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Clear Skin: Protect and Nurture


Do facial products make the skin sting or feel tight and awkward? Does your skin, no matter what you do, appear red and irritated, or rough and flaky? Are you struggling with acne, perioral dermatitis, eczema, or rosacea with frequent breakouts?

These are all signs of a damaged skin barrier.

The skin is the outside world's gatekeeper to the body and is one of the only organs that can regenerate themselves. The skin craves homeostasis, and a healthy skin barrier will repair and stabilize itself when supported correctly, making you less susceptible to inflammation and breakouts in the first place.

Why is the role of the barrier so important? The reply comes down to hydration. Water is contained in the skin while the membrane is intact, which is essential for enzymatic reactions and also to keep the skin healthy.

A strong barrier prevents entry into the skin of bacteria, viruses, and other possible pollutants that cause an inflammatory response. It will concentrate on healing and regeneration when the skin is not concerned with combating invaders.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/clear-skin-protect-and-nurture/ by Rian Mcconnell on 2022-06-27T06:05:27.429Z

Wet ‘N’ Mild

Practices in skincare can literally make or break the skin barrier. The barrier is already more vulnerable to more sensitization and inflammation if you are dealing with some skin disorder.

The trick to healthy skin is to concentrate on first fixing the membrane and then cleaning up symptoms such as acne, eczema, or perioral dermatitis.

The overuse of harsh products to treat acne and other unwanted breakouts is a significant mistake in chronic skin conditions. Usually, these items are targeted at eliminating the skin layer and drying out the skin.

Remember, instead, the pH levels of the items you use. The acid mantle, a very fine, slightly acidic, protective layer of sebum and sweat that defends against toxins, bacteria, and even viruses, protects the skin.

The acid mantle is very fragile and this delicate shield can be weakened by even the slightest change in pH. Look for a cleanser that closely mimics the natural pH of the skin to better support your acid mantle (which is slightly acidic, averaging somewhere around 4.7). Sometimes known as "low pH," these cleaners can ensure that the acid mantle of your skin can do its job.

A good hydration ritual, combined with the selection of a low pH cleanser, will help the skin barrier and decrease the inflammatory response within the skin. You may have the best moisturizer that money can buy, but if the skin isn't hydrated, it won't help.

Water is constantly evaporating from the surface of your skin, which is known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and we need to make sure we drink plenty of water every day because of this. Furthermore, before moisturizing, applying water to the skin, using a facial mist, or even just filtered water patted on the skin will help ensure that your skin stays nice and hydrated.

Skin Barrier Explained

For our wellbeing, the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum or epidermis, is important. But it's more than just a protective lining: it's part of a complex mechanism that works with our cells to help keep our skin continuously healthy and in homeostasis.

It protects us from environmental toxins, UV, etc. Our epidermis helps avoid the loss of water, combat pathogens, and create an optimal acidic environment for the microbiome of our skin.

Does My Barrier Need Repair?

Although dry, rough, flaky skin or repeated breakouts of acne, perioral dermatitis, eczema, or rosacea can seem obvious signs that something is wrong, other behaviors and conditions may also indicate that urgent attention is required to your skin barrier!

Since cleansing, the skin feels tight and irritated.

  • Products can sting or burn your skin.
  • To tackle breakouts, using harsh items.
  • Take long, warm showers or wash your face with hot water.
  • Or abrasive scrubs or towels, exfoliating
  • Using the oil cleansing process daily

A Word On Oil Cleansing

While many individuals swear by the method of oil-cleansing, for others it may do more harm than good. The idea behind oil cleansing is simple: because cleansing oil dissolves excess oil in your pores, as it dissolves like and the follow-up hot compress will whisk it all away.

But this procedure could be too intense if your skin is already sensitized: the hot compress can dry out and further weaken your skin barrier, while the oils may clog and establish a feeding ground for fungal acne and cause the skin to build up bacteria and dead skin cells.

Skin Winners

Look no further than these hydrating, gentle superheroes when considering which ingredients help the skin barrier best.

Hyaluronic Acid

It is a water-loving ingredient that helps to attract moisture and lock it in, making it a perfect hydrator for the skin. It forms a protective layer on the skin, increases elasticity, helps maintain collagen in the skin, and holds water on the skin's surface. Using in the morning and evening, under a moisturizer.


It is an acne-safe oil that is a natural component of sebum, a hydrogenated form of squalene, making it a particularly beneficial ingredient. A common emollient, it seals in moisture and helps protect the skin barrier in many moisturizers. Squalane should be added at the end of your morning and evening routines.


A good trick is to think "thinnest to thickest" when layering products. Begin with your mists, light serums, and oils, and end with your gels, heavier oils, creams, and lotions.

Zinc Oxide

It is found alongside titanium dioxide in most mineral-based sunscreens. It functions well for sensitized skin types or anyone dealing with a weakened skin barrier, an earth mineral that provides UVA and UVB protection. It will concentrate its energy on healing and repair when the skin is shielded from sun exposure. The SPF, don't miss!

Skin For Life

Looking at the skin from a holistic perspective is key to its lifelong wellbeing, and it can make all the difference to your skin by making a few easy lifestyle changes!


With the drying air of cooler weather, to stay healthy, the skin barrier must function overtime. Getting quality sleep is critical as the skin goes into a state of repair and regeneration during the sleep cycle. Some study has shown that at night, cell proliferation is thirty times higher than during the day!


It will help combat dry air by placing a humidifier next to your bed, particularly if you struggle with dry, rough, or flaky skin. Using hyaluronic acid in combination to achieve the possible moisture!

Gut Health

The primary interfaces with the external world are the gut and skin. The maintenance of a healthy gut leads to skin allostasis and also reduces TEWL by restoring healthy skin post-irritation and breakout or flare-up.

You can all get on track by exercising in a way your body enjoys, minimizing and controlling stress, and consuming a whole diet of foods. It's important to work with a healthcare provider to help resolve your unique issues while discussing gut health.

Everyone's skin responds differently, and it doesn't necessarily mean that it will work for you only because a product or ingredient works for one person.

Be a skin expert of your own and pay attention to how your skin reacts to the products you use, especially if you find that it does not give you the results you expected. Note that when you care about yourself first, perfect, clear skin will happen!

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About The Authors

Rian Mcconnell

Rian Mcconnell - Rian is a Villanova University graduate who was born in DuBois, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia with a medical degree. His residency was at Thomas Jefferson and its associated Wills Eye Hospital, and he finished his education with fellowships in cataract and corneal surgery at the University of Connecticut. He has a vast experience in ophthalmic surgery, with a focus on cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, and laser refractive procedures. He serves on the board of Vision Health International, an agency that provides eye care and surgery to indigent patients in Central and South America, in addition to his surgical practice.

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