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What is the Skin Barrier? | ellé derm

The skin barrier (stratus corneum) plays an important role in protecting our body, prevents pathogens from entering and keeps our skin moisturised. The lipids within the skin barrier also plays an important role in transporting ingredients and nutrients.

The skin barrier is made up of many layers of dead skin cells. For this reason, it takes time to treat hyperpigmentation or melasma because each layer that is affected need to be treated and removed.

When the skin barrier is healthy, it will retain water more readily, the skin looks moisturised and is less prone to irritation. 

Signs of compromised skin barrier:

• Inflammation
• Allergic skin reactions
• Itching
• Sudden dryness, flaky skin
• Sudden onset of a rash


What causes skin barrier dysfunction?

Similar to ageing, both internal and external stressors can influence the health of the skin barrier. The most significant factors that can impair barrier function are sun exposure, smoking, and damage due to excess exfoliation. Stress and limited sleep can also have a negative effect on the skin barrier by not allowing the skin to repair itself. 


Skincare ingredients that can help to keep the skin barrier healthy

Keeping your skin barrier healthy does not have to involve a laborious skincare routine as long as we stick to ingredients that supports skin health. 

  • Avoid using soap and opt for soap free wash
  • Soothing ingredients such as Centella Asiatica
  • Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E, CoQ10, Ferulic Acid
  • Prebiotics and Probiotics in skincare can help balance the skin microbiome and therefore strengthen the skin barrier
  • Moisturising Ingredients such as glycerin and squalane 



Author: Helen Lam (B. Pharm) MPS

Pharmacist and cosmetic formulator for ellé derm




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