Your skin is protected by a barrier, known as the hydrolipidic film, which consists of water, sebum and lipids. The hydrolipidic film protects your skin from external aggressors, like bacteria, and seals in water and electrolytes that keep skin looking dewy and smooth. The skin barrier is essential for protecting the body against external factors that could negatively impact our overall health, so it’s extremely important to look after and protect your skin barrier.
The first step in protecting your skin barrier is to assess the strength of your skin barrier by paying careful attention to your skin. If your skin barrier is in poor condition, your skin could be itchy, inflamed, dull and flaky. Not drinking enough water, consuming too much alcohol or caffeine can also damage your skin barrier, as well as environmental factors like being exposed to too much sun or wind. If your skin barrier is healthy, however, it will successfully retain water, and be more supple and radiant as a result. The good news is that a damaged skin barrier can be corrected and restored to good health with a good skin care routine and a healthy lifestyle, but a dermatologist may need to be consulted if there is an underlying skin disease.
To ensure you are protecting your skin barrier, make sure your skin care products contain the right ingredients. A good moisturiser, like those which contain the ingredient linoleic acid, can help repair barrier function. Washing your face with luke-warm water is also preferable as hot water can be damaging to your skin barrier. If the water is too hot for the skin on your hands, it will definitely be too hot for your face. Wearing an effective, broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s full of antioxidants will ensure your skin is protected from the harmful rays of the sun and from other environmental stressors. It is also important to drink enough water and eat a balanced diet full of omega rich foods like fish, flax seeds and walnuts as these foods promote a healthy skin barrier.