Protecting your skin’s lipid barrier is an essential aspect in keeping your skin healthy, fresh, and glowing. Here’s what to know about your lipid barrier, and why protecting it is so important.
A well-functioning lipid barrier is the foundation of healthy and glowing skin. Skin burning, flakiness, itching, swelling, and redness are some of the common signs of a damaged lipid barrier. It calls for extra support and care on your part. In this article, we’ll present you with the information to protect your lipid barrier. But first, let’s see what lipids are made up of.
What Are Lipids?
Lipids are essentially the skin’s natural fats. There are mainly 2 kinds of lipids; epidermal and sebaceous.
- Epidermal Lipids are a mix of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids.
- Sebaceous lipids are made up of triglycerides, wax esters, and squalene.
What Causes Lipid Barrier Sensitivity?
A lot of times lipid barrier damage is caused by a combination of internal and external stressors:
- Product overload;
- Hormonal changes;
- Excessive sun exposure;
- Certain soaps and detergents;
- Over-cleansing and over-exfoliating;
- Excessive humid and dry environment;
- Pollutants, pathogens, allergens, and bacteria;
- Sometimes genetics can lead to psoriasis and dermatitis that lead to a compromised skin barrier.
Signs Your Lipid Barrier Has Weakened/Compromised
Following are some of the signs that your lipid barrier is compromised:
- Increased skin sensitivity and soreness
Steps to Repair and Protect Your Skin’s Lipid Barrier
Follow these tips and you will notice a clear difference in your skin’s lipid barrier:
1. Stay Clear of Harsh Cleansers
Any product that strips your skin of natural oils will weaken and damage your skin’s lipid barrier. Try to avoid foaming cleansers that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Stick to gentle cleansers, oil, mild and cream-based cleansers work well, and micellar water is also a great option. Generally speaking, your skin should feel nourished and moisturized after cleansing and not tight and stripped. Avoid over-cleansing; twice a day is enough. Do not use hot water on the skin, use lukewarm water instead.
2. Avoid Over Exfoliation
While exfoliating your skin enough is essential for the growth of new skin cells, over-exfoliation can truly damage your lipid skin barrier. Avoid harsh, abrasive scrubs with bigger beads. Generally, an acid exfoliator works well for most people with sensitive skin types. Exfoliating your skin once or twice a week is more than enough to buff away dead skin cells. Anything more than that will lead to redness, flakiness, and excessive dryness. If your lipid barrier is compromised, it is best to quit exfoliation for a while altogether.
3. Protect Your Skin Against Extreme Environmental Conditions
Extreme temperatures such as dry, hot, and cold air will damage the lipid barrier of your skin. While it isn’t possible to stay indoors all the time, you can use barrier creams and protective clothing to add a layer of protection.
4. Lipid-Loving Skincare Works Wonders
As we age, our skin barrier weakens. Hence, it is best to support your skin by using lipid-loving skincare products. Look for ‘skin identical’ ingredients’ that replace lipids and offer protection:
- Hyaluronic acid
These ingredients work wonders. Avoid adding new products to your daily routine often, stick to adding them every now and then. It gets quite tempting to purchase the next hit product into your cart. However, using too many products and layering incorrectly can ruin your skin. If your skin is damaged, it is time to simplify your routine. Sticking to a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen will work wonders without causing further damage. Be patient as in some cases, it will take weeks, and months for your skin’s lipid barrier to repair. An additional tip is to keep your makeup brushes, sponges, and other tools clean and dry at all times. Wash them on a regular basis. Always wash your hands prior to applying makeup.
5. Read Skincare Labels
Learning how to read skincare labels is the best thing you can do for the health of your skin. Generally, products that contain alcohol and sulfates tend to be very drying. Some of the most amazing ingredients to support the lipid barrier are:
- Essential fatty acids (derived from plant oils)
- Sodium PCA
- Hyaluronic acid
- Centella Asiatica (also called cica)
On this same note, it’s important to buy skin care products from qualified distributors who list the active ingredients in their products.
6. Lifestyle and Diet
You are what you eat. Your diet and lifestyle play a very important role in how your skin looks and feels. Here are a few pointers to keep in your mind;
- Stress, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption, and increased sugar intake can negatively impact your skin’s lipid barrier. Your skin will heal and repair itself if you are ready to make a lifestyle shift.
- Keep your skin hydrated by drinking loads of water and following a nutrient-rich diet; healthy carbs, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Essential fatty acids, evening primrose, and fish oil will support your lipid barrier from within.
- Adding a bit of activity to your day-to-day routine will help your skin feel happy and fresh. So, get that daily walk, dance, weight training, and sports in. Do something that you actually enjoy. Not all of us are gym buddies and that is alright.
7. Wear Sunscreen and Re-Apply It Throughout the Day
Sunscreen is non-negotiable if you wish to have healthy skin. It protects you from UVA and UVB rays and protects your lipid barrier. Whether it is sunny or cloudy, you have to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and reapply it throughout the day. If you wear makeup, it is best to get your hands on spray-on sunscreen so you can apply it without ruining your look.
Your skin is always working to protect itself from toxins, environmental damage, and stressors. With the right tools, you can help fight radicals and inflammation, and retain moisture. If you follow the tips mentioned in this article, your skin will surely recover and your complexion will be glowing and healthy. Additionally, if your skin is flaking off, hurting, and extremely sensitive, it is best to visit a dermatologist or esthetician as soon as possible. If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and we will get back to you shortly.