Today we're talking about the skin barrier and the products I can rely on to restore balance when my skin is feeling irritated, dry or unhappy. Incorporating these sorts of ingredients and products is also great for when I'm using stronger actives in my routine, to help keep my skin happy through the intensity! Let's jump into it...
A more recent formula that I've not been able to put down lately is the Elf Pure Skin Cleanser | £8.99. This is a gorgeous kind of gel-to-cream, non-foaming cleanser that leaves my skin fresh but not at all stripped or dried-out. It works really well as a morning cleanse, but also as a second cleanse in the evening, once you've removed your makeup. It's formulated with glycerin, to pull moisture into the skin, fatty alcohol to replenish it, allantoin to soothe, oat to soften the skin and ceramides and niacinamide as skin barrier boosters. Ceramides are a component of the lipid barrier and you can top up your stores topically, whereas niacinamide can boost up your skin's own ceramide production. It's a great, gentle formula that cleanses the skin without throwing it off balance.
Whilst a toner isn't 100% necessary for everyone, when my skin is dry and irritated; I want to pack in as much hydration as possible! The First Aid Beauty Wild Oat Hydrating Toner* | £20 | just always hits the spot for my skin. This is a weighty, more essence-like toner formula that I apply with my hands, pressing it into the skin. It contains lots of glycerin, squalane (which is a skin-similar plant oil that replenishes lost nourishment), fermented ingredients to help strengthen the skin barrier and oat, to soothe and soften dry and irritated skin. It's quick and easy to apply and provides hydration to my skin that really lasts.
In terms of serums, every winter I repurchase the Niod Modulating Glucosides | £27 | and it really is a unique product. It's a serum with a kind of creamy-emulsion texture that feels moisturising, as well as providing amazing benefits. What this formula does is take plant extracts that have some great benefits but can be irritating in their complete form, and it just isolates the compounds that deliver great results. So, what you get is an amazing cocktail of antioxidants, protecting the skin from free radical damage, but also some brilliant anti-inflammatory benefits to soothe and calm redness and irritation. It can be used as a one-step AM or PM option when your skin can't hack stronger actives, or if you're using a strong acid or retinoid, this can go alongside it.
It's not hard to find good ceramide creams these days, but it can be hard to find them in a daytime-friendly formulation; I personally love the Nue Co Barrier Culture Moisturiser | £45. This is a light, creamy-lotion that somehow packs in all the amazing ingredients your skin barrier loves. There are ceramides, there's squalane, we have niacinamide and also those microbiome-boosting ingredients that can help to support your barrier. There's also a nice peptide in here to help keep the skin healthy and happy. It's great moisturiser with amazing ingredients that's not at all heavy on the skin.
On the flipside, when my skin just needs all the nourishment it can get, it just has to be the Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Cream* | £69. This is a buttery, delicious hug for my face and if my skin is in meltdown or has been weathered by the cold: this works every time. This is a rich, shea butter based formula that effectively remedies dryness and reactivity. It contains ginger extract to calm inflammation, plus a ceramide and peptide complex to heal the skin and build the lipid barrier. There's glycerin in here, alongside non-fragrant plant oils to hydrate and soften the skin effectively. It's a gorgeous, luxurious moisturiser that I love to use, and the fact my skin barrier loves it is just an added bonus!
Next, we have a balm that I use as and when and where it's needed: the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast B5+ Baume | £18. This is a creamy balm with a thicker texture, so I look to use it overnight. It contains anti-inflammatory ingredients such as cica and zinc to calm redness and reactivity, alongside shea butter to combat dryness and glycerin to hydrate the skin. It also now has some microbiome-boosters as an added extra for your skin barrier. This is amazing at transforming my skin overnight, locking all of the good stuff in whilst doing the work to calm and nourish the area. It's a kind of 'emergency' product for me when my skin isn't happy and I need to fix things fast.
Finally, we have an oil: the Zelens Power D Vitamin D Concentrate | £105. This is perfect for dry skin; alongside the Kate Somerville cream, my skin is taken from hell to heaven! It's a lightweight oil that can be used under or over your moisturiser and absorbs easily without causing any pilling. It's formulated with Provitamin D3 to fortify and strengthen the skin barrier, cholesterol (another component of the lipid barrier, alongside ceramides), squalane, Vitamin F (rich in linoleic acid, aiding the skin barrier and preventing water loss through the skin), fatty acids and omegas to replenish moisture, bisabolol (the active component of chamomile to soothe the skin), antioxidant Vitamin E and humectants to increase hydration. My skin always thanks me when I use this product!
What are your go-to products for keeping your skin barrier happy?
Read more posts from this series here!