[Beauty 101] How to Protect Your Skin’s Moisture Barrier

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By Nica Dobles from THREAD PH

The secret to glowing, baby-smooth skin

Does your skin look and feel dull, no matter how many products you try? Does it feel super tight after you cleanse, only to become an oil field just a few hours later? Does it flake in certain areas, like your chin and nose? If this sounds familiar, you might be suffering from dehydrated skin.

First things first: dehydrated skin ≠ dry skin. Dry skin, combination skin , and oily skin alike can have dehydrated skin — dehydration is a condition that can (and should) be treated, not a skin type.

Dehydrated skin is caused by a damaged moisturized barrier, so to get back your natural healthy glow, you’ll need to repair that barrier and maintain it moving forward. Read on for our guide to maintaining your skin’s moisture barrier!

What is a moisture barrier?

It’s the outer layer of your skin, made up of skin cells and the lipid molecules that bind them together. Think of the moisture barrier as your skin’s bouncer: it keeps moisture in, and bad bacteria and environmental toxins out. So when that barrier is damaged, your skin can’t lock in moisture, leading it to produce more oil or sebum instead. A compromised moisture barrier also lets in more bacteria that can cause breakouts and rashes.

Often applying more skincare products doesn’t even help, since your skin can’t absorb them as well; a lot of the time, it even worsens the situation. If your skin is extra sensitive because of a damaged barrier, even bland moisturizers can burn or sting or irritate.

How can I protect my moisture barrier?

If your moisture barrier is damaged, it can take weeks to repair and build up again — but with these simple steps, you’ll have that healthy, smooth skin back soon enough. (And even if your skin isn’t dehydrated, this is still a good guide to follow to ensure that you keep it that way.)

1. Stop using harsh cleansers

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If your face feels squeaky clean after washing your face, it’s time to find a new cleanser. That dry, tight feeling means that the cleanser is stripping away moisture.

Look for a non-foaming cleanser with low pH (skin is normally around 5.5 pH). Also avoid over-cleansing — once in the morning and once at night should be enough if the rest of your skincare routine is optimized — and stick to lukewarm water.

 

2. Cut down on exfoliating

This is probably the leading cause of a damaged skin barrier. Yes, getting rid of all those dead skin cells is good, but all things in moderation. Only exfoliate once or twice a week.

 

3. Watch what you drink

This is simple, but effective: just drink more water. You’ll be surprised at how much it helps — especially if you drink a lot of coffee and alcohol, which are dehydrating.

 

4. Double down on moisturizing skincare

Specifically look for skincare products with humectantswhich improve your skin’s water absorption, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and squalane (which is derived from the squalene that naturally occurs in your lipid layer). Ceramides are also good for building your barrier back up.

 

5. Wear sunscreen!

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Your skin is extra vulnerable, so make sure to protect it with sunscreen. Never skip this step — UV rays can cause even more damage to your skin.

 

Have you ever damaged your moisture barrier? Share your best tips to repairing it in the comments section below! Head on over to ZALORA Malaysia to shop more skincare.