Signs of a Compromised Skin Barrier and How to Restore It Holistically

For a year or so, I've been offering our FREE Skin Ritual Consultations. It's been such a pleasure getting to know some of our community in this way and being invited to assist in their holistic skincare journey. I truly enjoy putting together these rituals for folks who aren't sure where to start or are looking to gain some clarity around the products they use.

Over the last few months in particular, I've noticed a pattern emerging. I find that I'm suggesting many of the same products and talking a lot about restoring a damaged skin barrier. So I wanted to share some of my favorite Wild Grace skincare rituals for gently tending to your skin's lipid barrier.

First off, let's talk about what the skin barrier, sometimes called the lipid barrier, even is and why it's important.

The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the epidermis and includes your skin’s acid mantle and microbiome. It plays a vital role in maintaining skin health, serving as a protective barrier, helping to retain moisture, defend against external elements, and promote overall skin balance. Think of it as a guardian, gently nurturing and preserving your skin's well-being.

A healthy skin barrier is essential for keeping your skin glowing and functioning at its best as we gracefully age.

Now, some may be wondering how you would know if your skin's lipid barrier is damaged or not functioning optimally. Here are some of the most common signs I've seen come up during these consultations:

  • Dryness and dehydration
  • Flakiness or peeling
  • Sensitivity and irritation
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Increased breakouts or acne
  • Tightness or discomfort, especially after your skin gets wet

Sound familiar at all? If so, you're not the only one. Not only have I been fielding tons of questions from customers and clients about skin barrier damage, my own skincare journey began because of my skin's damaged lipid barrier.

Wild Grace was born from my own disappointing experiences with both conventional and natural skincare as well as my desire to create something truly plant-centered that didn't compromise on ingredient integrity or effectiveness.

Skin damage occurs for many reasons, and most often it's a combination of factors including:

  • Environmental factors (like UV damage or harsh weather)
  • Overuse of harsh skincare products (like cleansers with surfactants)
  • Excessive exfoliation
  • Lack of nutrients and hydration
  • Stress and lack of sleep

So, when folks have come to me looking for guidance, I often offer both skincare recommendations as well as some slight lifestyle modifications that will support their skin as it heals (remember, your skin is brilliant and knows what it needs. It just needs you to provide the tools).

  1. Gentle Cleansing - use a mild pH balanced cleanser or a cleansing oil like Vesper or Sirenis. Make sure you're using warm water, not hot water, and avoid face scrubs.
  2. Hydration - drink plenty of remineralized water, herbal teas, or bone broth. Use hydrating products like our hydrosols or tonics in conjunction with your serum or balm. Once a week, use our Soma Hydrating Mask to feed your skin with soothing, deeply restorative whole plants. Your skin needs both moisture AND hydration.
  3. Moisturizing - use a nourishing serum like Lumen which includes ingredients high in natural ceramides, highly nutritious fatty acids for your skin, and whole plant extracts to soothe, calm, and mend your skin. If your skin tends to be dry, try layering a balm like Anam Cara over your serum for extra protection and nourishment.
  4. Dietary Support - consume plenty of essential fatty acids, high quality protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. Limit your intake of processed foods and foods high in sugar. As much as possible, eat with the intention of balancing your blood sugar.
  5. Stress Management and Sleep - prioritize adequate sleep for skin repair and regeneration. Good sleep is essential not just for skin health, but for endocrine balance as well, which impacts every system in your body. That alone will help with your stress levels, but finding enjoyable ways to manage stress in your life is a great way to support your skin health too. What feels deeply nourishing to your body, mind, and heart? Do more of that.

So, do any of the above symptoms of a damaged skin barrier resonate with you? If so, which of the tips do you think your skin will benefit from most? What can you start doing today to begin your skin healing journey?

And if you're curious to learn more about how to mend and tend to your skin's barrier, check out my FREE guide Repair and Renew: Heal Your Skin Barrier with Whole Plant Skincare!

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