When the skin can no longer repair itself, it starts to show. Picture: Pinterest.
As the largest organ, the skin usually gets damaged quickly, but, it can also repair itself. And when it’s reached a point where it cannot repair, it starts to show and you’ll definitely notice. 

Lamelle takes us through 5 Signs of a damaged skin barrier and how to fix it

Too much dryness

One of the tell-tale signs of skin barrier damage is that the waxy lipid bilayer in the outer layer of your skin has been stripped or damaged. This is the layer that locks in moisture, so, if it’s impaired, your skin will lose its moisture very quickly.

It’ll feel like you have to apply moisturiser all the time because initially, it works, but then the moisturiser just disappears again soon after.

Tender red patches of skin

With the lipid bilayer damaged, your skin will be defenseless against attacks by damages from the outside, often in a few specific places on your skin. Dust, radiation, pollutants, bacteria, viruses and other impurities will have easy access to the lower layers of your skin in these areas.

And, of course, your skin will be fighting back in the best way it knows how: by employing inflammation and impurity-fighting, healing properties. But, with no barrier to protect it, there’ll be no reprieve, the battle becomes constant. And the result is areas of the skin that almost always seem red, inflamed and tender.

Some products sting a little when you apply them

Understandably, with your skin barrier damaged and the lower layers of your skin being exposed and feeling sensitive, some products are a little too harsh or are penetrating deeper than they should be, which can be painful. The problem is that these products are now adding to the problem, not helping you solve it.

Your skin feels itchy and there’s sometimes a little fine flaking

One of the biggest misconceptions about sensitized skin is that only applies to really fair skin.

Sensitized skin is temporary, like when your skin barrier is damaged. And it shows up in all skin types. Even dark skin with an impaired lipid bilayer can become prone to fine flaking of the skin. 

Itchiness is also very common, and it goes along with the feeling of tightness, dryness, and sensitivity that indicates skin barrier damage.

Your skin looks dull and dry in places

There’s a slight technical difference between dehydration and dryness. When skin is dehydrated, it's because of loss of moisture, which presents as a loss of plumpness, almost as if the skin is sunken, causing fine lines and wrinkles. Dryness, on the other hand, refers to a loss of the natural oils that give skin its healthy appearance.

Considering a damaged skin barrier is a loss of the waxy lipid bilayer in the outer layer of skin cells (corneocytes), there’s really only one way to reverse it: repair the lipid bilayer.