Damaged skin barrier? How to Repair & Protect it?
The damaged skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin that serves as a protective shield for your face. Basically, the entire purpose of your skin barrier is to protect your skin from environmental stressors, irritation, and inflammation, while holding onto all the good stuff (like moisture, moisture, and more moisture).
Technically, your damaged skin barrier is called the stratum corneum, which is the most superficial layer of your epidermis—think the top bun on your hamburger. The stratum corneum (skin barrier) is filled with a whole system of cells and lipids that form a barrier to keep your skin healthy, says Dr. Stern, who likens it to a brick wall.
“The cells, aka corneocytes, are the bricks in your skin barrier, while the mortar is made of various lipids, like cholesterol and ceramides,”
she explains. And each piece is vital in keeping the ecosystem of your face happy.
Table of Content
Best skincare routines
Damaged skin barrier symptoms
Damaged skin barrier acne
Best skincare routines
Advice, Business, Consumer The face and the facial skin is the first thing that people see. So when we leave our homes we want to present a clean, clear, beautiful-looking face. The facial skin unlike other areas of skin on our body is always exposed to the environment and therefore is easily damaged through sun exposure, chemicals, toxins, and pollutants. Taking care of our facial skin is very important not only to stay beautiful but also to avoid increased signs of aging, blemishes, or acne. Although most skin care products and advertisements are directed at women, men should also have a daily facial skincare routine as well. Men’s facial skin is just as likely as women’s to become damaged, dirty, or acne ridden, therefore making sure you properly hydrate and clean your facial skin is necessary to avoid damaged skin barrier.
Most people have been using the same skincare routine since they were young. They found an over-the-counter face wash that has worked for them and they stuck with it. However, as we age our skin changes, and you may need more than just your average face washes to keep up that clear, youthful-looking skin. The best skin care routines involve 4 steps. Diligence and determination are needed to succeed with a great skincare routine. Most people consider just washing or cleansing their face of the daily dirt and grime as their best effort to keep their facial skin in good condition and avoid the damaged skin barrier.
However, it’s the other crucial steps that will keep their skin looking young, vibrant, healthy, and firm. Although all four steps are necessary to keep our facial skin beautiful, 2 out of the four steps are not necessary on a daily basis. The four essential steps to the best skin care routines are cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing. Cleansing and moisturizing the face should be done every day in the morning and before you go to bed. This way the face stays fresh, clean, and hydrated throughout the day as well as the night.
Cleansing is the first step for proper skin care. Most people clean or wash their faces at least one time a day. This step is imperative because it removes dirt, dust, grime, grease, and extra oil from the skin. Wet the face and then use a good facial cleanser on both the face and the neck. Massage the cleanser gently into the skin in an upward motion. Then rinse the face with warm water and a soft washcloth or cotton wool. A water-based cleanser is the best for cleaning the face because you can avoid chemicals that may irritate the skin.
Toning is the second step in a facial skincare routine. Toning is usually used in the form of toner pads or wipes. Facial toners are used to remove any traces of dirt, grease, or excess cleanser that has been left as residue on the face. Using a toner every day is an option and some people may even leave it out completely if they feel their cleanser works well enough. A good rule of thumb is to use a toner in your morning facial routine but leave it out of your nighttime regimen. Exfoliation is a key part of any skincare regimen, however, should not be done on a daily basis. Exfoliation should be done once a week at most to remove dead skin cells from the face and save your skin from the damaged skin barrier.
Although the body naturally sloughs off dead skin cells on its own, exfoliating helps to speed up the process. Dead skin cells can block pores and cause acne so removing these skin cells in a timely manner can reduce the appearance of acne. However, exfoliation can be harmful especially to the facial skin, if done too often. Normal skin cells are replenished every 3-4 weeks; therefore exfoliating new skin cells can damage the appearance of your skin.
Last but most important is moisturizing. Moisturizing the skin is so important because it keeps our skin from drying out; causing wrinkles or cracks and keeps our skin radiant and glowing. Dry skin can be painful, itchy, and unappealing to the eye. Skin cells need water to live; therefore overly dry skin can lead to increased skin cell death. Use a moisturizer specifically for the face to avoid the damaged skin barrier.
Apply your moisturizer when your skin is warm and damp because this is when the pores are open. Leave some moisturizer on the top of the skin to get the full effect on your skin. Moisturize any time the skin feels dry and after both morning and even skin care routines. Make sure your moisturizer doesn’t have any harmful chemicals, fragrances, or dyes that can irritate the skin. Natural skin care products should be used for all skin care needs.
Natural products avoid harsh chemicals and dyes that can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. Always use products based on your own skin type. Test products on your forearm, earlobe, or neck before you buy them. This way you can know if it will cause any irritation. Always remember to remove all makeup before starting your skincare routine. Don’t just wash away makeup; use proper makeup removers to completely clean the face of makeup residue. Remember to apply sunscreen if there is a possibility you will be out in the sun.
Damaged skin barrier symptoms
Skin is the body’s largest organ and protects the body’s internal organs and structures against outside elements. The skin acts as a barrier between the environment and the body and keeps harmful substances away from underlying tissues. A damaged skin barrier can lead to severe allergic reactions, infections, burns, and more. A damaged skin barrier can also lead to unhealthy conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Therefore, it’s important to take good care of your skin.
Harsh cleaning products, pollution, humidity, stress, and inadequate skin care can damage your skin barrier function. These factors disrupt the natural oils secreted by the skin that acts as a natural moisturizer for the skin. Maintaining moisture balance in your skin keeps it hydrated and less susceptible to damage. An unbalanced dry skin condition can also lead to increased scaling and redness due to damaged epidermal cells. Inadequate moisturizing also leads to premature aging of the skin due to excessive dryness or excessive oil production, which causes further damage to your skin barrier function.
Regular moisturizing helps prevent damage to your Damaged skin barrier function by maintaining hydration in your skin. You should also avoid harsh cleansers that strip your skin of its natural oils- this will only make it more susceptible to damage. Instead, choose gentle cleansers that don’t irritate your skin. You can also massage a small amount of natural oil into your skin after showering for an extra dose of moisture. Massaging organic grapeseed oil into your scalp helps promote healthy hair growth while promoting healthy skin on your scalp as well.
Many skincare products contain ingredients that promote wound healing and repair damaged epidermal tissue. Some examples include coconut oil, aloe vera, honey, turmeric, and anti-oxidants like green tea extract and vitamin C. These ingredients help promote healing by neutralizing free radicals in your body while promoting healthy cell growth. Vitamin E in particular has powerful antioxidant properties that promote healthy cell function among many other effects. Therefore, you should use these products after damaging your skin to promote recovery.
Harsh cleaning products, pollution, humidity, and inadequate skin care can interfere with the natural functions of your skin barrier system. Regular moisturizing prevents excessive dryness that damages elastin proteins in your dermal layer and promotes shiny-looking hair and healthy nails as well as healthy-looking skin. A damaged skin barrier leads to poor conditions such as eczema or psoriasis; therefore, it’s important to take good care of your skin with proper treatments and timely hygiene when necessary.
Damaged skin barrier acne
How to Combat Skin Discoloration and Acne Marks?
Acne can be quite frustrating, and sometimes painful to deal with. Once the pimples have disappeared, the process is still not over. The zits can leave dark spots behind which can take between several months and a few years to disappear. If the marks are very deep, they can sometimes be permanent. Some people suffer from skin discoloration which can be caused due to other reasons like excessive sun exposure and even hormonal imbalances.
Even if these spots are permanent, they can take a long time to heal, which can be frustrating. The good news is that there are several remedies that you can follow to combat skin discoloration and acne marks. The most common and promising one is the dark spots corrector for hyperpigmentation that is available in-store and online.DARK SPOT CORRECTOR FOR HYPERPIGMENTATION
Dark spot correctors come in many different forms, the most common ones being face serums and moisturizers. They come with special ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide, and retinol which can be effective in getting rid of dark spots and giving you a clear complexion. The important thing to remember with hyperpigmentation is that no matter what its cause, it takes time to heal. The trick is to be patient and keep on using the product even if the first few uses do not yield results.
When choosing a spot corrector, you need to consider your skin type and pick one accordingly. It is a good practice to consult a dermatologist before you apply ingredients like retinol to your skin. There are several correctors available which are suitable for different skin types. If you have extremely sensitive skin, make sure you pick one that is not too harsh and strips your skin of its natural oils. Using a corrector regularly can show results in as little as two weeks, but make sure you are not overdoing it. Sometimes, applying too much or too frequently can damage your skin barrier. HOME REMEDIES
If you want to try natural ingredients, there are several things you can try. Home remedies are most effective for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The best part about using natural ingredients is that there is very little chance that your skin will react badly to them. Aloe vera is a popular ingredient that is known to reduce dark spots caused by acne. You can rub it on your face directly or even blend it with lemon juice and then apply it to your face. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, which can help brighten and even out your skin tone.
You can make a face mask at home using turmeric, lemon juice, honey, and yogurt and apply it to your face weekly. The grape seed extract is another natural product that can reduce the appearance of dark spots. It is recommended to take it orally rather than applying it topically to your skin. Also, it is absolutely necessary to use sun protection when you leave the house, even if it isn’t sunny outside. Doing so will help protect your skin from further damage. PROFESSIONAL TREATMENTS
If you have tried different products and home remedies and nothing seems to work for you, you may need to get a professional treatment done by your dermatologist. Keep in mind that these can be expensive and will most often not be covered by health insurance. One of these methods is chemical peeling, in which a strong solution of acids is applied directly onto your skin. Once this solution dries, it is peeled off, removing dead skin cells and revealing younger-looking skin. Some dermatologists use different types of lasers to break up scar tissue and remove hyperpigmentation caused by acne. These are the only methods that can provide almost instant results, but they do not come without risks.
what destroys the skin barrier?
Sadly, your skin barrier is way more fragile than a brick wall, and can easily be “destroyed” by environmental factors (sun exposure, pollution, smoking, extreme weather variations), physical damage (over-exfoliating your face or using harsh/irritating products), certain medical conditions (like diabetes), and genetics. Even your age can affect your barrier: “Ceramide levels decrease significantly as we age,” says Dr. Stern, “so our skin’s ability to hold onto moisture eventually becomes compromised too.”
Obviously, some of these factors are out of your control (see: aging, pollution, desert heat, and freezing winters), but generally, the most severe damage will come from using too-harsh products, like gritty exfoliators, intense acids, and drying sulfates. “When your skin barrier doesn’t have an effective balance of fats, the moisture and hydration that makes your skin look supple, full, and plump will not be maintained,” says Dr. Stern.
How do you know if your skin barrier is damaged?
If your skin barrier is damaged, your skin might be dry, flakey, sensitive, irritated, tingly, burning, and/or itchy. You may also be dealing with rashes and inflammation since a damaged skin barrier increases your risk of infections and dermatitis, says Dr. Bhanusali, as well as flare-ups of rosacea, eczema, and keratosis pilaris. Another tell-tale sign? “When you use a moisturizer on your skin that you typically tolerate, but it starts to irritate or burn on application,” says Dr. Tomassian.
Does your skin barrier heal itself?
A damaged skin barrier can usually heal itself within two weeks, depending on the damage, but only if you stop all exfoliators (even acids and retinoids) and switch to gentle, soothing products instead, says Dr. Tomassian. If you keep up the same routine that led to a damaged barrier in the first place, you’re not going to see results (sry). But with time and a simpler routine, your skin barrier will begin to function like normal again, fending off irritants and potential stressors to keep your skin moisturized and healthy.
Should I exfoliate if my skin barrier is damaged?
You should avoid exfoliating with chemical and physical exfoliants (including retinol, AHAs and BHAs, and vitamin C) for two to three weeks once you notice that your skin barrier is damaged, says Dr. Tomassian. After the inflammation, flakes, and irritation have subsided for at least one full week, you can add back one gentle chemical exfoliant (like polyhydroxy acids, PHAs, the mildest of acids) one day a week for another two or three weeks.
How do you get a healthy skin barrier?
The key to a healthy skin barrier is healing it with a simple skincare routine and loading up on rich moisturizers. Stick to a bland and hydrating routine for at least two to three weeks before adding exfoliation back in once or twice a week (in general, even with a healthy skin barrier, you should only use exfoliants three times a week max).
Your skincare routine should include a gentle face wash in the morning and night, followed by a hydrating face serum, and then—most importantly—a rich, barrier-repair cream. If your skin feels tight and dry, you can layer on an occlusive ointment (hi, slugging!) at the end to seal all that hydration and water into your skin.
Ideally, your skincare routine should be filled with products that contain barrier-repairing ceramides and humectants, says Dr. Stern, adding that topical ceramides mimic your skin’s moisturizing functions to hold onto hydration, while humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin) “pull water molecules from the dermis toward the epidermis to keep your skin moisturized.”
You should also prioritize ingredients already found in your skin, like squalane and urea, or ingredients that mimic those lipids, like jojoba oil. And, as always, try to avoid products filled with fragrance, essential oils, and sulfates, says Dr. Stern, which can irritate your skin and break down your skin barrier over time.
Of course, even the best, most hydrating routine can’t magically fix all skin-barrier issues, especially if you’re dealing with cystic acne, rosacea, or eczema. This means your best—and quickest—course of action will be to see a dermatologist who can customize your routine and prescribe topical medications to calm flare-ups asap.
Can a skin barrier be permanently damaged?
It’s highly unlikely that you would permanently damage your skin barrier through normal activities and skincare routines alone. However, it is possible for your skin barrier to be predisposed to breaking down based on genetics, age, prolonged stress, and environmental factors. This is why it’s so important to have a moisturizing skincare routine (that consists of a gentle cleanser, a hydrating serum, and a rich moisturizer) to keep your skin barrier healthy and more resistant to damage.
How long does it take to improve your skin barrier?
How long it takes to improve your skin barrier is dependent on your skin type and how damaged your skin barrier is. If you just went overboard with a face peel or a scrub one time? You should be on the mend within two weeks after sticking to a bland routine. But if you’ve spent months accidentally breaking down your skin barrier through harsh products, stress, or environmental factors, you might need to change your routine for one to two months to get your skin back to normal.
If your skin feels dehydrated and inflamed, you might be dealing with a damaged skin barrier. But don’t worry, with a simplified skincare routine (complete with a rich moisturizer) and some time, your skin will be back to normal in a few weeks. But never underestimate the power of your dermatologist when you’re dealing with a compromised skin barrier. Trust: They’ve got your back (and hella moisturizer samples).
Causes of the damaged skin barrier
Your skin is an open book to a professional. If you’re sleeping in your makeup, popping pimples, or not drinking enough water, it’s likely they’ll be able to tell by the state of your skin. What are the habits they wish you’d change? They told us all about it. Stop following crazy TikTok skin trends
“Every day I see patients who have attempted to replicate a skin routine they found through social media,” said dermatologist Hysem Eldik.“It’s tricky to think that one influencer’s routine can work for someone else. Skin is unique, and no two patients are alike.” Plastic surgery nurse Tara Adashev offered a similar warning: “It seems that if it’s on TikTok, and it’s a skincare trend, it’s a ‘must try.’ Some of these trends are horrible for your skin or aren’t individually based.”
And just when professionals think they’ve seen it all, patients start trying even crazier trends. Dermatologist Naana Boakye has recently had patients tell her they’re using deodorant on their faces because they saw it on TikTok. “I shake my head and ask why, since the ingredients could possibly cause irritant-contact dermatitis,” she said. “Just — don’t.”
There are so many dangerous TikTok skincare trends, in fact, that we have an entire story about it. Stop overdoing it with exfoliation
Dermatologist Courtney Rubin knows that some of her patients tend to think: If a little is good, a lot will be better. But this isn’t a smart way to treat your skin. Rubin explained: “Many of my patients over-exfoliate their skin, either with manually abrasive scrubs or brushes or with chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid. Many people incorrectly think that their breakouts and skin issues are due to the skin being ‘dirty,’ but over-exfoliation often makes things worse because it damages the skin barrier.”
What’s the ideal place for exfoliation? “Once or twice a week can help to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin,” Rubin said. “But doing it five to seven times a week can break down the skin barrier, leading to inflammation and redness, burning/stinging, flaking, dryness, and breakouts.”
Similarly, dermatologist Claire Wolinsky, clinical instructor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said she sees many patients overusing products. “Patients often come in with complex skin care regimens, and after reviewing, I find they are using multiple vitamin C products, or a few AHA/BHAs or layering both a retinol and retinoid in the same day,” she said. “Overdoing one ingredient can not only be a waste of money, but it increases the risk of skin irritation.”Start cleaning your phone, pillowcase, and face masks
While some patients are overdoing it with cleansing, others are ignoring the most germ-ridden parts of their life.
Dermatologist Marisa Garshick warned about the dangers of not cleaning your phone or changing your pillowcase or face mask. “They can accumulate oil, bacteria, and residue from skin and hair products, which can all contribute to breakouts or irritation on the skin,” she said. “When patients come in with a rash or breakouts only on one side of the face, it often turns out that’s the side they use to speak on their phone, or that they sleep on. That buildup can have an impact on the skin.”
Another place for greater cleaning vigilance is your makeup brushes, said dermatologist Corey Hartman. “The face is a prime spot for bacteria, and makeup brushes pick up this bacteria on the face during application,” he said. “That bacteria can be left in the brush for weeks, if not months. Every time you put a dirty makeup brush on your skin, you risk adding bacteria to the face that can lead to acne or an infection.”Start taking shorter showers
You might love long, luxurious baths and showers, but your dermatologist knows they’re not necessarily good for your skin. Dermatologist Michael Gold flags this as a concern for his patients with atopic dermatitis.
“Water can cause the skin to be excessively dry,” he said. “I recommend getting in and out of the shower or bath, patting dry, and then applying a dermatologist-recommended moisturizer.”Stop using expired products
Using products past their sell-by date is a no-no, said dermatologist DiAnne Davis.
“The products are no longer effective, and depending on the active ingredient, they could potentially cause irritation to the skin past its shelf life,” she said. “If products don’t have an expiration date, I recommend changing them each season.”Stop sleeping on your side
“Side sleeping is harmful to the skin since it aggravates chest wrinkles and increases sagging on your face and décolleté,” said dermatologist Luigi Polla, founder of Forever Institut and Alchimie Forever. “I can tell how a patient sleeps by looking at their facial wrinkles because they’re deeper on the side that’s slept on.”Stop tanning
Dermatologist Hadley King said it’s surprising when patients think that tanning is fine as long as they’re wearing sunscreen.
“There’s no such thing as a healthy tan,” she said. “It’s a defense mechanism that kicks in when the DNA of your skin cells is getting damaged by UV radiation, which leads to increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.”Stop trying to deal with moles at home
“I’ve had patients come in with spots and scars on their skin after trying at-home remedies to remove moles and other growths,” said dermatologist Brian Hibler. “These treatments typically cause a chemical burn to the skin to remove the growth, and they can result in scarring and infection. In addition, if it were to be skin cancer, the patient may not have removed all of the cancerous cells, and cancer can recur or continue to grow under the skin, with risk of spreading.”Stop skipping sunscreen
“One of the most harmful habits I hear about from my patients is skipping sunscreen when it’s cloudy,” said dermatologist Reid Maclellan, founder and CEO of Cortina and an adjunct faculty member at Harvard Medical School. “Sunscreen should be applied every day, rain or shine because exposing your skin to UV rays can lead to sun damage and skin cancer.”
Dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, the founder of Maei MD, noted another type of sun-protection complacency. “Combination makeup/sunscreen products usually don’t have enough sunscreen,” she said. “In order to get the full SPF effect that’s listed on the label, you’d have to use a much larger amount of product than is typically used for makeup. So it’s best to keep your makeup and sunscreen separate, or to use a tinted sunscreen instead.”
How Does The Sun Cause Skin Cancer?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of natural energy from the sun. Scientists know that prolonged exposure to UV rays increases a person’s risk of getting skin cancer.
Sunlight is essential for human health. When it hits a person’s skin, it triggers a reaction that makes vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and bone growth.
However, UV rays can damage the skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most skin cancers are the result of overexposure to UV rays from the sun, tanning beds, or sun lamps.
This article explains UV radiation and how it can damage the skin. It also highlights steps people can take to reduce their risk and explains what symptoms to look out for.
UV radiation is a type of energy from the sun. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there are three types of UV rays: Ultraviolet A, or UVA: This type makes up most of the UV radiation on Earth. These rays cause skin aging and can damage a person’s eyes. Ultraviolet B, or UVB: These rays cause sunburn and can damage skin cells’ DNA. UVB rays are responsible for most skin cancers. Ultraviolet C, or UVC: The earth’s atmosphere blocks these rays. However, scientists can recreate them. Their uses include UV sanitizing light bulbs and arc welding torches.
Prolonged UV exposure can cause cancer. The damage builds up over time.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), UV rays can damage skin cells’ DNA. Damaged DNA can make cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably, leading to cancer.
Skin cancers start in the top layers of the skin. The names of various types of skin cancer reflect the cells they affect. These include: squamous cell carcinoma basal cell carcinoma melanoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It usually occurs on a person’s arms, head, or neck — parts of the body that many people are exposed to sunlight. However, basal cell carcinoma can form anywhere on the body.
Squamous cell carcinomas also develop on areas of exposed skin. The face, neck, arms, chest, rim of the ear, and back are common sites.
Melanomas begin in cells called melanocytes. When UV rays hit a person’s skin, they stimulate these cells to make melanin. Melanin is the skin’s pigment, and increased amounts darken or tan the skin.
Sunburn is usually the first symptom of UV damage. Even mild sunburn can lead to premature aging and skin cancer. Tanned skin is also evidence of sun damage.
People with fair skin may be at greater risk of sunburn, but it can affect anyone.
Sunburn increases a person’s risk of getting skin cancer. Even one severe sunburn during childhood or adolescence doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Repeated sunburns carry increased risks.
People can also get sunburned by using tanning beds or other indoor tanning aids that involve UV rays.
Learn how to treat and prevent sunburn here.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), skin cancer is the most common type of cancer.
Basal and squamous cell carcinomas make up most cases. Both of these cancers are highly treatable if doctors detect and treat them early, as they tend not to spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma is a rarer form of skin cancer and is more likely to spread than other types.
Skin cancers usually start as unusual markings or changes in the appearance or texture of the skin. The ACS recommends that anyone with unusual moles, lumps, or sores on their skin get checked for skin cancer.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people check their skin every month for symptoms of skin cancer, such as moles that change shape or look different from others scaly patches sores that do not heal, or sores that heal but then come back dome-shaped growth raised, itchy patches of skin areas that appear fragile and tend to bleed easily dark streaks under a finger or toenail
People with fair skin that burns easily are most at risk of skin cancer, but it can happen to anyone. UV exposure, either from sunlight or from indoor tanning aids, increases a person’s risk.
Age also plays a part. Skin cancer rates tend to be higher in older people.
People who work outdoors or spend a lot of time outside have regular exposure to UV rays, which increases their risk of developing skin cancer.
The CDC reports that certain groups are less likely to use sunscreen than others, which may make them more susceptible to skin cancer. Sunscreen use is lowest among men, non-Hispanic Black people, people with less sun-sensitive skin, and people with lower incomes.
UV rays can damage the skin, even on cloudy days. Surfaces such as water, snow, sand, and cement can also reflect rays. UV rays are usually strongest in the middle of the day, between 10 a.M. And 4 p.M.
The CDC recommends taking simple steps every day to protect the skin: Wear sunscreen on exposed skin every day. Broad-spectrum sunscreens block UVA and UVB rays and have a sun protection factor (SPF) rating. The higher the SPF rating, the more protection they give. However, sunscreens do not block all UV rays. Seek shade rather than full sun. Cover up with loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or skirts. Sunglasses help protect the delicate skin around the eyes and reduce the risk of cataracts. A wide-brimmed hat can protect a person’s head, neck, face, and ears. Avoid indoor tanning.
Learn how to choose and use sunscreen here.
Not all skin cancers look alike. However, a new mole or a sore that will not heal can be a symptom of skin cancer. If someone is concerned about skin changes, they should consult a dermatologist.
The NCI recommends following the ABCDE rule when checking unusual blemishes or moles for symptoms of melanoma: A for asymmetry: The shape of one half is not the same as the other half. B for border: The border is ragged, notched, or blurred. The pigment may spread and be noticeable in the surrounding skin. C for color: The coloring differs from one area to the next, with shades of black, brown, and tan. Some areas may also appear white, gray, red, pink, or blue.D for diameter: The marking has changed the size — it is particularly of concern if it has gotten bigger. Most melanomas are larger than 6 millimeters or 1/4 inch wide, which is about the width of a pencil eraser. However, they can be smaller than this. E for evolving: The marking changes shape, size, or color over a couple of weeks or months.
Learn about how effective skin cancer apps are for early detection.
Protecting the skin from UV rays is a daily challenge, but doing so reduces the risk of skin cancer.
Most people with basal or squamous cell carcinomas respond well to treatment, and deaths are rare. However, these cancers can recur.
Melanoma causes more deaths, as this type of cancer is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.
According to the ACS, if doctors diagnose melanoma at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 99%. This means that 99 out of 100 people will still be alive 5 years after diagnosis. However, if it spreads to other organs, this rate drops to 30%.
UV rays can damage the skin and may lead to skin cancer.
Sunburn increases the risk of developing skin cancer, but prolonged exposure without burning also damages the skin.
People can reduce their risk by wearing sunscreen, covering their skin, seeking shade, and avoiding the sun during the hottest part of the day.
Damaged moisture barrier signs
“Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!” says consultant dermatologist, Dr. Mary Sommerlad. “Face, hands, body, and feet, especially after showering when the skin is slightly damp—it will help lock water in. The cold, dry air, and central heating in winter increase water loss, meaning that skin can start to feel dry and itchy. I recommend using multitasking moisturizers that work to draw moisture in, soften, and prevent water loss. Ingredients like ceramides help repair the skin barrier while humectants, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, draw water into the skin. Shea butter is the only plant oil I recommend as it is low irritation and is great at reducing dryness, plus squalane is a great addition to any formula. There are so many great formulations to suit every budget—just make sure those key ingredients are in there.”
27 Best Hydrating Moisturizers For All Skin Types
For a long time, I was under the mistaken impression that I have dry skin, mostly because I love the texture of a thick, gooey moisturizer. Despite the fact that every dermatologist or aesthetician has disputed my claims, I developed a sixth sense for knowing if cream was actually going to keep my skin feeling hydrated all day long. But once I started using prescription retinol in my routine, my skin really did become dry and flaky, which meant it was time to find the ultimate hydrating moisturizer.
Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin, or extremely sensitive skin, it’s super important to keep your skin moisturized. Hydrating is what keeps our skin looking young and bouncy, and an excellent moisturizer can even double as a makeup primer. Here, find the 27 best hydrating moisturizers for every skin type.
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- Best for Crepe-y Skin
- Best for Wounds
AveneCicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
- Best for Acne-Prone Dry Skin
Biba Los AngelesDaily Moisturizer
- Best for Plump Skin
COSRXSnail Mucin 92% Repair Cream
- Best for Makeup Prep
- Best for Very Sensitive Skin
VanicreamMoisturizing Skin Cream
- Best Lightweight Moisturizer
EltaMDAM Therapy Face Moisturizer
- Best for Dewy Skin
CliniqueMoisture Surge Intense 72H Lipid-Replenishing Hydrator
- Best for Dry Skin
Dieux SkinInstant Angel
- Best for Irritated Skin
TatchaIndigo Overnight Repair
- Best for All Skin Types
La Roche-PosayLipikar Balm AP+M Triple repair Moisturizing Cream
- Best for Supple Skin
DAMDAMMochi Mochi Luminous Plumping Moisturizer
- Best for Flaky Skin
AmLactinDaily Moisturizing Lotion
- Best for the Skin’s Microbiome
Beekman 1802Bloom Cream Daily Probiotic Moisturizer
- Best for Dull Skin
Gold BondUltimate Healing Skin Therapy Lotion
- Best for Matte Skinn
Augustinus BaderThe Light Cream
- Best for A Glow
FarmacyHoney Halo Ceramide Face Moisturizer
- Best for Barrier Repair
Etude HouseSoonJung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream
- Best for Aging Skin
Dr. Jart+Ceramidin™ Cream
- Best for Fine Lines
Tata HarperRepairative Anti-Aging Moisturizer
- Best for Bouncy Skin
Drunk ElephantProtini Polypeptide Cream
- Best for Even Skin
EADEMCloud Cushion Plush Moisturizer with Ceramides + Peptides
- Best for Redness
BiossanceSqualane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
- Best for Itchy Skin
UriageXemose Lipid-Replenishing Anti-Irritation Cream
- Best for Oily Skin
VersedDew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream
- Best for Every Day
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
- Best for Eczema
First Aid BeautyFirst Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
Why is it important to use a moisturizer?
If you are building a skincare routine from scratch, a cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF are the key steps. “Moisturizers are very important in the skin care regimen,” says Lal. “They help hydrate and replenish your skin. As we age we lose moisture from our skin naturally. Restoring this moisture is important for maintaining a great skin barrier.”
How do you hydrate aging skin?
“I recommend people look for hydrating agents such as hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, glycerin, ceramides, and dimethicone in their skincare products which help hydrate and retain moisture in aging skin,” says Dr. Lal. “I usually tell people to moisturize right after the shower all over their body every day. For those with dry skin, moisturizer multiple times a day may be necessary.”
What kind of skin types need hydration the most?
“All skin types benefit from a moisturizer but dry and aging skin requires moisturizer the most,” according to Lal. Tatjana Freund Beauty Commerce Writer Tatjana Freund is a Beauty Commerce Writer, covering makeup, skincare, and haircare products and trends.
Repair And Protect Damaged Skin Barrier
A damaged skin barrier can result in acne, irritation, and flaky skin. Furthermore, it can also cause fungal infections, discolored patches, and acne. A damaged skin barrier can be due to a lot of reasons. In addition to a reaction by using products, it can also happen as a result of excessive use of chemical or physical exfoliants, and exposure to a humid environment among others.
To prevent or recover your skin barrier check out these easy-to-follow suggestions that will help you achieve a healthy skin barrier in no time.
Do not wash your face frequently:
Even though water is essential to keep our face hydrated, sometimes it can damage our skin by causing dryness. Hence, you should wash your face with lukewarm water. Make sure to wash it only once or twice a day with cleansers that are low in pH.
Abstain from testing new products:
If your skin barrier is not in the right state, it is best to not try new products. Doing so can furthermore exacerbate inflammation and cause irritation.
Follow a simple skincare regimen:
This includes abstaining from exfoliating for a while. Follow basic skincare steps like cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting. These three steps are essential when your barrier is recovering. Furthermore, it will also reduce the chance of irritation.
Damaged skin barrier products
“Retinol is the perfect ingredient to incorporate into your skincare routine in autumn and winter,” points out aesthetic doctor Dr. Maryam Zamani. “I recommend introducing it to help boost collagen production, decrease pigmentation, and improve skin tone. It works to gently speed skin exfoliation and diminish lasting signs of summer sun damage. Try the MZ Skin Retinol Skin Booster.”
Meet the experts:
Dana Stern, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery in New York, NY. He’s served as a formula consultant for many skincare brands, including Neutrogena, EltaMD, and CeraVe.
Chris Tomassian, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of The Dermatology Collective in Glendora, CA. Why trust Cosmopolitan?
Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan with four years of experience researching, writing, and editing skincare stories that range from sunburned lips to whiteheads. She’s an authority in all skincare categories but is an expert when it comes to skin barriers, thanks to interviewing dermatologists about repairing her own damaged skin barrier for years. She regularly tests and analyzes skin barrier repair products for efficacy, while working with the industry’s top dermatologists to assess new formulas and brands.
Jesa Marie Calaor was the beauty editor at HearstMade for over a year and has been writing beauty articles for over seven years, including wearing your sunscreen indoors and reviewing the Dyson straightener. She researched and interviewed experts about damaged skin barriers.
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