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dermatologist on anti pollution skincare

What is the epidermis and how can you protect it?

Learn how caring for the epidermis correctly can solve a number of skincare concerns The epidermis plays a vital role in skin health and caring for it properly can help with a number of concerns including dryness and sensitivity. But what is it, why does it need protecting, and what factors can damage it? We reveal everything you need to know.

What is the epidermis and why do we need to protect it? 

The epidermis is the name used to describe the outermost layers of the skin. This layer, while thin, is very strong and durable and help to keep anything harmful out of the body- such as bacteria and viruses - and everything good, such as moisture and oils, locked in. We need to protect the epidermis as damage can leave skin vulnerable and weakened. When damaged, skin is unable to hold in water leading to dryness, sensitivity and becoming prone to reactions.   

What are the signs of a damaged skin barrier? 

There are several factors that can damage the skin barrier such as pollution, UV exposure, stress, and blue light omitted from devices. Harsh skincare and procedures that strip the skin of essential lipids and oils can also compromise the barrier. Tell-tell signs of this are redness, tightness, dry patches, sensitivity, itchiness, flaking and breakouts.  

How can dry skin affect the skin barrier? 

Hydration is essential to a healthy skin barrier, so if your skin is more on the dry side it’s important that you maintain moisture levels. The most effective way of doing this is by applying topical serums and moisturisers that are rich in ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid as they attract water and help the skin to hold onto it. We recommend applying a serum such as SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 every morning and evening followed by a very intensive moisturiser like Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 that helps reinforce skin’s barrier function. Both of these products will maintain good levels of hydration in the skin  

How can blemishes affect the skin barrier? 

If you suffer from blemish-prone skin, you may be damaging the skin barrier without even realising it. For example, you may use harsh cleansers and products as a way of minimising levels of excess oil, and regularly skip using moisturiser to avoid adding extra oil. But this will actually make blemishes worse as the lipids the skin needs are stripped away leaving the barrier vulnerable. Once the barrier is damaged and left very dehydrated, the skin can become exposed to bacteria and produce more oil to compensate. The result? Potentially more breakouts. 

Avoid this by caring for your skin barrier with a gentle cleanser that is suitable for oily and blemish-prone skin. Cleanse twice a day, in the morning and before bed, and follow with a lightweight moisturiser such as SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3. This lightweight emulsion delivers instant hydration and strengthens the barrier without leaving behind tackiness. You should find that this keeps levels of oil at bay without over-stripping the skin of all lipids.  

How can treatments such as chemical peels and lasers impact the skin barrier? 

Chemical peels and laser treatments help to rejuvenate the complexion by causing minor injury to the surface of the skin. Peels, for example, do this with chemicals that cause a reaction in the skin which dissolves the outer layers of dead skin, creating a more even complexion and building collagen. As this process removes layers of skin, it’s important to follow up with creams that help to follow up with creams that restore and nourish skin such as Skinceuticals Epidermal Repair . Ideal for post dermatological procedures, this cream should be applied to relieve and soothe the skin after cleansing and before a moisturiser such as SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2.

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