Skin Barrier BreakdownA phrase that’s garnered some serious buzz in skincare over the past few years is skin barrier breakdown. Why all the interest? Experts are beginning to understand just how big a role this plays in many of the skin concerns women face with age. Wrinkles, dryness, sagging, irritation–all of it can be tied at least partially to skin barrier breakdown.
What Is the Skin Barrier?
Your skin is made up of three main layers: the hypodermis (deepest layer), the dermis (middle layer), and the epidermis (outer layer). The skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin. It’s basically your first line of defense against microbes, UV rays, pollutants, and other environmental ick you don’t want to get inside your body. It also helps your skin keep moisture in. And of course, the better hydrated your skin is, the more plump, healthy, and smooth it looks.
With age, your protective skin barrier naturally weakens. There are a number of reasons for this. Stress, harsh products, sun damage, blue light, excessive cleansing, and genetics all play a role. Having your skin barrier weaken can lead to multiple concerns. It can leave your skin vulnerable to dehydration and environmental damage, so it looks dryer and starts developing dark spots and wrinkles. It can also make your skin more sensitive to the ingredients in your skincare products, and more easily irritated in general. Skin barrier breakdown can even cause the products you’ve used for years to no longer work for you.
What Can You Do?
Be gentle! Your skin will need a little extra love as you age, so avoid harsh ingredients and exfoliants, and don’t scrub your skin too hard. Some experts also advise you to take a day off from wearing makeup every week to give your skin a chance to breathe. And, as always, wear sunblock. This helps protect your barrier from UV damage.
A new-ish culprit (or at least a newly recognized culprit) in the skin-damage game is blue light. Blue light from the sun actually penetrates into the skin more deeply than UV rays, and some small-scale studies show it can contribute to wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. And yes, the lovely little glow that comes from all the devices we find ourselves in front of day after day–particularly during the pandemic, when there isn’t much else we can do–includes blue light.
While there aren’t many large-scale studies on the effects of blue light from electronics on the skin, it follows that it would also be problematic. This is why many skincare gurus recommend wearing sunblock that contains iron oxide. It’s been shown to protect against visible light, while many non-iron-oxide SPF products do not. This is just another reason to tear yourself away from your screen whenever you can and give your skin (and your eyes!) a break.
A Targeted Approach
For an outside-in approach, look for gentle skincare formulas. This is especially important when you’re choosing cleansers and exfoliants. You want them to work, but you don’t want them to strip your skin or damage your skin barrier.
You should also nourish your skin with ingredients specifically designed to support the skin barrier. DeepMoisture Recovery Whip™ combines TripleBiotics™, topical ceramides, amino acids, collagen, lipids, and fatty acids for a formula that provides powerful barrier support and deep moisturization. It also includes plan t extracts for multifunctional age defense.
Taking care of your skin barrier is an excellent, and very important, way to help keep your skin looking radiant, moisturized, and vibrant, no matter your age.