Strengthening The Skin Barrier

A few days before leaving on my trip, I noticed my skin developed visible skin rashes and redness – I guess it was caused by Micro-Needling from the skin clinic 4 days ago.
I believe my skin is very healthy and never have experienced any reaction (ex. skin irritation) from skin treatments so I have decided to get a Micro-Needling & LED Mask package for my ‘Best Photos’ while I’m travelling. Well.. I know now how silly it was 😭.

Luckily my skin recovered quickly after about a week, and I have discovered some products that help improve the skin’s protective barrier through this happening, so I wanted to share some information.

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€What is the skin barrier?

The skin barrier (epidermis or stratum corneum) is the outermost layer of skin which consists of tough skin cells bound together by lipids. It’s very thin (0.01mm~0.02mm), however this strong layer of skin helps to protect from environmental exposures, resist infections and hold moisture, keeping your skin strong & healthy.

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€ Symptoms of a damaged skin barrier

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Itchiness
  • Skin rashes or inflammation
  • Breakouts (acne)
  • Dullness and hyperpigmentation

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€ What causes a damaged skin barrier?

  • UV rays, decreases collagen: cause thin epidermis and elasticity loss
  • Unbalanced pH level
  • Over-cleansing: can strip your skin of vital oils and nutrients, and overusing alkaline cleanser(s) prevent ceramides synthesis
  • Physical and chemical stimulations
  • Overuse of cosmetics
  • Unbalanced hormones or stress
  • Excess sebum: follicle get clogged, may lead to acne
  • Fatty food, alcohol & smoking
  • Genetics, ageing and side-effects of medication like steroids

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€ The skin barrier repair ingredients

Epidermal Lipids (Lipid Barrier) are a mixture of:

  1. Ceramides (40~50%) – maintain barrier function, prevent moisture loss and support cell growth
  2. Cholesterol (35%) – resists damage from external stressors and help build new tissue
  3. Fatty Acids (15~20%) – help repair barrier function,

So, if you want a healthy, balanced lipid layer, then seek the ingredients dedicated to the skin barrier such as:

  • Ceramides – reinforce the skin barrier and lock in moisture
  • Niacinamide – helps with acne, dark spots and retains moisture. Protect skin against UV rays
  • Hyaluronic Acids – moisturize skin, boost skin elasticity, reduce redness and also balance pH level
  • Glycerine – helps keep the skin hydrated and minimize water loss

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€ Other way to keep your skin barrier healthy

  • Avoid extreme temperatures (too humid or too dry environment), including bath or shower – should not be overly hot
  • Avoid harsh soaps – choose a soap that helps repair the skin barrier and support a healthy skin microbiome
  • Simplify your skin care routine – may weaken your skin barrier so try to use essential and most effective products
  • Look for antioxidant products – Eating Antioxidant-rich foods such as pomegranate, and colourful fruit & veg also help

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€ Recommends products for compromised skin barrier

  1. For Acne – Centella Asiatica Extract (70%+ content, water type and simple ingredients formula)
    Ex. Mixsoon Centella Asiatica Essence
  2. For temporary redness – Propolis
    Ex. Skinfood Royal Honey Propolis Enriched Essence
  3. For Dry, Itchiness – Ceramides or Balm type deep moisturizing product
    Ex. Abib Jericho Rose Cream Nutrition Tube – Glycerine, Panthenol & Shea Butter help dryness
  4. Soothing & Repair
    Ex. Zeroid Soothing Emulsion – Glycerine and skin similar lipid ingredients help to reduce redness & sensitivity

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€ My Experience & Self-Care products

  1. Gentle cleansing – Try to avoid touching skin, completely lathered in foam and applied gently.
    Ex. Sulwhasoo gentle cleansing foam: I have used at that time, however any non-harsh cleanser will be good, and also low pH product (pH between 5 ~7.5) recommended

  1. Focus on Hydrating:
  • Aestura Ato Barrier 365 Lotion – Contains Squalane, Glycerine to support skin barrier. Ideal for dry to combination skin

(cf. Aestura Ato Barrier Hydro Soothing Cream – oily & acne-prone skin)

Packed these set for the soothing or hormonal acne, and used for the first week and paired with this one:

  • Regeness Repair Cream – contains EGF, Centella Asiatica and Ceramide that help repair damaged skin and soothe sensitivity (Zeroid & Regeness are aesthetic brands and very popular at most skin clinics in Korea)

3. LED Treatment – helps reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen production
Wanted to know what caused this symptom so visited a skin clinic and got this LED mask for 10 mins, followed by Zeroid Soothing Cream.

πŸ‘‰Soothing Care – any product that contains soothing ingredients
Ex. Have used Dr. Jart Cicapair Calming Serum & Cream together and best result shown when you paired, and Dr.Jart Ceramidine Cream is great to strengthen the skin barrier however doesn’t absorb well – hopefully new version (Ceramidin Skin Barrier Moisturizing Cream) has better absorption.

(Cicapair Calming Gel Cream(middle) has lighter texture and absorbed quickly)

In 3 days, almost getting back to normal and no-makeup, only sunscreen applied

  • Round A’round Greentea Cica Sun Lotion: mineral sunscreen so it has a zinc-tone up effect
  • Mixsoon Centella Sun Cream: No white cast and non-skin irritation

4. After 10 days, used this special (skin) nourishing kit as I have packed for travelling and I can see the best result so far.

πŸ‘©β€πŸš€ Conclusion

The compromised skin barrier can be fixed in a few weeks. Try to avoid actives (vitamin C, retinol, salicylic acid etc,) and use the restoring skin barrier ingredients such as ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol, panthenol and hyaluronic acid. One more thing, try to figure out ingredient(s) that cause skin irritation for you.

Ex. I love these 2 moisturizers Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream and Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream – both contains squalane, glycerine to support skin barrier, however Kiehl’s one gives my skin slightly stinging due to phenoxyethanol (this is my discovery and I check when I buy a skincare product) so stop using it when my skin get sensitive, overall great moisturizer.

Thanks for reading!

πŸ‘My Pick!

*Some article & image source from Director Pi, and google, and edited by simplyji


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