Your skin barrier is like a wall, protecting your skin from the elements and keeping moisture locked in. Learn how to care for this essential barrier.

right mark

Copied to Clipboard

wrong mark

What To Know About Your Skin Barrier And How To Care For It

12/07/20228 min read

Your skin is constantly bombarded by elements like the sun, wind, and pollution. Thankfully, your skin barrier is there as a shield of protection.

But, without care, your skin barrier can become weak, leaving your skin prone to losing water and becoming dry. Taking care of this barrier is the key to sustaining healthy skin. Keep reading to learn more about this vital part of your body.

Table Of Contents

What Is Your Skin Barrier?

Woman sitting in a chair at the beach

The scientific name for the skin barrier is the stratum corneum. It sits on the outermost layer of your skin, known as the epidermis.

This protective layer helps your skin retain moisture. It also protects it from irritants that could cause skin damage, such as bacteria, allergens, and chemicals.


The stratum corneum is made up of corneocytes, which are anucleated keratinocytes that have reached the final stage of keratinocyte differentiation.

The keratinocyte cells are responsible for skin regeneration. They help the skin repair itself after it's been damaged. For example, these cells quickly reproduce when you get a cut to cover the affected area.

They also produce skin-healing proteins that help reduce inflammation and protect your skin from UV damage.


Your skin barrier is like a brick wall. It keeps out external aggressors, like the sun and wind, while fighting against irritants. In addition, it holds moisture in, helping to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out.

Taking care of your skin barrier can help maintain healthy skin that looks and feels great. But sometimes, this barrier can get damaged.

What Damages The Skin Barrier?

While it’s often compared to a brick wall, your skin barrier isn’t as formidable as bricks. It’s something that can get damaged by many things, including:

  • Excessive sun exposure: Too much sun can break down the lipids in skin, causing skin dryness and inflammation.
  • Hot water: Taking hot showers or baths for too long can strip away the skin's natural oils and weaken the barrier.
  • Harsh ingredients: Some skin care products can contain chemicals that break down the cells.
  • Over-exfoliating: Scrubbing your face too much can remove skin cells from the protective layer.
  • Stress: Studies have shown that skin can become more sensitive and prone to infection due to stress.
  • Allergens: Pollen, dust mites, and pet dander are all allergens that can cause skin irritation if not properly managed.
  • Injuries: Any time you get a scratch or a cut, you’re opening up a way for foreign substances to get in, making your skin vulnerable to infection.

Signs Of Damage

Woman experiencing dry skin from a damaged skin barrier

No matter what causes damage to your skin barrier, you may notice some of the same signs and symptoms. These include:

If you’re experiencing any of these things, it could indicate that your skin barrier needs to be repaired. You might need to change your skincare routine to improve your overall skin health.

How To Care For Your Skin

Your skin is your largest and most visible organ. It's crucial to provide the care and protection it needs to maintain a healthy skin barrier. Here are some tips for keeping your skin healthy.

Be Intentional

Your skin isn't something you can haphazardly care for. Instead, you must be mindful of your skincare routines and intentionally engage in activities that promote skin health.

Unfortunately, this might take a lot of work, especially if your skin barrier is already damaged. As mentioned above, repairing it requires consistency over time.

Read Labels

Before you buy skincare products, make sure to read the labels. Many skincare items contain harsh ingredients that can damage your skin. They can strip away your skin's natural oils, leaving you feeling even drier than you were before.

Ditch these products and look for ones free of parabens and sulfates instead. While reading the ingredient list, look for skin-friendly elements, like niacinamide, colloidal oatmeal, and guar bean extract. These can help keep your skin hydrated without causing further irritation.

For example, Bodewell products combine powerful clinical ingredients with a formula containing botanicals that moisturize your skin to help it rebalance over time.

Use Probiotics

Woman eating probiotic-rich yogurt

Using skincare products with probiotics can help strengthen your skin and restore your skin barrier. Probiotics contain good bacteria that can help reduce inflammation, redness, and irritation.

Incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet is also a great way to give your skin an extra boost from the inside out. These foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

A probiotic supplement is another option. However, you’ll want to speak to your doctor before you start one.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential for skin health. When you’re hydrated, your body is more likely to produce a healthy skin barrier.

Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. But if you're active or live in a hot climate, you may need to drink even more than that.

Take Shorter, Cooler Showers

While hot showers can feel great, they aren't ideal for skin health. Taking long, hot showers strips your skin of its natural oils and weakens your skin barrier.

Try to keep your shower time under 10 minutes, and use lukewarm water instead of hot. This helps protect your skin from further damage and dehydration.

In addition, select gentle cleansers designed to clean your skin while helping lock in moisture. But no matter what body wash you use, remember not to scrub too hard. You don’t want to rub off your skin’s protective layer.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can compromise skin health. Avoid exposing your skin to these temperatures for too long, or you risk skin damage.

If you need to be out in the elements, prepare first. Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat in the summer and gloves in the winter. This way, you have less skin exposed, and your skin can stay healthy and hydrated.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on humidity levels. If they drop too low, consider adding extra moisture to the air in your house by using a humidifier.

Apply Sunscreen Regularly

Sunscreen is essential for skin health and protection. Even when the sun isn't shining, you should apply broad-spectrum sunscreen. That's because UVA and UVB rays can pass through clouds, causing damage to your skin and weakening your natural barrier.

Select a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for the best protection. These minerals create a physical barrier that reflects UV rays and can help keep your skin healthy.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Woman relaxing with a cup of tea

Stress and skin problems go hand in hand. Stress can sometimes increase skin sensitivity and trigger problems like acne and eczema.

To keep your skin healthy, you need to manage your stress levels. Try integrating relaxing activities into your day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Take a yoga class
  • Irritation or redness
  • Get a massage
  • Color
  • Read a good book
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea

If those ideas don’t seem to help, you may need to look for other, bigger ways to reduce your stress, such as:

  • Leaving a toxic relationship
  • Changing jobs
  • Making lifestyle changes
  • Talking to a therapist

It’ll take some effort, but your skin (and the rest of your body) will thank you for lowering your stress levels.

Get Adequate Sleep

Your body repairs itself during sleep. This includes your skin barrier. So, make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted slumber each night to encourage skin regeneration.

If you struggle to get enough hours of shut-eye, try these suggestions:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Establish a bedtime routine that encourages your body to relax before bed.
  • Avoid screens for at least an hour before you hit the sack.
  • Create a dark and quiet environment that's conducive to sleep.
  • Exercise during the day to help relax your body and mind.
  • Journal to get out thoughts that could keep you up at night.
  • Make sure your room is an ideal temperature for sleeping.

Remember that sleep can be elusive for some people, no matter how hard you try. If you struggle to get enough rest, talk to your doctor about your concerns. They may have additional recommendations that might work better for you.

Caring For Your Skin

Man examining his skin barrier in the mirror

Maintaining a healthy skin barrier is essential for clearer-looking skin.

To take good care of your skin, choose quality products from a company you trust, like Bodewell. With the right skincare routine and a little TLC, you can keep your skin healthy and hydrated!


National Library of Medicine
News in Health

Shop Bodewell