Signs Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged And What To Do About It

August 2, 2021

Signs Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged And What To Do About It


Achieving a healthy skin barrier is more than just a skincare trend.

Being constantly exposed to stressors, both environmental and internal, can take a toll on our skin. From harmful ultraviolet rays, pollutants, skincare products, to our daily diet, our skin barrier is affected by a variety of factors that can potentially weaken it and leave it susceptible to damages. While many of us are well-versed in skincare products and their functions, how well do we actually know our skin barrier?


What Is The Skin Barrier?

Our skin is made up of many layers. The epidermis is the top layer, followed by the dermis which is the middle layer containing collagen, elastin and the skin’s nerve and blood supply. Beneath the dermis is the subcutaneous fat barrier that lies between the skin and muscles.

The skin barrier refers to the outermost layer in the epidermis, the stratum corneum. It is made up of tough skin cells called corneocytes that are bound together by lipids. The lipid layer contains cholesterol, fatty acids and ceramides. Also known as the ‘acid mantle’, the skin barrier is slightly acidic which helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. Maintaining the mild acidity of the skin barrier is needed for wounds to heal properly. Moreover, the skin barrier is essential to keep water within our body. Without it, water can evaporate and escape leaving us dehydrated. Therefore, it is vital that we pay careful attention to protecting the skin barrier in order to maintain our skin at optimal health.


Signs Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged

Protecting the skin barrier is key to achieve a well-hydrated and glowing complexion.

On the flipside, a damaged skin barrier leaves the skin susceptible to external stressors such as bacteria and pollutants. A weakened skin barrier is also less able to retain the skin’s natural moisture. Signs of a damaged skin barrier include dry scaly skin, discoloured skin patches, dehydrated and dull looking skin as well as itchiness and irritation.

skin barrier


Culprits Of Damaged Skin Barrier

If you notice signs of skin barrier damage, the next step will be to identify potential causes so that you can actively take steps to improve its condition. Watch out for the following common causes of damaged skin barrier:

  1. Environment that is too humid or dry
  2. Pollutants and dirt
  3. Sun exposure
  4. Alkaline detergents and soaps
  5. Over-exfoliation and over-cleansing of the face
  6. Stress and lack of sleep
  7. Smoking
  8. Insufficient nutrients from diet
  9. Genetic factors that make you more prone to skin conditions like acne or psoriasis


How To Protect And Restore Your Skin Barrier

1. Adopt A “Less Is More” Approach To Skincare

Is your skincare routine doing more harm than good? While you may have good intentions, piling on skincare products may actually be damaging rather than rescuing your blemished skin. Simplify your skincare routine with the inclusion of just the essentials, a gentle daily cleanser that does not strip your skin of its natural moisture, a hydrating moisturizer that replenishes water lost during the day and a potent acne spot gel for targeted pimple treatment.


2. Use Skincare Products That Are Close To pH 5.7

The skin barrier is naturally slightly acidic with a pH level of around 5.7. However, skincare products can range from a pH of 3.7 all the way up to 8.2. It is optimal to maintain the skin’s pH to as close as its natural state so as not to disrupt the skin barrier’s function and healing process which is crucial if you have acne-prone skin. Simply use inexpensive pH test strips to determine the pH level of your skincare products!


3. Ceramide, Hyaluronic Acid And Glycerin Are Your New Skin BFFs

Ceramides are waxy lipids that are found in high amounts in the skin barrier. Research has proven that skincare products containing Ceramides may help to enhance the skin barrier and reduce symptoms of dryness and irritation. The superstar ingredient also helps to strengthen the stratum corneum’s structural integrity which is especially critical for blemished skin where the skin around inflamed pores break down.

Humectants, such as Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin, are beneficial for the skin as they draw water from the environment or within the body and bind it to the skin barrier. This helps to ensure that the outermost layer of the skin is sufficiently hydrated to perform its function optimally.


As the first line of defence against external stressors, strengthening the skin barrier is essential to maintain the health of our complexion. If you have acne-prone skin, protecting the skin barrier can help to reduce the severity and recurrences of breakouts. While we may not be able to avoid some culprits of skin damage completely, we can actively take steps to mitigate their negative effects to protect our skin from further damage.


Have a question on Lumipeau skincare or anything related to acne? Reach out to The Lumipeau Concierge via email at or Whatsapp at 6338 8183 and the team will be glad to assist!


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