Skin Barrier: What Is it and why is it important?

What is the skin barrier? 

Your skin (epidermis) is made up of several layers, the outermost of these layers is called the skin barrier. This layer of skin is made up of strong skin cells that provide an essential defence to your body. Without this layer protecting you, all sorts of pollution and toxins would be able to get through. It also works to keep water inside of your body, allowing you to stay hydrated.  

Keeping this layer of skin healthy will enable you to achieve clearer, healthier skin. If its not treated properly, it can lead to skin issues like dryness and redness. Let's look into protecting our skin barrier more...

What can damage the skin barrier? 

Your skin faces external factors every day, such as the weather, the environment and pollution, the products we use and even the pillows we sleep on! Here are some of the most common causes that can lead to a damaged skin barrier:  

- Over washing with chemical heavy products - You might think you are doing your skin a favour by keeping it squeaky clean, but over washing with harsh products that don't suit your skin type can lead to the skin being stripped of its natural oils. 
Environment – A temperature that is too dry or too humid can play havoc on your skin barrier. 
UV rays – Too much sun exposure is never a good thing. 
Psychological and hormonal factors – If you are feeling stressed for example, that can manifest itself through the skin leading to breakouts and inflammation. 
Diet and sleep - the amount of water we consume, our diet and how much sleep we get can all play a part in skin health 

How to tell if your skin barrier is damaged 

There are a few tell-tale signs that indicate whether your skin barrier is not working at its best. You may experience some of these skin conditions:  

- Inflammation 
- Dry skin 
- Acne 
- Itchiness and flakiness 

Red haired model with a natural no make-up look


How to protect your skin barrier

1.Adopt a simple skincare routine

Using too many chemical heavy products during your skincare routine could lead to a weakening of the skin barrier. Keep it simple, use a 3-6 step routine, and at the most basic level include a cleanser, antioxidant moisturiser and SPF. Use natural, toxin-free products so your skin has the best chance to protect itself. 
2. Use plant oils  

Many plant oils have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Oils are also great for keeping skin moisturised and nourished. Some of the most effective plant oils are:  

- Jojoba oil – Found in our Invigorating Body OilNourishing Face OilBeard & Shave Oil. 
Argan oil – Found in our Hydrating Hand Cream and Rejuvenating Eye Balm 
Almond oil - Found in Invigorating Body OilNourishing Face OilBeard & Shave Oil, Hebridean Sea Salt ScrubMarine Cleansing Balm and Invigorating Body Lotion 
Coconut oil – Found in our Body & Hand Wash 

3.Use products that contain antioxidants

Antioxidants help to neutralise free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage cells) and work towards repairing the skin, minimising lines and wrinkles whilst helping your skin barrier to fend off environmental threats such as pollution. At ishga, our main ingredient of seaweed is packed full of polyphenol antioxidants to help you achieve healthy, nourished skin. 
Any skincare questions? Get in touch here