What is the skin barrier and how does it work?

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Your skin barrier is key to a healthy-looking complexion. Here’s how to protect it

By Aveeno

Date April 18, 2022

The skin barrier is trending. It’s a hashtag with hundreds of millions of views on TikTok—and it’s about time. The skin’s natural armour is an amazing thing. It protects you from pollution, infection and the elements, helping you feel hydrated and healthy. Plus, a glowing complexion is a happy side effect of a well-maintained skin barrier. Here’s how your skin’s natural layer of protection works, along with two simple steps you can take every day to nourish it.

What exactly is the skin barrier?

The skin has several layers which all work to protect our bodies. Think of the top layer—the skin barrier or the stratum corneum—as a kind of brick wall: it’s made up of skin cells held together by lipids that contain ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids.

What does the skin barrier do?

Our skin’s natural barrier has a few different roles, but essentially, it protects us from environmental toxins and helps our bodies maintain hydration. Without it, our skin and bodies would lose water, and we’d end up dehydrated.

When it comes to protecting the skin barrier, some things—like mother nature—are out of our control. Environmental factors, including dry air and allergens, can mess with skin’s function, as can pollutants. Certain genetic factors can make you more susceptible to skin conditions like psoriasis. But there are some things we can avoid, like unprotected sun exposure, over-exfoliating or using harsh skincare products, which can also wreak havoc on the barrier.

If your skin barrier isn’t doing its job, you might start to notice signs on your face. Look out for inflammation, acne, itchiness, rough patches and/or dry skin.

How can you protect and replenish your skin barrier?

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a complicated 10-step routine to keep your skin’s natural barrier functioning well. (In fact, a regimen that uses lots of products can actually weaken the skin barrier.) All you need is a gentle cleanser and a hydrating cream with soothing ingredients that support your skin’s moisture barrier.

One of the best ingredients to add to your daily routine is prebiotic oat. It works to nourish the skin barrier with a moisturizing layer of protection, relieving itchiness and reducing inflammation. Prebiotic oat also balances the skin’s pH and supports its natural ecosystem for healthier-looking skin.

Formulated with the same trusted prebiotic oat used in the beloved bestselling Daily Moisturizing Lotion, which is known for its ability to nourish and hydrate dry skin all over the body for a full 24 hours, the new Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Face Cream is made to help take care of your skin’s complexion. Aveeno’s prebiotic oat is the perfect solution for dry skin and the new Daily Moisturizing Cream is designed specifically for the face, with a lightweight, non-greasy feel. It protects the skin barrier and is deeply hydrating, without parabens, fragrances or dyes. (Bonus: it’s super affordable, too).

A two-step skincare routine is all you need to nourish and protect your skin barrier. Start with the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Facial Cleanser to wash away dirt, oil and other impurities. Follow with Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Face Cream, which also contains glycerin to help the skin attract moisture, and enjoy 24 hours of hydration.

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