19. Strengthen your skin barrier.
The skin barrier refers to the outermost layer of the epidermis, which helps protect your skin from harsh elements and holds in moisture, preventing your skin from drying out. You’ll know your skin barrier is damaged when you notice any signs of redness or inflammation, dehydration, itchiness, flakiness or acne flare-ups. A weak or damaged skin barrier is mostly dry or dehydrated so it can’t lock in moisture, making it easier for irritants and bacteria to penetrate the skin. You can help replace depleted skin lipids by applying oils that antioxidant-rich, such as sunflower and safflower oils, which hydrate with linoleic acid.
Beware of heavily fragranced varieties, such as mint or citrus oils, which can irritate sensitive skin. Products containing panthenol, a vitamin B-5 derivative, also work as healing lubricators, as do products with niacinamide, an ingredient that increases ceramide production and restores skin barrier function. For healthy skin, it can take 2 weeks and up to a month to repair the barrier function. Once your skin barrier is back on full force, you’ll notice a decrease in redness, skin-sensitivity, inflammation, and dehydration!