How to Restore Your Skin Barrier With the Right Skincare Routine

Your skin barrier is your first defense against harmful toxins, UV rays, and other environmental stressors. Keep it healthy by sticking to a skincare routine that suits your needs.

Avoid products that strip your natural oils and opt for gentle exfoliants, says dermatologist Dr. Lana Kashlan. She likens the skin barrier to a brick wall, with your cells as the bricks and lipids as the mortar.


A healthy skin barrier can prevent breakouts, soothe irritation and help your face look hydrated, plump, and glowy. So, how to repair a damaged skin barrier? Keeping it at its best requires a few things, including a good night’s sleep, avoiding harsh cleansers, using sunscreen daily, and limiting sun exposure to prevent UV damage.

The first step is to stop doing anything that can negatively affect the skin barrier, especially picking at blemishes or using overly aggressive exfoliants. It would help if you also avoid smoking, which decreases blood flow to the skin and can contribute to inflammation that can damage the barrier.

Next, cleanse with gentle products designed to protect the skin barrier. Skip soaps and other harsh cleansers that can strip the natural oils from your skin, causing dryness and irritation. Instead, use a gentle cleanser that is pH balanced for your skin type or one that contains soothing ingredients like aloe vera and shea butter to keep it soft and supple. Avoid extreme temperatures (hot or cold) when cleansing, as this can also damage your skin. Instead, opt for lukewarm water to wash your face and body.

Finally, add a daily moisturizer rich in antioxidants and nutrients to restore your skin barrier. Look for ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil, which are high in lipids that can replenish your natural barrier, as well as those that work to stimulate collagen production and protect against environmental stressors. Try to use a formula with the active ingredient niacinamide, which boosts ceramide production for improved barrier function and helps keep your skin healthy.


Skin barrier damage can cause your skin to look dry, flaky, and patchy. Luckily, it’s a condition that can be reversed by simplifying your routine and using cleansers and moisturizers that nourish and restore.

Our skin barrier, made up of tough outer layers of skin cells that are held together with mortar-like lipids, literally keeps us alive. Without it, harmful bacteria, toxins, and even moisture could enter the body and cause havoc. It’s also why your complexion is smooth, soft, and supple when your barrier is healthy.

Unfortunately, our skin barrier can become compromised due to pollution, irritants, and everyday living. This can lead to many skin care issues, from clogged pores and breakouts to discoloration and inflammation. It can be incredibly challenging for those who suffer from eczema or rosacea, as this can trigger flare-ups.

Over-exfoliating, harsh scrubs, frequent hot showers, and excessive use of astringents and sulfates can all damage the skin barrier, as well as smoke and sun exposure. Luckily, it is possible to nurse your skin back to health, though it may take some time and patience. In the meantime, use products that nourish your skin’s outer layer, such as plant-based oils, hyaluronic acid serums, and those with niacinamide and ceramides to help restore it. Then, gradually reintroduce other actives in small amounts (like retinoids and vitamin C) to see how your skin reacts.


Your skin barrier is your protective seal that keeps good things in (like healthy natural oils, hydration, and moisture) and the bad stuff out (think environmental toxins and pathogens). When it’s working at its best, it will leave you with soft, smooth, and lusciously plump skin. But when that barrier is damaged, you might notice symptoms like redness, dry spots, texture issues, or sensitivity (even with the best skincare routine).

The skin barrier protects against various environmental stressors, including UV rays, pollution, and irritants that can damage the integrity of your complexion. This is why it’s essential to use a gentle cleanser and avoid harsh soaps or detergents that can strip your skin of its barrier and natural oils.

In addition to using gentle cleansers, you can add barrier-repairing ingredients into your skincare routine that help restore the health of your skin. Look for ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide, fatty acids, and hyaluronic acid to nourish your skin while helping repair the barrier.

Also, avoid picking at your skin or using abrasive scrubs, which can further damage the barrier. Finally, an oil-free moisturizer that won’t irritate your skin is a good idea. And always use lukewarm water to wash your face – cold or hot water can irritate the skin and cause micro-tears in the barrier.


As you know, your skin barrier protects against various environmental irritants and pathogens that can penetrate the epidermis and cause adverse health effects inside your body. It also keeps a delicate balance of water and lipids within your skin to keep it soft, supple, and hydrated.

It’s no wonder that a healthy skin barrier is the foundation of glowing, youthful-looking skin! Whether you’re dealing with redness, itchiness, blemishes, uneven texture, or dry spots, you can get your barrier back on track with the proper skincare routine.

Some of the most common causes of barrier impairment are excessive sun exposure, harsh scrubs or exfoliants, a lack of moisture, and medical conditions or medications. These factors can all lead to a damaged skin barrier, making your skin vulnerable to free radical damage and resulting in various unpleasant symptoms.

In addition to protecting against environmental stressors, use a moisturizer daily with ingredients like hyaluronic acid to help lock in your hydration. Also, try to avoid hot showers and astringent toners that strip the natural oils from your skin, especially if you’re experiencing dryness or sensitivity. Incorporating a barrier repair cream that contains ceramides can also help repair and protect your skin’s weakened barriers. These products are thicker than a regular moisturizer and can be added to your daily regimen to help with repair and protection.

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