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Here's why all beauty brands are now talking about repairing the skin barrier

How to simplify your routine for healthier, less reactive skin

Here's why all beauty brands are now talking about repairing the skin barrier How to simplify your routine for healthier, less reactive skin

You may have noticed a term buzzing around the beauty industry a lot lately, it's a phrase you've probably heard before but now suddenly it's everywhere: "skin barrier repair," i.e., the new innovation in skincare that offers products that promise to strengthen and rejuvenate compromised and damaged skin. But what is a skin barrier, why does it need to be repaired, and, most importantly, why the sudden amount of products? To answer that, we need to analyze what has happened in the industry in recent years.

Thanks to the accessibility of the Internet and the rise in popularity of beauty influencers, the beauty industry has gone through something of an enlightening period in the past decade. Consumers are increasingly informed about the science behind their skincare products, and demand is driven precisely by products that can prove their efficacy through dermatologist-approved ingredients and authentic customer reviews. As a result, research-based skincare with trendy ingredients became all the rage, with brands such as The Ordinary and Inkey List bringing actives such as retinol and BHA from medical studies to retailers' shelves. Before long, our bathrooms became veritable improvised laboratories as actives, acids, and strong exfoliants became the main DIY beauty products. Skincare routines have changed dramatically: active ingredients are available in increasingly higher dosages, daily exfoliation has been encouraged, and peels have been misused, largely thanks to social media. During the lockdown, this was further intensified as our collective attention shifted to skincare (#skincareroutine has 16.6 billion views on TikTok, over four times more than #makeuproutine) and dewy skin became the ultimate beauty accessory. Instead of giving us better skin, however, often all these products and steps have led our skin to weaken and worsen. 

In fact, our skin barrier has an extraordinary function that protects the skin: it is a layer of self-made lipids (oils) that coat and protect it from environmental aggressors. This natural protection can be damaged, however, by such things as excessive exfoliation or overuse of strong active ingredients. If our skin barrier function "breaks down," our skin can feel irritated, dry and sensitized to the touch; this is because barrier breakdown can lead to trans-epidermal water loss, where moisture from the skin is released, resulting in dry, dehydrated skin as well as skin conditions such as rosacea.

Dr. Sam Bunting, cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Dr. Sam's skincare, has seen a recent increase in clients with "all the common inflammatory skin problems that affect the face including acne, rosacea, and dermatitis," due to skin damage related to the use of face masks and overuse of skincare products. "It seems that people are wearing less cosmetics but playing more with active ingredients from brands like The Ordinary and The Inkey List," says Dr. Bunting. "I get the impression that skincare recently is seen almost as entertainment by people using lots of different products mixed together, which, if not done properly, can really damage skin barrier function."

It was exactly this trend that led to the creation of Byoma. Focusing specifically on products that repair the skin barrier, the brand was created after founder Marc Elrick noticed that the beauty trend of "perfectly clean, shiny, bare skin" was making its way onto social media. "People were playing pharmacy in their bathrooms, experimenting with new super-powerful active ingredients," he says, "abusing, exfoliating, and buying too many do-it-yourself skincare products." Elrick soon realized that people were "breaking their skin barriers in search of quick, short-term solutions that often cause more harm than good."

But, what can we say, we've all been there at least once: trapped in the cycle of being dissatisfied with our skin and buying endless products to try to exfoliate our way to a brighter, baby-like face, but getting the opposite effect in the process. So what can we do - now - if we have compromised our skin barrier? First, we need to simplify our skincare routine by exfoliating with nothing rougher than fingertips, eliminating anything foamy or scented, and opting for occlusive moisturizers that trap water in the skin-this way we can begin to rebuild the skin barrier, says Dr. Bunting.

After making these simple changes to your beauty routine, look for products that can support skin barrier function by supplementing ceramides: the class of lipids that make up about 50 percent of the skin barrier. A combination of regenerative ceramides and gentle oils can help strengthen and replenish the protective layer of lipids that seal in moisture. 

Despite the sudden influx of new products, skin barrier repair is far from the latest trend. Brands such as Dermalogica have been offering barrier repair products in their range for years, while Japanese skincare brand Curél was launched in 1999 following the discovery of the crucial role of ceramides in restoring the skin's moisture barrier-the brand has since created products aimed at replenishing ceramide levels and repairing the skin's moisture barrier.

So if, despite the hours you devote each evening to your skincare routine, your skin feels dry, irritated or dull, it may be time to tone down the Korean ten-step skincare routine and cut back on daily exfoliation, along with retinol, in favor of other habits. It's not even about buying new products because, when it comes to a good protective barrier, less is more. 

Are you ready? nss G-Club has selected for you the 10 must-have products to repair the damaged skin barrier:

CeraVe Moisturizing Face Cream SPF 50

CeraVe Moisturizing Face Cream SPF 50

12,45€
VICHY Minéral 89 Probiotic Fractions

VICHY Minéral 89 Probiotic Fractions

33,50€
BIODERMA Sensibio Lait

BIODERMA Sensibio Lait

14€
AVENE Acqua Termale Avène Spray

AVENE Acqua Termale Avène Spray

9,34€
RILASTIL Acnestil Pb Lenitive Sebum-regulating Gel

RILASTIL Acnestil Pb Lenitive Sebum-regulating Gel

12,53€
DR.JART+  Ceramidin™ Cream

DR.JART+ Ceramidin™ Cream

14€
DERMALOGICA Barrier Repair

DERMALOGICA Barrier Repair

51€
SVR Cicavit+ Creme

SVR Cicavit+ Creme

17€
LA ROCHE POSAY Cleansing Milk

LA ROCHE POSAY Cleansing Milk

14,45€
KORFF Biorevitalizing HA Face Serum

KORFF Biorevitalizing HA Face Serum

89€