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Our Guide: Skin Barrier Health & Repair

Shiri Feldman

Contributing quotes by Liyuan Ji

November 18, 2022

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As the outermost layer of the human body, our skin is in constant contact with the external environment which contains potentially damaging chemicals and biological materials.

Our skin barrier, one of the most important physiologic skin structures, helps fight off infection and transepidermal water loss. With a damaged skin barrier, the stratum corneum, or top, waxy layer of skin that holds onto water and prevents harmful toxins from entering your tissue is dysregulated.

Need help determining if your skin barrier is in good shape? Our team compiled this guide to skin barrier health. We’ll break down the signs of an impaired barrier and leave you with our top tips for barrier repair and protection.

Skin Barrier Damage

Multiple lifestyle and environmental factors can disturb your delicate skin barrier’s balance including:

  • Overwashing or over stripping the skin with harsh scrubs and cleansers.

  • Using at-home mechanical skincare devices that are too rough on the skin.

  • Having an underlying inflammatory skin condition such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, or rosacea.

  • Sudden changes in temperature and humidity (such as going in and out of an air-conditioned building when it’s hot outside).

  • Being exposed to too much sun.

Visible signs of a compromised barrier consist of redness, roughness, burning, and stinging. You may also be more prone to inflammation, acne, and skin infections.

Skin Barrier Repair & Protection

We recommend following these simple skin practices to repair a damaged barrier. If you aren’t seeing any improvements after a few weeks, consult with a board-certified dermatologist.

  1. Use a non-stripping, gentle facial cleanser each evening. In the morning, stick to rinsing your face with water. Note from our formulation chemist: Select cleansers carry mild/suitable for sensitive skin claims. These facial washes contain soothing and hydrating ingredients such as bisabolol and glycerin. Go for these options! Avoid harsh cleansers (e.g. those containing sodium lauryl sulfate or alcohol) that strip the skin barrier of its natural protective barrier lipids.

  2. Limit your usage of chemical actives–they might be the culprit! Take a break from applying strong acids such as benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid. Slowly incorporate these powerful ingredients back into your regimen once your skin barrier is back to a healthy state.

    Note from our formulation chemist: Similar to prescription treatments, there are limits when it comes to applying actives. Don’t overdo it–your skin has a cap on how much it can absorb!

  3. Boost hydration levels by incorporating a moisturizer formulated with squalene into your daily skincare regimen. A lipid produced by our skin cells (the amount declines with age), squalene mimics our skin’s natural oils, soothing and softening the skin. An antioxidant, squalene also helps fight against skin damage and free radicals. Plus, regular usage can boost collagen production, resulting in firmer, plumper skin.

    Engineered to enhance your Revea AM & PM custom Serums, our moisturizer is an antioxidant-rich hydrator formulated to help repair your skin’s delicate barrier.

    With Revea, you have the opportunity to choose your preferred formula from four different textures: an aqueous gel with a mattifying effect, a gel cream, a unique water-in-oil, and a rich cream. All of Revea’s moisturizers provide the same level of skin barrier enhancing and antioxidation benefits. We recommend the No. 33 Melting Creme which is packed with squalene for the winter months, but choose the one that matches your preferred sensory preferences!

    Note from our formulation chemist: If you have dry skin or its the wintertime, a thicker moisturizer will provide extra protection and help build an artificial barrier.

  4. Moisten your skin tissue with water or a facial spray throughout the day. Sounds simple, but this step can make a real difference! Water helps with epidermal migration and can help the skin heal itself.

Our skin barriers serve as a first line of defense against the external environment. Improving and protecting your barrier’s function is key to healthy, radiant skin.

Take our advanced skin assessment to measure your individual skin needs and see what's going on beneath its surface tissue.