Do you suffer from dry, tight skin? Is your face itchy, flaky, or sensitive? Chances are, your moisture barrier needs some tender loving care. The good news is, it’s easy to fix, and you rarely need to see a doctor to find a solution. The bad news is, the cause of the problem is probably hiding in your home.
What Is the Moisture Barrier?
Your moisture barrier is the very top layer of your skin. Rather than skin cells, however, it’s comprised of oils. These help bind your individual skin cells together, creating a seal. This keeps moisture in. It also repels irritants. Ultimately, the moisture barrier is the most important element in keeping your skin soft, smooth, and hydrated. Skin with a healthy moisture barrier glows. Without it, skin becomes dry, tight, and irritated. You may suffer redness, flakiness, roughness, itchiness, increased breakouts, and even rashes. If these symptoms sound familiar, your moisture barrier may be compromised. The good news, however, is that these oils are a natural part of your skin, and they regenerate if you let them. In order to restore the moisture barrier, however, you must find out what’s causing the problem in the first place.
Ready to try some detective work? There is no shortage of suspects for damaged moisture barriers. You have the usual suspects, including sun damage from failure to wear sunscreen. Then there are seasonal conditions, skincare habits, and harsh ingredients in your favorite products. There are literally dozens of ways to hurt your moisture barrier, so to find the true cause, you need to analyze the onset of your symptoms. When did you first notice your dry skin? Has this happened before? Have you introduced anything new to your lifestyle or skincare routine?
If dry skin is a regular problem, look at regular habits, favored products, and environmental conditions. Winter causes lots of people problems, so this may be a seasonal condition. Symptoms that persist outside of winter are probably due to lifestyle choices or skincare habits. You may be exfoliating too much or using overly-harsh products. Don’t wash your face with bar soap or a heavily foaming gel cleanser. Check ingredient lists for highly acidic ingredients, avoid synthetic fragrances, and cut back on the essential oils.
If you’re still having problems, your drinking or smoking habits might be hurting your skin. Of course, long airplane flights, medications, and even washing your face with hot water can damage your moisture barrier. So, if you don’t find the culprit right away, just keep looking.
The first and most important step to recovery is eliminating the cause of the problem. That may be as simple as switching out your toner and washing your face with cooler water, or it could require major lifestyle changes and very careful product selection. The longer you abuse your moisture barrier, the harder it is for your skin to naturally recover. Look for moisturizers with ingredients like cranberry oil and shea butter to help boost recovery. Treat your skin very, very gently, too. Don’t even use a regular washcloth, and cut back on exfoliation. If you’re having troubles with your moisture barrier, you shouldn’t exfoliate more than three or four times a week.
Very few problems are solved by pampering yourself, but that’s basically the best fix for a depleted moisture barrier. Choose gentler products, moisturize frequently, and skip the rough stuff. Your skin can handle the rest.