Your skin barrier is vital for optimal epidermal health and homeostasis, and protects your skin and body from external pollutants and impurities. Most of the time our skin can effectively repair itself but if it’s gotten to the point where you start to notice that your skin isn’t repairing itself, it might be a sign of skin barrier damage that could trigger a host of new problems. But, how do you tell the difference between normal dryness, sensitivity, and a full-blown barrier impairment of your skin? We spoke to skincare brand, Lamelle, to get the low-down on all things skin barrier damage. Here are 5 signs of a damaged skin barrier and how to fix it.
1. Your skin feels tight and dry despite how much moisturiser you apply
Moisture loss is one of the main symptoms of barrier damage. When the waxy lipid bi-layer in your skin’s outer layer has been stripped or damaged, you may feel like you need to apply moisturiser frequently but when you do it just seems to disappear again soon after. The waxy lipid bi-layer functions by locking in moisture so if it’s been impaired your skin will lose moisture rapidly.
2. Tender red patches of skin
When the lipid bi-layer is damaged, your skin is defenceless against attacks from dust, radiation, pollutants, bacteria and viruses, allowing them easy access to the lower layers of your skin. Your skin fights back with inflammation but without a barrier, the battle becomes constant resulting in skin that always seems red and tender.
3. Some products sting
With your skin barrier damaged and the bottom layers being exposed, some products may be too harsh or could be penetrating deeper than they should be. This can be painful, thus adding to the problem without solving it.
4. Itchiness and fine flakiness
Any type of skin can become sensitised but the good news is that it’s temporary. With a damaged barrier comes sensitivity, flaking and itchiness along with tightness and dryness.
5. Your skin appears dull and dry
Dehydrated skin and dry skin are two different things: dehydration involves a loss of moisture and plumpness, whereas dryness refers to a loss of the natural oils that give skin a healthy appearance. When your barrier is damaged you’ll experience both these symptoms, leaving skin looking dull, lifeless and prone to fine lines.
There’s only one way to reverse the effects of a damaged skin barrier: repairing the lipid bi-layer. To target barrier damage, try using something like the Lamelle Serra barrier-restoring range which includes five highly specialised lipid bi-layer repairing products. The range include two facial creams (R490 and R665), a mask (R455), cleanser (R200) and body lotion (R310). When you use Serra, patented waxy molecules step in to create a temporary skin barrier by filling in the gaps where the bi-layer is damaged. while also soothing inflammation and sensitivity to give a more healthy appearance to the skin. Made specifically for sensitive skin, Serra contains no fragrances, colourants, or parabens.
For more information about the Serra range, visit the Lamelle South Africa website.