top of page

How to Heal a Compromised Skin Barrier

3 simple steps to healthier skin

Our body speaks to us in various ways, and sometimes it screams. The truth is, many factors impact the health of our skin and it can sometimes be a challenge to discern what is happening and what steps to take next. The foundation of beautiful skin begins with a healthy skin barrier. Let's start with understanding what your skin barrier is and what it needs to thrive.

Your skin barrier is your bodies first layer of protection against the elements. It is also known as the epidermis, the outermost layer. A healthy barrier will keep nutrients and hydration on the inside while resisting pollutants, bacteria and irritants coming in from the outside. When your skin's barrier is healthy your skin will be resilient, glowy and age gracefully. It will respond well to most products and you will be able to develop a progressive beauty routine.

When your skin barrier is compromised, you may suffer from unpredictable reactions and may find your skin challenging to manage. Common symptoms are inflammation, excessive dryness, itchiness, extreme sensitivity to products, scaling, rough patches and acne. These are obviously not ideal and can lead to early signs of aging, if left untreated.

The skin barrier is influenced by both internal and external factors and if it is impaired, damage can usually be reversed with dedicated care. It usually takes about 2-6 weeks to rebalance a compromised barrier.

Many people mistake having a damaged barrier with having sensitive skin, but they are different! Sensitive skin is a skin type and not a damaged barrier.

Path to Repair

Step 1: Hydrate

First and foremost, if you notice signs of imbalance stop everything and hydrate internally and topically ASAP. The skin needs water for cellular healing. One of the primary functions of the barrier is keeping the body and skin hydrated. Transepidermal Water Loss (TWL) is a term used when water evaporates from the skin's surface. When it loses water, dehydration and irritations from products and environment are more likely to occur. This can happen 24 hours a day. That is why it is important to have a layer of moisturizer in both your morning and evening routine.

One of the main functions of a moisturizer is to add an extra layer of protection against evaporation. Moisturizers that include ceramides, humectants or nourishing oils can help seal hydration back into the skin so repairing can take place. This step is essential for all skin types, including oily skin. Don't forgo the moisturizer if you have oily skin, you just need a lightweight version.

Tip: For a boost of hydration try layering a hydrosol, humectant and oil combo. This allows your skin to absorb as much moisture as possible while sealing in the goods.


Step 2: Evaluate your routine

Hydration is your first priority if you feel your barrier needs healing. Otherwise, take a pause to simply observe. Barrier disruptions can be caused by several factors including over use of products, particularly harsh scrubs and over exfoliation with acids. Cutting out exfoliating altogether is a good idea for skin in need of TLC. A simple goat milk yogurt and honey mask can be a soothing treat. Going back to the basics can help you eliminate possible aggressors and get your skin healthy again. Then you can slowly incorporate new practices and have a sense to what may be triggering your skin to react.

Step 3: Beauty from the inside out

It can be easy to focus on topical products alone when dealing with our skin, but that is far from the only influence. Keep in mind, your entire lifestyle affects the aging process of your skin. A major culprit to a damaged barrier is stress, so if you ever wanted an excuse to take a break and try that new yoga class, here you go! Incorporating a variety of stress reducing practices will support your skin to heal and slow aging from the inside.

The skin and gut are intimately related. Digestion and diet play a role in how your skin looks and feels. A diet rich in skin-loving alkaline foods will provide a neutralizing environment for your body to fight off inflammation find balance. Heal your skin on a cellular level from the inside out by increasing dark leafy greens and vital nutrients. Your skin loves oils and fats which will nourish a radiant glow.

Our job is to create a healing environment for the skin to do its job. Repair, protect, repeat.

Your skin barrier function is number one when it comes to healthy skin. If you need to get back on track in your beauty routine, starting with these simple adjustments may help to reset the skin's balance.

Reach out for an in-person treatment and customized support by clicking the button below.


Hello, my name is Summer, a licensed Esthetician from San Rafael, California. I specialize in corrective facials combined with deep restorative healing. I am obsessed with bringing joy to my clients with results that they see and feel.


45 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page