Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
The skin is more than our body’s largest organ. “It also plays an important role as a barrier to UV exposure, physical trauma, and infection, and it also regulates temperature and water loss,” explains Miami dermatologist Christopher O’Connell, MD. Symptoms of a compromised skin barrier include stinging, burning, redness, peeling and inflammation, and if left untreated, can progress to fissures, cracks and worse yet, bleeding and infection.
According to Dr. O’Connell, gentle skincare including a mild cream cleanser and moisturizer, as well as avoiding prolonged water exposure and extreme heat or cold are the best ways to soothe sensitivity associated with a weakened skin barrier. Another option is to supplement the skin with the barrier’s natural building blocks, particularly ceramides. “Dry weather, extreme temperatures, and UV exposure can all strip the skin of this essential molecule, leaving the skin dry, brittle and dull,” says Dr. O’Connell. “I stress the importance of this ingredient to all of my patients, especially if they are using products that can irritate the skin, such as retinoids or glycolic acid.”
Dr. O’Connell also recommends niacinamide or vitamin B3, as this ingredient can soothe and restore the skin by boosting production of your skin’s natural ceramides. “When combined with topical ceramide products, this provides a great boost to the skin barrier because you are essentially healing from the inside-out and outside-in,” he explains.
The good news is, there are many ways to give your skin a barrier-boosting fix—and here are our 6 picks.
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules ($78)
This recently revamped formula features higher concentrations of Ceramides and the essential skin lipids (plus anti-aging and hydrating ingredients) that contribute to a strong, healthy skin barrier. The single-dose capsules ensure you use just the right amount to reap maximum reparative benefits along with improvement in the appearance of wrinkles, firmness, skin tone and clarity.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV ($20)
La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane line has been caring for sensitive skin for nearly twenty years, and the latest additions to the range take barrier-repair to the next level thanks to brand-new formulations that feature ceramides, hydrating glycerin, and soothing niacinamide. This gentle moisturizer provides oil-free hydration, broad-spectrum SPF 30, calming and a slew of skin-reinforcing benefits.
Aubio Life Sciences Hydrating Lip Therapy ($10)
Lip skin lacks oil glands, which means this delicate spot needs extra help in the barrier-maintenance department. This super-charged balm is fortified with ceramides, nourishing botanicals and broad-spectrum SPF 30 to keep your pout looking and feeling its best. The non-sticky formula glides on easily, stays put and locks in moisture with a non-waxy finish.
It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact ($38)
It Cosmetics’ “Confidence” skincare products are brimming with ceramides (as well as hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, broad-spectrum SPF 50 and many other good-for-your-skin ingredients), and you can give your skin’s barrier a helping hand and get flawless, natural looking coverage at the same time with this solid serum foundation compact.
Epionce Extreme Barrier Cream ($48)
It’s important to mind your body skin’s barrier as well, and this rich hydrator is designed to moisturize and heal problem spots from the neck down, including knees, elbows, hands and feet. Enriched with hyaluronic acid plus safflower, linseed and rosehip oils that help keep moisture in and smooth flaking and roughness, it’s just what you need to renew and rejuvenate your skin before baring all this summer.
EpiCeram (Available by prescription)
When other at-home remedies don’t relieve dry, irritated, sensitive skin, it’s time to schedule a visit with your dermatologist to ask about prescription options to help restore your skin’s barrier and promote healing. Tried and true EpiCeram is formulated with ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids in the same ratio found naturally in the skin to help soothe dryness, burning and itching, while preventing allergens and irritants from entering the skin. Get a money-saving coupon at Epiceram-US.com
NOTE: Aubio and It Cosmetics products were provided for review. Opinions are my own.