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Supporting a healthy skin barrier

28.09.2021 | Skincare

When discussing the skin barrier, we are referring to the outermost layer of the skin known as the epidermis. This is the top layer of skin that sits on top of the dermis - a thick middle layer containing connective tissues, sweat glands and hair follicles and the subcutaneous layer which is made of fats and connective tissue. 

As the skin is here to fundamentally defend the body and our insides from external impactors, such as free radicals and environmental stressors like pollution, which can cause damage. We can think of the epidermis a bit like a suit of armour and the first point of protection.


The epidermis is made up of four or five layers of cells called corneocytes which are bound together by ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids (lipids) to create a strong and defensive outer layer. Of these layers, the stratum corneum is the outermost layer and what is mostly regarded as the skin barrier due to its barrier or wall-like structure of cells. 

It is responsible for protecting against pollution, UV rays, substances that may cause irritation or damage whilst also regulating and maintaining the water levels of the skin. 

The health of the skin barrier can directly correlate with how healthy your skin looks overall. When in good shape, your skin appears hydrated, plump and bright. If compromised, it can look dull, uneven, translucent and sagging with more visible lines and wrinkles.


The most prominent affecting factors to the skin barrier would include UV exposure, dry/cold/hot climates, lifestyle influences such as smoking and diet, chemicals and products, genetics, age, hot water, over exfoliation, injury, stress and sleep deprivation. So, there’s a lot to keep in mind to protect the barrier! One of the most effective ways to build resilience is through a considered skincare routine incorporating antioxidants, ceramides and peptides.  


If your barrier has been damaged, it can demonstrate symptoms such as dryness, flakiness, inflammation and itchiness. If not responded to, this can then result in increased irritation and sensitivity plus longer term damage. When the skin barrier has been compromised it’s important to get into protect and repair mode and give some time and action to help it rebuild so as not to cause further or longer term damage. Removing harsh actives and exfoliants such as AHAs, BHAs and Retinols from your routine and keeping your routine simple is a good starting point. Continue to monitor your symptoms and, when improved, begin to gradually adjust your routine. 


To help protect and support the skin barrier there are a number of key ingredients to build into your routine. From antioxidants and hydrators to ceramides and peptides:    

Q10 Serum

This antioxidant works to protect your skin, hydrate it and target signs of ageing. Working in the upper layers of the skin, Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from environmental stress. With an added Syn®-Tacks dual peptide and Squalane, this light, hydrating serum also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This easily absorbed super serum works across multiple layers of the skin, hydrating your skin, helping it appear plump and smooth, while reducing the appearance of fine lines.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a powerful moisture-binding ingredient that works beneath the skin surface and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water. ​ Ensuring your skin is hydrated is essential for it to look healthy, therefore it's a must have step in every recipe! No wonder one is sold every 30 seconds worldwide.

Ceramide Night Treatment

This 3% blend of Ceramides works overnight at various levels of the skin to target dehydrated skin and help it appear plumper by morning.

Naturally found in the skin, Ceramide is the glue that binds skin cells together, helping the skin’s barrier feel rehydrated, supple and protected. This nourishing cream treatment is also formulated with a 2.5% multi-molecular Hyaluronic Acid, giving an all over surge of skin plumping hydration.

Niacinamide Serum

A lightweight, power-packed serum containing 10% Niacinamide that can be easily layered into your skincare routine. This naturally occurring B3 vitamin helps to effectively reduce excess oil, blemishes and redness. Its thin consistency is formulated with 1% Hyaluronic Acid for added hydration and effective delivery. 

Madecassoside Mask 

An efficacious and vibrant face mask to provide instant relief to overworked skin in need of some TLC whilst helping to improve skin barrier ongoing as a leave on treatment!

The lead ingredient, Madecassoside 0.5%, a component found within Centella Asiatica, helps to reduce inflammation, reduce redness and itching.

The formula has an instant and lasting cooling effect - perfect for overworked skin! Key ingredient Poly Fructol Plus (1%) helps to provide instant and long-lasting hydration and prevents moisture loss within the epidermis. 

Peptide Moisturizer 

A nurturing yet fast-absorbing daily moisturizer with a dual peptide formula, aiming to reduce the appearance of fine line & wrinkles and balance skin's natural oil levels. With continued use, helps to support natural collagen and hydrate skin, leaving skin looking youthful.  


  • UV can be a huge culprit in compromising the skin barrier so building an SPF into your daily routine is critical 
  • Be conscious of your routine - over exfoliation and too many products can cause long-term damage to your skin barrier. For example, layering too many AHAs and BHAs can have an adverse affect on the skin and end up needing longer, more targeted attention. Build your routine up gradually to allow the skin to build up resilience to stronger products. 
  • Seek out ceramides to support the lipid layer which binds the cells of the barrier together and help reduce redness, itchiness and dryness. 
  • Cleanse - keeping dirt and impurities away from the skin reduces risk of breakouts and infections which can put stress on the skin at every layer.  
  • Be gentle with the skin, especially if you’re concerned it may already be damaged or sensitized. Avoid rubbing, scratching or using harsh products including scrubs. 
  • Diet and hydration - factoring healthy fats and fish oils into your diet and drink plenty of water to support the skin in remaining hydrated and moisturized from the inside out. 


Contact the team at askINKEY to build a recipe to support your skin barrier or answer any questions or queries. 

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Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available 24/7 on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.