How do you know if your skin barrier is damaged and what can you do about it?

Updated: May 18

What is the skin barrier? The main function of your skin is to form a barrier between your body and the outside world. Its general role is to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. It protects you against external factors like bacteria, viruses, moisture, dirt, heat, and cold. This barrier function is important for your health, but also for your appearance. Nobody wants dry, flaky or irritated skin. And that is why I’m going to tell you what the skin barrier is, what the effects of an impaired skin barrier are, and what you can do to prevent and repair it.

Pimples, redness, flakes, and eczema Your skin consists of different layers. The top layer, which is made up of a mixture of oils, fatty acids, water, and bacteria, is called the stratum corneum. If this outer layer is damaged, and thus the barrier function of your skin, your skin barrier is impaired. It becomes unable to hold on to the vital substances that keep skin cells intact: ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids. This leads to water loss and skin becoming more vulnerable to all external aggressors.

Due to the loss of water, your skin gets damaged. It dries out even further and skin problems arise, such as losing skin elasticity, pimples, redness, flakes, and eczema. It can even accelerate the process of skin ageing. These are things that we really want to avoid: hence, why we want to take care of the skin barrier so that we keep our skin soft and glowing.

How do you know if you have a damaged skin barrier? An impaired skin barrier can present itself in several ways:

  • Dehydrated skin

  • Itchy skin

  • Skin irritation

  • Hyperpigmentation

  • Skin infections

  • Delayed wound healing

  • Rosacea and eczema, both have many other causes, but an impaired skin barrier can cause these skin conditions to flare up

  • Oily skin with breakouts

What causes an unbalanced skin barrier? There can be many factors that can potentially cause the skin barrier to be out of balance:

  • Cosmetic products that contain irritants like certain alcohols, fragrances, penetration enhancers, and preservatives

  • Incorrect use of cosmetic products

  • Over-exfoliating your skin

  • Washing your face with too hot or too cold water

  • Poor nutrition

  • Dry environments, especially in winter when the heating is on

  • Lack of sleep

  • Cleansers that strip the skin barrier from its natural oils

  • Pollution

  • Wind

  • UV radiation

  • Smoking

9 tips on how to treat a damaged skin barrier Repairing your skin barrier doesn’t happen overnight. You need to have patience and take time out to give your skin extra TLC.

  1. Go back to basic with your skincare routine. Use only a few products that you know won’t aggregate the skin.

  2. Use a gentle but effective cleanser and don’t over cleanse. You can try to skip your morning cleanse or just wash your face with lukewarm water.

  3. Avoid using products that are potential irritants like certain alcohol-based products, products that contain fragrances, scrubs, harsh soaps, or highly concentrated exfoliants.

  4. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin against UV damage

  5. Use a humidifier for dry environments like hot climates or in winter, when you have the heating turned on

  6. Use a gentle moisturizer in the morning, and before you go to bed on cleansed and damp skin.

  7. Your skin is often a reflection of what you eat. Pay extra attention to eat foods that are rich in omega-3 and omega-6: they play an integral role in the inflammatory response of the skin, its texture and softness, and the ability to act as a barrier.

8. Le Youth Sérum is specially formulated and dermatologically tested for sensitive skin. This makes it perfect for skin that has a damaged skin barrier. The sérum is supercharged with gentle emollients like camellia, kukui, and squalane that help prevent transepidermal water loss, support damaged skin, moisturize, and leave skin soft and supple.

9. You can help your skin’s natural oil production and repair by adding nourishing oils to your skincare routine. La Prickly Pear Seed Oil is unique because of its extremely high content of linoleic acid (>70%). This softens, nourishes, locks in moisture, and protects the skin.

Do you have any questions about this or another skincare related topic? We are happy to help you with any uncertainties you may have. Shoot us a message at, and we will answer your inquiry within 48 hours

Psssssst! Browse through our articles with advice about other skin conditions, such as eczema, dry skin, and hyperpigmentation, too!