In the intricate tapestry of skincare, the skin barrier stands as the unsung hero – a delicate guardian that shields us from the elements. This invisible shield, composed of lipids, proteins, and cells, is our skin's first line of defense. Understanding its significance and knowing how to nurture it is pivotal for a resilient and radiant complexion.
What is the skin barrier?
The skin barrier, often referred to as the "acid mantle," is a complex structure residing in the outermost layer of our skin. Composed of lipids, including ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids, it acts as a protective fortress against environmental stressors, pollutants, and moisture loss. When this delicate balance is disrupted, a cascade of issues can arise.
What are the signs of a damaged skin barrier?
The skin, when in harmony, feels supple, resilient, and adequately hydrated. However, a damaged skin barrier whispers its distress through signs like redness, irritation, dryness, and increased sensitivity. If your skin no longer retains moisture, and you find it reacting adversely to products or environmental triggers, it's time to lend a caring hand to your faithful guardian.
Signs of a healthy skin barrier
A robust skin barrier isn't merely a cosmetic luxury; it's the linchpin of skin health. Here's a glimpse into the symphony of benefits a well-maintained barrier provides:
Your skin retains moisture like a pro
A healthy skin barrier locks in moisture like a maestro leading an orchestra. Adequate hydration ensures your skin remains plump and supple, warding off the dullness associated with dehydration.
Your skin is less reactive to irritants
A resilient skin barrier acts as an unwavering sentinel against external aggressors. It fends off pollutants, allergens, and irritants, preserving your skin's harmony and preventing inflammatory responses.
Your skin has high elasticity, aka it bounces back
Ceramides, integral to the skin barrier, contribute to the skin's structural integrity. When plentiful, they promote elasticity, reducing the appearance of fine lines and contributing to a youthful, resilient complexion.
Your skin is not prone to redness and inflammation
A well-nurtured skin barrier is adept at pacifying sensitivities. It minimizes the risk of redness and irritation, ensuring your skin remains serene even in the face of environmental stress.
Top skincare ingredients for strengthening the skin barrier
To fortify your skin barrier, seek ingredients that resonate with its delicate nature:
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a multi-hyphenate skincare hero with more skin benefits than you probably know of. In recent years, it has risen to celebrity status within the beauty industry, and lauded as a holy grail ingredient for maintaining overall skin health and appearance. One of its many talents is the ability to stimulate the production of several skin barrier components, including ceramide, fortifying your barrier’s integrity and defense mechanisms.
To imbue your skin with the benefits of niacinamide, treat your skin with the Oil Control Clearing Face Mask 1-2 times a week.
A hydrating staple that’s common throughout skincare products (and now brands are beginning to foray into hyaluronic acid make-up), with immense moisture-retaining capabilities, it’s no surprise that hyaluronic acid makes an appearance on this list. While not directly contributing to the structural integrity of the barrier, the hydration it provides works in tandem with a fortified barrier to keep the skin hydrated and supple. Needless to say, hydration is key in ensuring a fully functional skin barrier.
The good news is, we’ve got hyaluronic acid in pretty much every one of our skincare products. So whether you’re in the market for a moisturiser, mask or cleanser, rest assured you’re well taken care of on the hydration front. If you're looking for an extra hit, the Tasmanian Spring Water collection incorporates not one, but two types of HA to amp up the hydrating factor and ensure your skin retains that supple look.
A naturally-occurring compound found in the skin’s lipid barrier, squalane is an excellent emollient which softens and smooths the skin. Mimicking the skin’s sebum, it’s perfect as a lightweight, hydrating compound. By supporting the skin's natural moisture balance and reinforcing the lipid barrier, squalane contributes to a healthier, more resilient complexion.
Add squalane to your daily routine with a fix of the Renewing Night Cream before you go to bed. Leave it on overnight and let this super-hydrator work its magic.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins such as collagen) that operate in repairing damaged or old cells to maintain structure and firmness. That’s why they’re an absolute saviour when it comes to strengthening the skin barrier – it’s one of its integral building blocks!
Find peptides in our Anti-aging Eye Cream, designed to brighten and smooth the eye area while fortifying the barrier.