Main content

A Healthy Skin Barrier is One That Glows

21 Mar 2024

“Put simply, the skin barrier is the very outside layer of your body’s largest organ–the skin,” says Laura Cline, Youth To The People’s VP of New Product Development. “Its job is very important: It must keep good things in and bad things out.”

Also known as the epidermal barrier, but not to be confused with the acid mantle (that’s a specific component of the skin barrier that’s related to pH levels, but not its overarching term), the skin barrier is composed of a lot of dead skin cells (corneocytes) ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol, proteins, natural oils, and sebum.

“A healthy barrier is one that’s soft and smooth–it glows,” says Cline. “It’s working well at preventing the entry of harmful bacterias, protecting against environmental stressors, and maintaining adequate hydration–even at night when skin is more prone to water loss.”

On the flip side, a compromised skin barrier might feel itchy or excessively dry, red, flaky, inflamed, tight and uncomfortable–or be more prone to breakouts. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including over exfoliating with too harsh actives or not giving skin the moisture it craves.

“When the skin barrier has lost its balance, it can’t defend you the way it’s designed to when it’s healthy, so it’s more susceptible to letting pollutants and free radicals in,” says Cline. “That can mean heightened sensitivity in the long and short-term, and also hyperpigmentation and a loss of firmness, or more visible fine lines and wrinkles.”

The easiest way to show a compromised barrier some TLC is by adopting a simple, but consistent skincare regimen. “Think ‘less is more’ if you suspect yours may be suffering,” says Cline.

She recommends using a gentle, pH balanced cleanser like YTTP’s Superfood Cleanser AM and PM alongside the new Superfood Skin Drip Smooth + Glow Serum, which contains a plethora of barrier-nourishing antioxidants, ceramides, and postbiotic ferment to help boost the microbiome and hydrate skin up to 10 layers deep. Follow this with moisturizer–either an intentionally formulated moisturizer, like Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream for lightweight hydration, or Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream if you’re looking for something richer and more occlusive.

“Sometimes it can be hard to tell what exactly is causing the irritation as there’s a pileup” says Cline, “so pare everything down and give yourself a full skin cycle, around 30 days, before including anything more active. You’ll be amazed by just how much a few well-chosen products can achieve.”

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device