Looking after your skin barrier is the key to healthy, vibrant skin

Looking after your skin barrier is the key to healthy, vibrant skin

It may not look like it on the surface, but your skin is constantly hard at work; the toughest job, though, is of the uppermost layer, the skin barrier. Much like a security guard for your skin, the barrier is there to stop potential problems passing through and to protect what lies within - and it’s the weakness of this shield that is the underlying cause of sensitive skin.

A thin, weak or damaged skin barrier allows irritants in, or irritates more easily - and so building up this surface layer could be the key to reducing skin sensitivity long term.

What is the skin barrier?

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. And it’s a complex organ, with seven layers that perform a variety of essential functions. The skin’s most important function is to keep harmful viruses and contamination out of your body. It does this with what’s known as the ‘skin barrier’, aka the stratum corneum. This outer layer of skin is the frontline bodyguard, protecting you against UV damage, pollution, toxic chemicals and infection.

What does a weak skin barrier mean?

There could be a number of reasons why you have a weak or thin skin barrier. As you age, the barrier starts to weaken. Pale skin is thinner than darker skin, which all pale-skinner people know, resulting in more rashes, redness, blushing and irritation. Also, if you are dehydrated, the ability of the skin to heal itself is impaired.

A weak skin barrier means that your skin doesn’t look as good. It will appear dry, dull and scaly; it will also wrinkle more easily. Chemicals can penetrate an impaired skin barrier, which can cause inflammation and a high level of sensitivity. If you’ve experienced stinging or redness from products, you’ll know what we mean. And, unfortunately, if you’ve had a reaction to a product, the barrier becomes compromised and opens the door to even more problems.

What can you do to strengthen your skin barrier?

The first step is to avoid steroid creams that are often prescribed for allergic reactions and eczema. They thin the skin even further, which removes the inflammation but increases the chances of further problems.

Back to basics

Take your skin routine back to the bare basics. Remove artificial foaming cleansers, toners and anything with alcohol or witch hazel, as these strip away protective skin oils. Also eliminate all scrubs and exfoliants, brushes and cloths, as abrasion creates micro-tears in the skin which further degrades the skin’s protective coating. Instead, use a soft flannel with a gentle, oil-based cleanser.

Switch to natural products

Use products with skin-building, positive ingredients. Some people swear by niacinamide and products that contain linoleic acid. These might work for you, but a more logical approach is to move to a natural skincare regime. We’ve written a guide about how to do this.

Be gentle and work with your skin, not against it

Keep an eye on the pH of the products you use. Optimal skin pH is about 5.5. If you use harsh cleansers on your skin, you’ll strip your skin of beneficial oils. Plus they make your skin pH too alkaline, which can lead to degradation of those all-important layers of skin barrier. Hot water strips the skin. Instead, clean your face with tepid water. More about maintaining the right skin pH.

Get into good skin habits

Move forward with better habits and healthy skin. Once you’ve built your skin barrier up, you need to maintain it by protecting against sun damage, free radicals and pollution. Also, now that you’ve overhauled your skincare, you should fuel your skin from the inside with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables - vitamins A, C and E are particularly good for skin. Be aware too that stress has a visible effect on skin, slowing down healing time and potentially weakening your skin barrier.

Consider taking a natural skin, hair and nails supplement. There are a range of formulas designed to nutritionally support the health of your skin. Also think about adding an omega fatty acid supplement to your daily plain, to help restore moisture and encourage optimal skin health.

Introduce new products one at a time

Find out what works for you. No two people are the same and what helps your friend may not do the same for you. It can be good to introduce new products one at a time, so that if you react to something, you’ll know what product it’s likely to be.  You can’t fix a damaged skin barrier overnight, but with gentle care and patience it will get its act together again. This will help your skin remain youthful and look great for years to come.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Your cart

Your cart is currently empty.

keep shopping

If you place your order on a business day (Monday – Friday) we’ll process it within 48 hours.

Orders made over the weekend or on a public holiday, we’ll process it the following business day.

Please make sure you supply us with your full and correct shipping address. Should you enter the wrong address, please contact us as soon as possible.

How much does shipping cost?

New Zealand Free 2 - 4 working days
Australia $15 5 - 10 working days

Okana is not responsible for any shipping problems and shall not be held liable for any "reasonable" delay beyond our advertised delivery time-frames.

What if my order hasn't arrived in the estimated time?

Please note that our shipping guidelines are based on the estimated time of arrival from the dispatch date, not the date your order is placed. Please be advised that our delivery time guidelines are based on business days, which only includes Monday - Friday and excludes public holidays. Please check your confirmation email to confirm your delivery address was correct. If you have further issues with delivery of your item you can contact us.

How to track your parcel in New Zealand:

You’ll find your tracking number in the dispatched email. Enter this tracking number at www.posthaste.co.nz/tracktrace.html#ABarCode

1. What is your policy on animal testing?

Okana do not test on animals and do not ask others to do so.

2. Who formulates your products?

All of Okana formulations are made by our in-house team of bio-chemists and materials-chemists in our own lab.

3. Who manufactures your products?

All of Okana products are manufactured in house as per order basis. All orders are produced fresh, handmade in small batches to maintain freshness and its quality.

4. Do you avoid controversial or harmful ingredients in your formulations?

At Okana, we like to treat our skincare products the same way you like to treat your food. i.e. all Okana products are free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury, oxybenzone. Our promise to you, If you can not put in your mouth, we will not include it in our product. If you have questions about any ingredient that we use, please reach out to us here and we will provide a response.

5. Are Your Products Vegan?

Yes all of them. We genuienly believe in animal welfare and being environmental friendly. We do not test our products on animals, nor use their by-product as our ingredient.

6. Are your products Suitable for Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women?

Yes absolutely. We will never use any questionable ingredient that can harm your body in long-term. All our products are made from 100% natural edible ingredients.

7. How Do I Store Your Products?

We recommend storing all of our products in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Refrigerating our products will not enhance their longevity. We suggest using all products from Okana within 6 months.

8. What is the Expiry Date of Your Products?

The shelf life of our products is 12 month, but we generally suggest using any products from Okana within 6 months of opening. This ensures the freshness and quality of our ingrdients.

9. Can You Recommend Products for My Skin Concerns?

Of course, we would love to help! You can submit an inquiry on our contact page and be sure to let us know what products you’re currently interested in, your primary skin concerns, and your currently daily regimen (if you have one).

10. Can You Send Me Samples?

We currently have no sample sizes, but we are working on it! Stay tuned for future opportunities to sample our products ❤.