How To Repair Your Skin's Lipid Barrier

What are Lipids?

Lipids are the good skin fats under our epidermal (top) layer that holds everything together. Although skin lipids are naturally occurring and produced by our own bodies, we can help support and maintain them from the outside.

Lipids are essential in our skin’s health and the function of our skin barrier, which supports the skin’s elasticity, firmness, texture, and hydration retention. They maintain the skin’s protective barrier, help with the natural repair process, minimize transepidermal water loss, and keep out toxins and impurities. 

Factors that can affect your skin’s lipid barrier

Aging

As we age, sebum production drastically reduces - causing fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturizing the skin is more important as skin cells have less lipids, ceramides and peptides to support them. 


Dehydrated Skin

This happens when your skin lacks water, which can feel flaky, dry and irritated, and can result in fine lines and webbing. Dehydration can be treated by adding water and/or lipid (oil) based products.

 


Lifestyle

Poor diet, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and stress can all have an effect on the ability of your skin’s lipid barrier to repair itself.

Environmental

Temperatures that are too humid or too dry, pollution, and excessive sun exposure. Both UVA and UVB rays can be seriously damaging to your lipid barrier. 


Over-cleaning/over-exfoliation

Use of harsh or abrasive products/ingredients can strip the skin lipid or moisture barrier

 

How to repair and nurture your skin lipid barrier

Avoid products that strip your skin’s natural oils: 

Harsh cleansers that make your skin feel dry and tight may be weakening or damaging your lipid barrier - instead, use gentler options that leave your skin feeling soft and nourished.

 

Avoid over-exfoliation:

If you are already dealing with a damaged lipid barrier, it’s important to exfoliate sparingly, as daily exfoliation can be damaging and leave your skin red, flaky, and dry. Another option is to completely cut off exfoliating ingredients to give your time to recover from over-exfoliation, and then slowly introduce again.

If you are new to using chemical exfoliants (such as AHA/BHA), a general rule of thumb is to start introducing the ingredient slowly so that your skin has time to get used to it. 

Avoid and protect skin from environmental damage:

Always use barrier repairing ingredients to protect your skin against extreme temperatures. For example, if the climate you’re living in is very cold and dry - use a heavier moisturizer (with a higher lipid content) instead of a lightweight gel moisturizer.

Always wear and reapply sunscreen (yes, even on cloudy days!)

Improve lifestyle and diet:

Topical skin care can only do so much - you also have to support your lipid barrier from a holistic perspective! You can do this by keeping hydrated and making sure your diet is balanced and healthy - such as foods rich in essential fatty acids support your lipid barrier.

 

Use lipid supporting and moisture barrier repair skin care

skoah moisturizers contain highly refined vegetable based oils such as olive oil and shea butter, or high quality water based ingredients such as sea kelp algae, plant extracts, hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans

Moisturizers are either water or lipid (oil) based or a combination of both. You may prefer to have a lightweight day time moisturizer with a matte finish, but have a more normal to dry skin type. This means it’s important to then use a heavier moisturizer at night to compensate. Every person’s balance is different, just keep tweaking their routine until you find the perfect fit!