Simplified skincare routine to improve your skin barrier | Fashion Trends - Hindustan Times
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Simplified skincare routine to improve your skin barrier

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 02, 2023 12:40 PM IST

When the skin barrier has been damaged, you may notice dull, dry or flaky skin creeping in. Here's a simplified skincare routine to improve your skin's barrier

Our skin is comprised of lots of different layers and the skin barrier is the outermost of them all that functions by keeping the good stuff i.e. healthy natural oils, hydration and moisture sealed in while keeping bad things out like irritants in the environment, for example. When our skin barrier is working at its strongest, it’ll do exactly that and our skin should feel hydrated, soft and lusciously plump but when the skin barrier has been damaged, it becomes difficult for it to function properly and you may notice dull, dry or flaky skin creeping in.

Simplified skincare routine to improve your skin barrier(Photo of Alexander Stemplewski on Pexels)
Simplified skincare routine to improve your skin barrier(Photo of Alexander Stemplewski on Pexels)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, Aesthetic Physician and Founder of ISAAC Luxe (International Skin and Anti-Aging Centre), explained, “Our skin barriers get damaged when lipids (the natural fats that help our skin) are broken down. There are many reasons why this can happen. Primarily, there’s genetics, aging, and environmental factors, which, which are obviously not in our hands. Secondly, however, there’s our skincare routines (like over exfoliation, using too many active ingredients, sun damage using too hot or too cold water on your face etc.) and sleeping regimens.”

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Revealing that skin barrier repair is a critical care process, she suggested simplified skincare routine tips for taking a methodical approach to restoring, nourishing and strengthening your skin with proven products:

  • Use Antioxidants

A damaged skin barrier needs restoration. Help replace depleted skin lipids by applying oils that are enriched with antioxidants, such as sunflower and safflower oils, which hydrate with linoleic acid. Avoid heavily fragranced varieties, such as mint or citrus oils, which can irritate sensitive skin. Products containing panthenol a vitamin B-5 derivative also work as healing lubricators, as do products with niacinamide, an ingredient that increases ceramide production and restores skin barrier function.

  • Properly hydrate your skin

A damaged epidermis requires a lot of moisture, so keeping your face and body well hydrated is critical in the fight to restore and maintain a healthy skin barrier. Reach for creams, lotions and serums that contain moisture-binding humectants, such as glycerin, sorbitol and hyaluronic acid. The latter is also a powerful anti-ageing ingredient that locks in moisture and improves elasticity to help you retain plump, youthful-looking skin. Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and irritation in the skin. It can help regulate oil production, minimize the appearance of pores, improve skin texture by visibly reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Zinc extract protects the skin against UV damage. It keeps your skin hydrated and moisturizes the skin.

  • Discontinue use of harsh chemical containing products

Harsh chemicals in acne-fighting products, over-exfoliation and retinoid use are all culprits that can inflame conditions like eczema and rosacea. To keep redness and dry, flaky skin at bay, discontinue use of such aggravating products until your skin heals, and then stagger use of anti-acne and anti-ageing ingredients to every other day or a few times a week. Ditch cleansers and toners with astringents altogether, opting for those with calming ingredients like colloidal oatmeal a natural anti-irritant to help soothe redness.

  • Use Sunscreen

Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of a damaged skin barrier, and continued exposure to UVA and UVB rays impedes skin-barrier restoration. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, and be sure to select one that’s full of antioxidants for anti-aging benefits in addition to protection.

  • Treatment like LED Mask

LED therapy is a non-invasive beauty treatment that exposes your skin to light energy, which is then absorbed into the surface at various depths to stimulate reactions within the skin. This promotes cellular growth and repair and gives you a healthy, youthful glow.

Anjali Gholap, Head of R&D at Cosmetics at 82°E, echoed, “Keeping your skin healthy and radiant is crucial and the skin's barrier plays a vital role in achieving that. Various external stressors like pollution and sun exposure can disturb the barrier, along with other environmental factors. Following a Cleanse-Hydrate-Protect skincare routine consistently is key to achieving good skin health. You can begin your CHP routine with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities like dirt and dust from your skin. Hydration is crucial for maintaining a healthy skin. As the next step to your routine, apply a moisturiser which is lightweight and provides optimal hydration. Sun protection is the final and most crucial step to the CHP routine. Use a good sunscreen with a SPF of 40 or more to shield your skin from potential sun damage, prevent premature ageing and maintain the overall health of your skin.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Shamika Haldipurkar, Founder and CEO at D’you, said, “One’s overall skin health is foundational to the integrity of one’s skin barrier. The skin barrier health needs to be proactively maintained, contrary to what we often do - which is to reactively repair an already damaged barrier and a simplified approach towards skincare goes a long way in maintaining the barrier of health. Not overusing actives, not including new products into your routine all the time, never over cleansing - are all simple points to keep in mind in maintaining the barrier integrity. An easy routine to follow is to include hydration in each step of your routine, and finish off with sealing in that hydration in your skin.”

She elaborated, “Water is essential for all enzymatic activities that happen within our skin layers. A compromised barrier has increased water loss from the skin (called Trans Epidermal Water Loss or TEWL) and the main function of your skin barrier is to keep TEWL at its minimum. Barrier fortifying ingredients like ceramides, fatty acids should be integrated into your daily routine that help in keeping the barrier intact and reduce the TEWL. Start with a gentle cleanser, include a hydrating mist or serum with balanced actives, finish off with a nourishing moisturiser or sunscreen depending on AM or PM, that helps seal in all the hydration into your skin. This bare minimal routine followed with consistency is enough to ensure you'll always have a healthy barrier.”

Repairing skin’s barrier starts with eliminating what’s harming it in the first place. According to Desiree Stordahl, Director of Applied Research and Education at Paula's Choice, the culprits to look out for are:

· Unprotected exposure to the sun. (Wear sunscreen!)

· Sneaky irritants that show up in skin care formulas such as fragrance, witch hazel, and denatured alcohol. These should be avoided because they impair/sensitize skin.

· Formulas that are too strong for your skin—eliminate anything that makes your skin feel uncomfortably tight, dry or generally irritated.

· Ditch abrasive scrubs, which can cause microtears within skin’s barrier.

From there, put together a gentle routine that gives skin back the replenishing ingredients it needs to thrive. Here’s an example what that can look like:

Step 1: Use a gentle cleanser. (Remember, fragrance free is key.)

Step 2: Apply an alcohol-free toner rich in omega fatty acids and soothing ingredients.

Step 3: Instead of using a scrub for exfoliation, apply a gentle leave-on exfoliant, such as AHA or BHA, to improve skin texture. These types of exfoliants won’t harm skin’s barrier.

Step 4: Moisturize with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater during the day. At night, apply a barrier-repairing moisturizer with ingredients like ceramides that are proven to strengthen skin’s barrier.

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