What are the signs of a damaged skin barrier? How do you tell the difference between normal dryness, a little sensitivity and full-blown skin barrier impairment? Well, most of the time, they go hand in hand. But your skin’s quite good at repairing itself, so, more often than not, it fixes barrier impairment on its own. If your skin can’t repair the barrier by itself, however, and it’s gotten to the point where you start noticing it, chances are that the skin barrier damage has lead to a cascade of other damage that triggers a whole host of new skin issues.
Your skin barrier is vital for optimal skin health and homeostasis (the ideal state of “being alive”). And we outlined that it is a layer of waxy lipids (the lipid bilayer) in the outer layer of the skin with the important role of protecting your skin and body from external pollutants, impurities and damagers in our post on why a healthy skin barrier is important.
Now, let’s look at the signs that indicate barrier damage.
No matter how much moisturiser you apply, your skin feels tight and dry again in minutes
One of the tell-tale signs of skin barrier damage is that the waxy lipid bilayer in the outer layer of your skin has been stripped or damaged. This is the layer that locks in moisture, so, if it’s impaired, your skin will lose its moisture very quickly.
It’ll feel like you have to apply moisturiser all the time, because initially it works, but then the moisturise just disappears again soon after.
You’re getting used to having tender red patches of skin
With the lipid bilayer damaged, your skin will be defenceless against attacks by damagers from the outside, often in a few specific places on your skin. Dust, radiation, pollutants, bacteria, viruses and all manner of impurities will have easy access to the lower layers of your skin in these areas.
And, of course, your skin will be fighting back in the best way it knows how: by employing inflammation and impurity-fighting, healing properties. But, with no barrier to protect it, there’ll be no reprieve, the battle becomes constant. And the result is areas of the skin that almost always seem red, inflamed and tender.
Incidentally, inflammation is very bad for your skin. There’s a lot of evidence to show that it’s one of the main drivers of ageing in skin.
Some products sting a little when you apply them
Understandably, with your skin barrier damaged and the lower layers of your skin being exposed and feeling sensitive, some products are a little too harsh or are penetrating deeper than they should be, which can be painful. The problem is that these products are now adding to the problem, not helping you solve it.
What you need is an advanced product like Lamelle’s Serra range that’s specifically designed to help restore the damaged lipid bilayer.
Your skin feels itchy and there’s sometimes a little fine flaking
One of the biggest misconceptions about sensitized skin is that only applies to really fair skin. Yes, sensitive skin is a skin type that’s usually associated with very light skin – a doctor or therapist will be able to diagnose it because it’s most likely genetic and permanent – but any type and colour of skin can become sensitized.
Sensitized skin is temporary, like when your skin barrier is damaged. And it shows up in all skin types. Even dark skin with an impaired lipid bilayer can become prone to fine flaking of the skin.
Itchiness is also very common, and it goes along with the feeling of tightness, dryness and sensitivity that indicates skin barrier damage.
Your skin looks dull and dry in places
There’s a slight technical difference between dehydration and dryness. When skin is dehydrated, we’re talking about a loss of moisture, which presents as a loss of plumpness, almost as if the skin is sunken, causing fine lines and wrinkles. Dryness, on the other hand, refers to a loss of the natural oils that give skin its healthy appearance.
When your skin barrier is damaged, you’ll experience both of these. The waxy lipid bilayer that’s been stripped away means your skin will look dull and lifeless. And, because it’s not there to lock in moisture, your skin will also become dehydrated and prone to fine lines.
What can you do to repair your skin barrier?
Considering a damaged skin barrier is a loss of the waxy lipid bilayer in the outer layer of skin cells (corneocytes), there’s really only one way to reverse it: repair the lipid bilayer.
Applying moisturiser won’t help in the long term. You need to repair the physical structures of the outer layer of skin. And this works through lipid molecules that your corneocytes produce called ceramides. When the skin is stripped of ceramides and your corneocytes can’t keep up with making new ones, the only way to reverse the trend and repair the damage is to:
- Put temporary protective structures in place (to function as the skin barrier for now)
- And stimulate your body’s own rate of ceramide production.
Fortunately, we have just the product for that.
Enter Lamelle’s Serra barrier-restoring range
Lamelle Research Laboratories’ Serra is a range of highly specialised lipid bilayer-repairing products, including facial creams, a mask, a cleanser and even a lotion specifically designed for the body.
Serra does exactly what the body needs to repair your skin barrier. Patented waxy molecules called ceramide-P, which are lab-made to be 100% compatible and recognisable by your body, step in to create a temporary skin barrier structure, filling in the holes and gaps where your lipid bilayer is damaged.
While ceramide-P takes care of protecting your skin, it soothes inflammation and inhibits sensitivity, giving your corneocytes the reprieve needed to jumpstart their own production of ceramides again.
Naturally, Serra is made for sensitive skin. It contains no fragrances, colourants, or parabens and it’s been tested and found safe and effective for adults and children.
If you are concerned about skin dryness, sensitivity, redness and inflammation, your skin barrier might be damaged. Speak to your doctor or skincare therapist (he or she will know what to do) about starting a safe and effective skin-barrier treatment programme with Lamelle Serra.
You might also be interested in Lamelle professional treatments for dry and sensitive skin.
For more on our Serra range be sure to get to know each every other product on a more personal level.