 stimulates the production and binding of ceramides in the skin. Ceramides are essential for keeping the skin barrier strong and maintaining that protective barrier. Vitamin B3 also helps to maintain moisture in the skin to prevent drying and irritation. 

Peptide lotion – If you’ve experienced irritated skin for a long time, there's a chance your skin may be damaged on the cellular level. Peptides work to repair damaged cells and promote the growth of new collagen cells that keep the skin smooth and firm while preventing the visual appearance of ageing. 

Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream

Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream

Old price New price €43.00

The skin on the face is naturally more sensitive than on other parts of the body.


Kielh’s Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream rehydrates, nourishes and rejuvenates skin that's suffering from dryness and inflammation from a damaged barrier. 


Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream

Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream

Old price New price €43.00
Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Cream for Face and Neck

If you’re unsure what’s causing your skin irritation, Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream helps to assist your skin barrier’s recovery – no matter what the root cause. 


Ultra Facial Overnight Rehydrating Mask with 10.5% Squalane


How often should a skin barrier be repaired?


In short, never. 

It's much kinder on your skin to have a daily routine that encourages a strong and healthy skin barrier that doesn’t need to be repaired. 

However, if you experience dry or irritated skin due to the breakdown of your skin’s natural barrier, it’s important not to overwash or treat skin excessively. Instead, the use of naturally-derived formulas that complement your skin’s unique sensitivities can support barrier repair. 


Try Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Rehydrating Mask as part of your nightly skincare routine today and have immediately softer, nourished skin from the moment you wake up. 


Ultra Facial Overnight Rehydrating Mask with 10.5% Squalane


How to repair the skin barrier naturally    


As useful as on-the-shelf or over-the-counter formulas can be, simple changes you can make in your daily life can also strengthen and repair skin. 

Some of the habits you can practice day-to-day for a strong and healthy skin barrier include: 


Making healthier lifestyle changes – Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption helps to promote skin moisture to improve skin barrier function. 

Simplify your skincare routine – Your skincare routine should be there to support your skin in doing its job – but not take over. Overwashing or applying too many skin formulas can cause additional dryness and irritation in the long term.  

Maintain a balanced diet – Enjoying a diet filled with vitamins and minerals can help boost your body's ability to produce everything your skin needs to lock in vital moisture. 

 

What are the benefits of repairing a skin barrier?  

 

Nurturing a strong and healthy skin barrier provides a whole host of benefits including

As useful as on-the-shelf or over-the-counter formulas can be, simple changes you can make in your daily life can also strengthen and repair skin. 

Some of the habits you can practice day-to-day for a strong and healthy skin barrier include: 

Making healthier lifestyle changes – Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption helps to promote skin moisture to improve skin barrier function. 

Simplify your skincare routine – Your skincare routine should be there to support your skin in doing its job – but not take over. Overwashing or applying too many skin formulas can cause additional dryness and irritation in the long term.  

Maintain a balanced diet – Enjoying a diet filled with vitamins and minerals can help boost your body's ability to produce everything your skin needs to lock in vital moisture. 

 

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