Itchy, dry, and flaky skin is common in the winter or if you live in a dry climate, but sometimes these skin issues can be a sign that your skin barrier is damaged. Determining how you should treat it depends on numerous factors.

We compiled some of the top tips from professional makeup artist and esthetician Sonia Roselli to help you recognize if your skin barrier is damaged, to explain what can cause damage, and how to help heal your skin barrier.

If you'd like to start exploring her pro-approved skincare line, you may view it here!

The Skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin and protects from environmental factors while helping to keep your natural moisture in

What is the skin barrier?

Your skin is made up of many layers that help protect your body. Your skin barrier, the stratum corneum (outermost layer), is made up of thick skin cells called corneocytes bound together by lipids. It serves as a line of defense to keep environmental toxins out and helps keep your natural moisture inside your body.

Without the skin barrier, your natural moisture would evaporate and leave your skin vulnerable.

What makes the skin barrier different from other skin layers?

Your skin barrier is made of cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides. Over time, these building blocks can become depleted and lead to barrier damage and irritation. Environmental and lifestyle factors can also deplete your skin barrier.

How can you tell if your skin barrier is damaged

How can you tell if your skin barrier is damaged?

The first step to healing your skin barrier is to figure out if your skin barrier is damaged.

What are some of the symptoms of a damaged skin barrier?

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Peeling/Flaking
  • Tightness
  • Breakouts
  • Rash
  • Rough Texture
  • Stinging/Burning
  • A stinging sensation when water touches the skin
  • Fine Lines, Crepiness
  • Dryness (Lack of oil)
  • Dehydration (Lack of water)
  • Eczema

What can damage the skin barrier

Now that you know how to tell if your skin barrier is damaged, take a look at some of the most common causes of a damaged skin barrier:

  • Over-exfoliation of any kind
  • Anything that exfoliates the skin, including at-home manual exfoliation tools
  • Not using the proper facial cleanser
  • Dry climates
  • Quality of water in your area
  • Alcohol in skincare
  • Not wearing sunscreen
  • Fragrance in skincare products
  • Medications
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Not using a good moisturizer

how can i repair my damaged skin barrier

How can I repair my skin barrier if it's damaged?

If you think your skin barrier is damaged, it's always a good idea to work with a dermatologist and esthetician to diagnose and treat your skin, but there are a few things you can do at home to heal your skin, too. Your at-home goal is to re-hydrate your skin.

Ways to hydrate and repair the skin barrier at home:

  1. Use the proper cleanse and moisturizer for your skin type
  2. Take shorter, cooler showers
  3. Take a look at the lifestyle factors that may be contributing to dehydration
It is important to choose a good cleanser and moisturizer

The importance of choosing the right cleanser and moisturizer

A common misconception is that the cleanser you use doesn't matter, but Sonia reminds us why that isn't always true.

"Knowing your skin type and your skin 'lifestyle' (how often you'll wash your face, do you workout or sweat a lot) is key to choosing this 'gentle cleanser'," she says. "Using the wrong cleanser will lead to a broken skin barrier for some, and I am convinced a cleanser is the first step in a great skincare routine. If I am being 1000% honest, I think this is where most skin routines get into a trick bag, and then people wonder why their skin isn’t behaving when they’re using 3000 other skin care products."  

The Best Facial Cleanser for Dry Skin Types

If you have dry skin, you may do well with a cream or oil cleanser. You definitely don’t want to use anything foaming or gel since it may be too stripping on your skin. Dry skin already has a heightened level of sensitivity, so watch out for any added fragrance, too.

The Best Facial Cleanser for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin you may like the feel of a gel cleanser. Oily skin tones like the feel of clean skin, but we don’t want that "over-clean" either.

The Best Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

If you’re sensitive, you may want to choose a cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin any more than it already is because sensitive skin usually has a degree of broken skin barrier. Avoid products with fragrance, and lightly pat the face dry.

As you see, a cleanser is more important than you think!

Using the Proper Moisturizer for Dehydrated Skin

Not using the proper moisturizer can cause dehydrated skin, too. Just like finding a good cleanser, finding the right moisturizer is critical. That's why Sonia created her skincare line to work for all skin types and formulated products that work for every step of your skincare routine.

Her best selling Water Balm Skin Prep is a great moisturizer for all skin types and keeps your skin hydrated and supple for hours. The gel creme formula sinks in swiftly, evens out texture, brightens skin tone, and smooths imperfections. For those with dry skin, Water Oil Skin Prep is designed to give your skin the rich hydration it needs. She formulated both Water Balm & Water Oil to work well under makeup and to also be rich and hydrating enough to be used as a part of your nightly routine.

The temperature, humidity levels, what you eat and drink, and medications can all play a role in the health of your skin barrier

How to combat weather or lifestyle-related dehydration factors

Lifestyle and weather-related factors are among the most common factors that can lead to dehydrated skin, but don't worry! There are some easy steps you can follow to help.

Weather-related Dehydration

Where you live also plays an important role in skin dehydration. Living in dry, cold, or hot climates can cause the water in our skin to evaporate faster.

Sonia's favorite way to add moisture to the skin throughout the day is to incorporate a facial mist into your routine. She recommends adding Water Elixir to an atomizer and to spritz it on the face throughout the day to replenish the skin with ceramides and nourishing moisture.

Sonia's PRO Tip: Whatever you do, don’t use tap water to mist on your face. It is full of minerals that may be irritating to your already dry, dehydrated skin.

Did you know that consuming too much caffeine, alcohol, and other common beverages can impact your skin barrier?

Lifestyle-related factors that dehydrate the skin

Love a good cocktail or coffee? These tasty beverages can be okay in moderation, but caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the skin, so if your skin barrier is damaged, consider cutting back! Likewise, certain medications and even long, hot showers can contribute to dehydration.

Thankfully, the solutions for these factors are easy. Drink more water, turn down the temperature on your shower, and consider adding a humidifier to amp up the moisture in the air around you.

In Conclusion

As you have learned, numerous factors can impact your skin barrier's health! Taking the time to find the proper skincare for your skin type and lifestyle, staying hydrated, and recognizing the symptoms of a damaged skin barrier early on, you'll enjoy healthier and happier skin!

If you're working on repairing your skin barrier, be patient, and stay consistent. Rebuilding a healthy barrier can take time, but it's worth the effort and dedication.

Shop sonia roselli skincare at Camera Ready Cosmetics to repair your skin barrier

About Sonia Roselli and Sonia Roselli Skincare

Sonia is a makeup artist and esthetician with more than 30 years of experience. Although her skin looks great now, it wasn’t always as healthy! In 2006, she had a total hysterectomy and developed skin issues and sensitivity. Her "bad skin" made her feel bad about herself, especially since her job as a makeup artist was to help others feel beautiful. A question she often asked herself was, “How could I promote great skin and great makeup when I, myself, didn't have it anymore?”

That’s when Sonia Roselli skincare was born. When developing her skincare products, she set out to make products that worked for skin prep before makeup but were still gentle for sensitive skin and anyone that sat in her makeup chair. Her products are beloved by makeup artists and skincare enthusiast lovers of all genders, ages, and skin types because they promote healthy skin barriers and can be used for your morning, daytime, and nighttime skincare routine!

We hope you feel more confident in caring for your skin barrier! To learn more about Sonia Roselli's skin barrier protecting line of products, click here. Have a question for our skincare experts? Click here to send them a message.

About Camera Ready Cosmetics

Camera Ready Cosmetics was founded in 2003 by Makeup Artist Mary Erickson. She dreamed of having a pro makeup showroom where artists could play with professional products without the typical makeup store attitude.

Today, our team of beauty industry veterans work together to curate the best quality products on the market. We partner with brands who respect the industry and formulate products for true working artists. You won’t find CRC in high-end malls, and we don't wear matching brush belts.

If you want to play with products for a few hours and buy nothing, that's okay ... come in and play! Our store is your playground. 

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