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Skincare enthusiasts are likely already familiar with the term ‘skin moisture barrier’, but for those uninitiated, the skin layer is super important to healthy complexions.

skin moisture barrier

A protective layer made up of lipids and ceramides, the skin moisture barrier protects against external stress like bacteria and harsh weather. It also helps to keep moisture levels up and retain hydrating properties within the skin.

When skin moisture barrier disruption occurs, skin stress can present in a range of ways. Depending on your skin type, an impaired skin moisture barrier may result in flaky and dulled skin, breakouts, tender skin sensations or shininess. Ahead, learn how to know if your skin moisture barrier is damaged and the skincare ingredients that help to protect it.

What causes a damaged skin moisture barrier?

As mentioned above, healthy moisture barrier skin protects against external stressors. Unfortunately, this protective layer can be compromised by those same factors. Certain behaviours can also impact it, so it’s important to be across the various causes of skin moisture barrier disruption. Skincare for skin moisture barrier helps to protect against the following triggers:

  • Cold weather
  • Very humid or very dry environments
  • UV exposure
  • Over-exfoliation and over-cleansing
  • Stress

  • How to know if your skin moisture barrier is damaged

    The signs of a compromised skin moisture barrier will be familiar to everyone. Many of the common concerns experienced across individual skin types will relate in some way to a damaged skin moisture barrier. When you notice skin stress, one of the first approaches is to address skin moisture barrier health. For how to know if your skin moisture barrier is damaged, look out for the following signs:

  • Dry, flaking skin
  • Dull, dehydrated skin
  • Tender skin sensations
  • Blemishes and breakouts
  • An increase in oil flow

  • How to improve skin moisture barrier strength

    We know how important moisture barrier skin health is – so what can we do to support it? Thankfully, keeping this protective layer happy is very simple – most of the time it actually requires a minimised approach! Our five top steps to a healthy skin moisture barrier are below.

    1. Speak to a dermatologist

    Everyone’s skin is unique, and sometimes expert advice is needed to pinpoint the best skincare approach. If your skin often experiences signs of stress, there may be an unchecked or underlying issue behind your damaged skin moisture barrier. To help you understand your skin type, any ongoing concerns, and the best way to protect a healthy complexion, we recommend consulting a dermatologist.

    2. Opt for a gentle cleanser

    Cleansers clear impurities on skin that can induce stress – making it one of the most helpful steps in regaining natural skin strength. When choosing skincare for skin moisture barrier help, opt for gentle formulas. This helps to clear dirt and sweat which occurs while we sleep and throughout the day while helping to keep skin nourished in support of the skin moisture barrier.

    What to use:

    Our Ultra Facial Cleanser combines gentle foaming agents with emollients like squalane and vitamin E for an efficient, pH balanced cleanse that leaves skin feeling fresh and supple.

    3. Use hydrating ingredients

    Key to the skin moisture barrier is – you guessed it – moisture! To help protect its strength, moisturisers formulated for skin type can supplement the levels of lipids and oils necessary for balanced skin. Many of the most nourishing ingredients are naturally derived and plant based. Avocado oil, squalane oil and apricot kernel feature across Kiehl’s skincare range and all help to keep skin soft and supple. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial collection features hydrating formulas with the above ingredients, and is your go-to skincare for skin moisture barrier health. Our #1 moisturising cream Ultra Facial Cream With Squalane provides lightweight, 24 hour hydration with the help of squalane and glycerin.

    For those with who experience sensitivity, Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream is specially formulated to moisturise sensitive skin types. Included in the formula is madecassoside, derived from centella asiatica (or cica). Paired with hydrating and skin protecting D-panthenol, this cream assists in moisture barrier skin health for a strengthened complexion.

    4. Strengthen with serums

    Some skincare steps are able to access the deeper layers of skin. Serums, a powerful and supportive component of skincare regimes, deliver nourishing ingredients to multiple skin layers. Implementing the right serum for your skin helps in addressing skin moisture barrier disruption.

    Vital Skin-Strengthening Super Serum is specifically formulated to help strengthen skin layers. The serum is packed with micro hyaluronic acid for hydration and glow, and our proprietary Adaptogenic Herbal Complex to deeply target skin-aging stressors. Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive.

    5. Apply sunscreen daily

    Lastly – but no less importantly – remember to complete your AM skincare with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. It’s one of the best tools in your skincare arsenal, and directly supports skin against skin moisture barrier stress.

    Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++ helps protect against one of the main motivators behind a damaged skin moisture barrier. Advanced UVA/UVB protection is included in this lightweight formula, suitable for all skin types (including sensitive).

    Found this article on skin moisture barrier disruption helpful? Find out how to layer and apply retinol serums next.


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