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Monday, June 10, 2019

How I repaired my damaged skin barrier

Recently I suffered from a really damaged skin barrier that came seemingly out of nowhere. I didn't switch up anything in my skin care or makeup routines, I haven't been travelling, I literally did nothing different than what I haven't already been doing for months before.

The first sign I had that my skin barrier was damaged was that my skin started feeling really rough, like the best way I could describe how my skin felt was that it felt like "alligator" skin and nothing I did could get my skin feeling better. Then it got progressively worse, I started noticing my skin becoming really red and hot to the touch, then it started getting really sensitive and products that worked fine for my skin previously started burning my face which really started to scare me. The only part on my face that ever gets sensitive is the area around my nose but I started getting burning sensations around my cheeks, my mouth, and even around my forehead. I also started feeling like my skin was extremely dry and tight which I rarely experience, and even then, only when I go to cold countries where the climate is a lot drier. There were some areas on my face that started peeling as well.

I started an extensive testing session with all my products and figured out what worked for my skin and what needed to take a back seat till my skin got better. What I did was to apply a small amount of the product on my skin to see if it stung, if it did, I immediately washed it off my face and started with something else. I don't know if there's a better method to this but it was the one that worked for me.

(Credit: x)

The first product that worked for my skin was Innisfree's The Minimum Moist Cream. Right off the bat, I knew this would work because The Minimum line from Innisfree is formulated with only the most essential ingredients (think a really short ingredient list) for people with sensitive skin. I applied a liberal layer of this right after cleansing (I eliminated all toners and serums because all of them stung my face) and my skin instantly felt so much better. No more tight, dry feeling. However, I felt that this just wasn't enough and although my skin felt better, I wasn't noticing an overall improvement so...

(Credit: x)

This cica balm has been in my arsenal of skin care products for a long time but I finally understood why people can apply this all over their face. I did a previous post on Etude House's Soon Jung 5-Panthensoside Cica Balm saying that I loved it for a spot treatment but I didn't understand how to apply this all over my face without it pitting up. Well, you literally just apply a layer and make sure not to blend it in. This, combined with the Minimum Moist Cream saved my skin and stopped my skin barrier from being even more damaged.

(Credit: x)

Another product that helped my skin was Mario Badescu's Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater. I started using this as a midday pick me up for my skin because my skin would get dry throughout the day and I didn't want to irritate my skin further by wiping away my existing skincare and reapplying it. I spritzed this liberally on my face and to my delight it didn't sting my face but helped hydrate it. I started using this instead of a toner and it has worked beautifully for my skin. I start off by applying 2-3 layers of this on my skin before finishing up with my creams (yes you read that right, I used more than 1 cream on my face).

(Credit: x)

I think the star product that really saved my skin has got to be Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream. After applying the first 2 products (Innisfree's The Minimum Moist Cream and Etude House's Soon Jung 5-Panthensoside Cica Balm), I still felt like my skin was dehydrated and really rough so I decided to whip this baby out to see if it would help. To my surprise, when I applied this cream, my skin felt instantly cooler. I initially thought it was just me wanting this effect so much that I imagined it so I applied it on my husband and asked if he felt the same cooling sensation and he did so I definitely did not imagine this. The star ingredient in this cream is Guaiazulene which is a natural component extracted from chamomile oil and is known for its soothing and calming effects. I first spritzed 2-3 layers of the facial spray onto my face, then applied this cream, then layered the Innisfree's on top, then Etude House's one last.

(Credit: x)

While there are mixed reviews on whether or not you should use sunscreen when your skin barrier is damaged, I still decided to go ahead and apply sunscreen because I didn't want to potentially damage it further by exposing it to harmful UV rays. The sunscreen that worked for me is A'pieu's Power Block Essence Sun Cream. It was very lightweight and moisturising, didn't irritate my skin or felt sticky, and didn't leave a white cast at all. It left my skin feeling protected and because of how light it felt on the skin, I could layer it on without feeling like my skin was suffocated. This sunscreen also helps to block blue light I'm in love and I'm definitely going to continue using this even when my skin is back to normal.

After 2 days of following this regime, I can happily say that my skin feels a whole lot more hydrated (although I still have a bit flaky skin around my face), has lesser of an "alligator" skin feel to it, is a lot brighter and less red, and definitely a lot less sensitive. I still don't know what compromised my skin barrier but I am glad that it is getting a lot better.

If you ever suffer from a damaged skin barrier, I hope this helps you with choosing products that help your skin so you don't have to do the trial and error I did to figure out what works. Also, some key ingredients to take note of if you want to strengthen your skin barrier are ceramides, niacinamide, peptides, hyaluronic acid and panthenol. I hope this helps you in your skincare journey to a healthy skin barrier!

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