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Best multipurpose barrier balms to repair your skin

The multitasking creams that nourish skin from head to toe


You may have heard the term ‘skin barrier’ bandied about the beauty community.

Repairing the superficial layer of skin (the epidermis) is one of the most discussed topics in skincare right now – videos talking through the term have over 111.7 million views on TikTok. On the platform, videos from skin experts and dermatologists encourage viewers to turn back the clock on the disruption of skin’s delicate balance from external aggressors or harsh ingredients.

But while we can lay off the retinol and slather our face in shielding formulations, we can’t control the climate in which we live (sadly). Winter weather can wreak havoc on the complexion, while summer presents its own set of dehydrating and UV-related challenges. That’s where multipurpose barrier balms will be our friend now and forever.

These soothing, reparative and moisture-enriching compositions may be the antidote to skin stress that leaves it flaking, irritated and chapped. The best of them nourish while encouraging the skin to lock in all-important hydration.

To find out more, we called on Dr Angela Tewari, CeraVe Consultant Dermatologist, to get the scoop on all things skin barrier.

What is your skin barrier?

“Your skin barrier relates to the layers of cells on the surface of your skin and the junctions that hold it in place”, she explains. “It essentially gives you the clinical appearance of different types of skin – glowing, red, acne or dry. It also carries the moisture that can give you that hydrated look but also give you a feeling of youthfulness, comfort and wellbeing.”

What are the causes of skin barrier damage?

Dr Tewari breaks it down: “There are many causes of skin barrier damage that occur from inside of the body and several external too.

“If we think about external causes, environmental factors such as environmental, pollution or dirt, which can cause oxidative stress on the skin, will contribute to skin barrier damage. Also, UV rays from the sun, UVA and B, will cause skin barrier damage.

“If we think about internal factors, being poorly hydrated and poor nutrition are two other factors that will affect your skin barrier. Also, as we age, the skin barrier tends to be held less tightly so the junctions tend to be looser which means damage can get in and the skin cells don’t fit so well together.”

How do you know if you have a damaged skin barrier?

“You’ll know if your skin barrier is damaged by the fact that your skin may look tired or dry. You may have breakouts or acne, or you may have itchy skin”, she says. “Some of these things are genetics so some people may be more prone to getting acne or more prone to getting drier skin, but there are ways of optimising our skin barrier.” This leads us nicely onto…

How do you repair your skin barrier?


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Best NAD+ skincare products to give your skin a boost

First and foremost, “You repair your skin barrier by hydrating well”, Dr Tewari stresses. She then highlights the importance of a balanced diet and most importantly, incorporating crucial vitamins through the digestive system (vitamins A, B, C, D and E) – whether that be “by certain vegetables and fruits or by supplements”.

What’s more, Dr Tewari reveals “You can also repair your skin barrier by using the right products”. She references antioxidants, which “are essential but you need to be careful how you use these”. Look out too for “Replenishing moisturising agents so humectants such as urea and glycerin that can really help.”

Shop the best barrier balms in the full article:

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