What is the Skin Barrier?

Though you may have heard of the skin barrier, knowing how it functions and which ingredients support the occurrence of a broken skin barrier is a vital part of your skincare routine.

There’s a science to skincare, and the biological functions of this organ can seem overwhelming at points. However, fundamental to radiant skin is a healthy moisture barrier – without it, you won’t be able to achieve that sought-after glow.

So, what is the skin barrier? And is it the same as the lipid barrier? To break down one of the more confusing elements of skin, we’ve delved deep. Skin barrier damage can happen to any skin type, and when it occurs exacerbates concerns like skin dryness, skin sensitivity and even blemishes. To know how to look out for signs of a damaged skin barrier and the best skin barrier routine for a radiant, bouncy complexion, read our helpful guide ahead.

Skin Barrier 101 

Conversely known as the skin barrier, moisture barrier and lipid barrier, the simplest way to think of this skin layer is as your complexion’s best defence. Skin is made up from many different layers – the three main one’s being subcutaneous fat (the deepest layer), the dermis, and the epidermis (outermost layers). The very, very top layer is the stratum corneum, where the skin barrier sits. Whatever you want to call it, this barrier works as a protective and watertight ‘sealant’ through a formulation of natural oils, amino acids and sweat.

Why does skin barrier damage matter?

When your skin feels soft and hydrated and looks bright and even-toned, it means your skin barrier is intact. A healthy skin barrier is able to perform two vital functions for strong skin – it helps to keep good substances like ceramides, fatty acids, moisture and cholesterol in, and prevents stressors like pollution, bacteria and harmful UV radiation from breaking through. 

Skin barrier damage occurs from a range of triggers, including stress, weather conditions like wind, overuse of skin-stripping formulas, lack of sleep, and dehydration. What results is a weakened and thinned epidermal layer which is prone to dehydration, sensitivity and loss of elasticity. Signs of a damaged skin barrier can look and feel like:

•  Itchy or uncomfortable skin
  Dulled and uneven skin tone 
  Rosacea and eczema prone skin
  Flaky, rough skin texture
  Sagging skin or fine lines

A simple skin barrier routine 

Some skin concerns and conditions require technical and curated routines. Thankfully, when bringing a broken skin barrier back to health, the right mentality to take is a paired-back one. A focus on cleansed, hydrated skin with the implementation of a few key nourishing ingredients will ensure your moisture barrier stays moisturised, so that you can achieve long-term luminosity.

1. Include hero ingredients in your routine

Hydrating ingredients that help to increase oil and water content in skin are imperative when addressing skin barrier damage. Once properly moisturised, the skin barrier can once again form a protective seal. Serums are especially effective at implementing powerful ingredients, as their water-like consistency can permeate the deep layers of skin. Hero ingredients to incorporate in your routine include:

  • Ceramides: a natural oil found in skin cells which helps to moisturise and plump skin. When you have a compromised skin barrier, the natural production of ceramides can be lost. When skin feels dry or uncomfortable, applying ceramide-infused products will strengthen your skin barrier and reinstate hydration. The anti-ageing Laser X3 Serum contains pro ceramides, to refine texture and support the fibres of skin. 

  • Hyaluronic acid: able to hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water, this hydrating superhero can really help the moisture barrier to retain its strength. With 0.5% macro hyaluronic acid and 1% micro hyaluronic acid, Filler Hyaluronic Acid 1.5% HA Serum assists the skin barrier in holding water in.

  • Ferment: uniquely able to activate cell-renewal, ferment helps to visibly improve skin’s texture.

2.  Cleanse skin properly

Signs of damaged skin barrier include sensitivity, discomfort and skin prone to itchiness, and this is mainly a result of the weakened defences which let bacteria stay in skin. To help your lipid barrier regain its protective ability, impurities and bacteria need to be removed. Stripping can occur when using harsh cleansers and physical exfoliants, so opt for a gentle cleanser to properly support skin vitality. Filler Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser includes hyaluronic acid to increase the level of moisture in skin and re-plump texture.

3.  Hydrate skin daily

One way to imagine your skin barrier is as a wall. Cells make up each brick and are held together by oils. A broken skin barrier is like a compromised wall. To keep yours tidy and strong, ensure that cells are kept in place with the right amount of moisture each day. Filler Hyaluronic Acid Revolumising Day Cream is enriched with firming Fibroxyl plant extract and hyaluronic acid to create fullness and bounciness in skin.


Loved this guide? Keep reading to discover the importance of a night skincare routine.


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