Repairing A Damaged Moisture Barrier
Do you know what your moisture barrier is? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Many don’t even know what their moisture barrier is until it is gone. Also known as your acid mantle, it is the top level of your skin that acts as a protective shield from anything and everything aggravating. As you can see, it is crucial for any skin type to be healthy.
So how do you damage or strip it? It’s actually a lot easier than you may think. High foaming cleansers, extreme weather (looking at you, East Coast Bomb Cyclone), or over exfoliation are the usual suspects. How do you know it’s damaged? Girl, you’ll know. Your skin will hurt. It will feel raw and chapped, and quite red. You’ll get breakouts in weird places thanks to bacteria having free access to your skin with no barrier. Even wiping your face with a towel during SoulCycle will feel uncomfortable.
If this happens to you, consider following this routine to get your moisture barrier back in action – stat.
As mentioned, foaming face washes will strip your skin. Choose a mild option such as Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18) or Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar ($28) to remove makeup and dirt without freaking your skin out.
Since over exfoliation can not only cause this issue but also only continue to aggravate it, all acid toners need to be shelved until your visage is healed. If you’re a long time toner user and don’t feel quite clean without that extra swipe, consider using Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner ($22). It will restore your skin’s pH after cleansing while calming and moisturizing thanks to amino acids.
In terms of treatments and serums, anything active needs to be put on hold while you’re in the repair stage. Retinols, BHAs, Vitamin C, and anything with essential oils are a big no-no. To moisturize and nourish, mix a few drops of Dermalogica Barrier Defense Booster ($75) into Dermalogica Calm Water Gel ($48) day and night. Your skin will literally drink up this combination of fatty lipids and hyaluronic acids faster than you can down your favorite cocktail.
If things are really hurting and your skin is especially raw, a layer of La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume ($15) will feel like a warm hug. It is an amazingly protective barrier on especially frigid or windy days.
Although a major splurge, Biologique Recherche Creme Masque Vernix ($190) is arguably the best mask you can use when your skin is having a nuclear meltdown. Babies are born with a waxy coating to protect their skin, and this formula is meant to replicate that (sans the blood and other gross parts of labor, obviously.) To get the most of every precious ounce, we recommend wearing it as an overnight mask to let it really get down to business.
Finally, many foundations and tinted moisturizers contain ingredients that will irritate and aggravate your skin while in the healing stage. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment ($52) is the best solution we have found to this problem – obsessed is an understatement. It deeply moisturizes while protecting from harmful UV rays, and transforms to a neutralizing beige to cover redness and spots. We heart this green goop in a deep way.
-Written by Casey Sharbaugh