LLet’s be honest despite it protecting your entire body 24/7, unless a MAJOR breakout situation occurs you probably don’t spend every minute of every day thinking about your skin. Your skin barrier, which is made up of the outermost layers of the epidermis (our protection from the outside world), essentially acts as a giant security guard. It controls what comes in, keeps nasties out and protects what’s already inside. So really, you can thank your skin barrier for all of your good skin days (and blame it for any sudden freak-outs!). Now we know what you’re thinking, what (on earth) does your skin barrier have to do with sensitive skin?! Your skin barrier can either be healthy, think hydrated and smooth, or unhealthy, showing dry patches, redness or flaking, textured, or even discoloured... Sound familiar?! All too often, people assume they have sensitive skin when, in reality they’re dealing with a damaged skin barrier. Worse yet, it doesn’t take very much for it to become compromised.
What causes the skin to become distressed?
To keep it short and sweet, when the skin barrier is compromised the skin is left vulnerable and can’t provide the protection it should. If you’re experiencing a breakdown in your skin’s barrier, the products you apply becomes more crucial than EVER and is most often caused by falling down the rabbit hole of ‘overtreating’ the skin. If you’ve made the common mistake of simply thinking ‘more is more’ then SPOILER: it’s not! You can end up causing damage in some seriously simple ways like overusing harsh ingredients (retinol & acids, we’re looking at you), chemical exfoliants, being over enthusiastic with a mechanic cleansing brush, and not wearing SPF. It’s the classic vicious circle. You have unwanted texture therefore, you over exfoliate (either physically or with acids) to get rid of it but cause more damage and in turn more textural problems. When the skin barrier is compromised it’s crucial to remember it won’t respond as it ‘should’ to products it’s exposed to.
So, what's best to do?
It can be tempting when faced with a damaged skin barrier to go in all guns blazing with new products but we’re here to tell you to chill, take a step back and really focus on treating the skin NOT the symptoms.
Step 01 - Out with the old (& harsh): Yes, you read right – it’s time for a BIG clear out *sob*. First in the firing line are your cleansers. Anything that leaves your skin feeling tight goes to cleanser heaven (or to a friend). Next up are exfoliating acids (AHAs), because as we’ve covered already – they’re NOT doing you any favours right now. Finally, eliminate anything that contains fragrance and unfortunately, that’s generally LOTS of them. Why? If fragrance was at the Oscars, it might well win the ‘Allergen of the Year’ award. It can be an irritant and cause negative reactions on the skin which is not what we need when trying to soothe and repair. The great news is that every PLANT DPT. product is fragrance free, so ditch it with confidence, it might be the best thing you ever do!
Step 02 - In with the new (& natural): Products to welcome lovingly back into your edited routine need to have the sole purpose of replenishing and strengthening the skin. Skin barrier nourishing ingredients to look out for are antioxidants (like Kakadu Plum Extract & Cacay), squalane, sucra gel bases and essential vitamins like B3, B5 & A (in weaker strengths). Helpfully, you’ll find all these and more in our formula at PLANT DPT. we understand the structure of the skin and the essential natural vitamins and minerals needed for tip top skin health products (see what we did there 😉). The struggle is over! This means you no longer have to choose between natural ingredients and the results you crave. Plucked from the earth. Grounded in science.
Step 03 - Keep going & stay strong: Finally, some bad news. It can take weeks or even months for the skin barrier to fully repair, depending on the length of time it’s been put under strain for BUT don’t lose hope. Don’t slip back into old habits and simply (try to) trust in the process. Making sure to use cleansers that don’t strip the skin (taking away both excess and essential oils), protecting the skin with naturally nourishing antioxidants and applying daily SPF will help prevent free radical damage and get you on your way to a happier skin barrier. Remember, less is more, find the right products and keep it simple!
Our products speak for themselves. Lend us your ears (and the rest of your skin) to find out how at https://www.plantdpt.com. Until next time.