We've talked before about some of the most common mistakes you can make that damage your natural barrier.
Your skin's natural defense against external elements and dehydration is the lipids (fatty substances) between the cells at the outer surface of your skin (the epidermis). This 'natural barrier' can be challenged by anything that upsets the balance of your natural oils, allowing precious water to escape through evaporation, and allowing external elements to irritate and inflame your skin.
Your natural barrier is renewed when new skin cells are produced in what is called natural 'cell turnover'. Unfortunately, poor diet, excessive stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, exposure to sunlight and other external factors (called extrinsic factors) can increase inflammation and decrease cell turnover, thereby weakening your natural barrier. Also genetic aging (intrinsic aging) causes a natural slow-down in cell turnover, no matter how much care you take of those external factors.
First, protect your skin's intercellular lipids by choosing a gentle cleanser with little or no foam. Foam is the main culprit for lifting away precious lipids, so lightly foaming cleansers or cleansing milks and lotions are a better option for a challenged barrier. In addition alcohol-based toners tend to dissolve lipids exacerbating dryness; look for a water-based toner instead.
Be sure not to over-exfoliate by choosing a gentle (lightly foaming or enzyme) exfoliator and regulate use so that you're not causing dryness, tightness or sensitivity after exfoliating. Once or twice a week is a good place to start, but drier skins may react better to less frequent exfoliation.
We include a lot of anti-inflammatory ingredients in our skincare to soothe inflammation immediately because of the direct connection between inflammation and a compromised barrier.
Moisturizers generally fall into 2 categories, hydrating moisturizers that contain lots of humectants (which help your skin retain water) and moisturizers that contain lots of lipids (fatty substances that complement your natural oils). To "patch" a compromised barrier choose moisturizers with more lipids, because they temporarily patch the weak parts of your barrier (the parts of your face where the skin is the most dry) and give your natural barrier a chance to repair itself.
Lastly you can do things to help speed up your cell turnover. In general exfoliation, when done right, removes dead skin cells at the surface without damaging your barrier. This encourages your skin to produce cells faster - as well as the lipids that are naturally produced along with them. Increased lipid production means a more robust barrier and improved tolerance.
Retinoids (forms of vitamin A) also help to regulate cell function and boost cell turnover, helping to naturally improve an impaired barrier and boost collagen production as well.
By helping your barrier regain it's natural balance you allow your skin to protect itself, which almost always means it will be at it's healthiest. The benefits can include improved hydration, improved cell function, new elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid production and reduced breakdown (and therefore improved retention) of elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid.
A strong barrier is one of the most direct routes to radiant skin, and who doesn't want to achieve that natural glow!
THE SIREN - Hydrating Cleansing Gel - for slightly dry to oily skin
THE TEMPTRESS - Vitamin Cleansing Lotion - for dry to slightly oily skin
THE ALCHEMIST - Pomegranate Enzyme Exfoliator - for all skin-types
THE RASCAL - Refining Foaming Exfoliator - for normal to oily skin
THE ADVOCATE - Advanced Retinol Serum - for all skin -types
THE SHEPHERD - Balancing Moisturizer - for slightly oily to dry skin
Thanks for reading!
ALEXIARES & ANI
Photo Credit: Eddie New; Inka Williams