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skin barrier

Dermatologist's Guide to Repairing Your Skin Barrier

If you’ve ever experienced dryness, redness, flakiness, or sensitivity in your skin, you may be dealing with a compromised skin barrier. Your skin barrier, the outermost layer of the skin, plays a crucial role in protecting your skin from external environmental aggressors and maintaining its overall health. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through an effective morning skincare routine designed to strengthen and restore your skin barrier. Whether you’re struggling with an existing skin barrier issue or simply want to ensure your skin stays healthy and protected, these steps can make a significant difference in maintaining the integrity and functionality of your skin barrier for optimal skin health.

Understanding Your Skin Barrier

Before we start our routine, let's explore the skin barrier's anatomy and functions. The skin consists of multiple layers of cells, with the outermost layer known as the epidermis. The epidermis has its own layers,with the outermost layer, the stratum corneum, acting as your skin's protective barrier. Imagine this layer as a brick wall, with skin cells as the “bricks” and a blend of lipids (fats) and proteins secreted by deeper skin cells as the “mortar” that holds these "bricks" together. This complex structure forms your skin barrier, guarding your body against the outside world while preserving moisture and important oils that keep your skin hydrated and conditioned. When your skin barrier is compromised, it can lead to issues like dryness, flaking, and increased vulnerability to infections and inflammation.

Morning Skincare Routine for Repairing Your Skin Barrier

Step 1: Gentle Cleansing

Begin your morning routine by cleansing your face to remove excess oils and debris. Harsh cleansers and over-cleansing can worsen a disrupted skin barrier, exacerbating dryness and sensitivity. If your skin barrier is compromised, opt for a gentle cleanse using lukewarm water only, which can help maintain the skin's natural oils while gently removing surface impurities. Morning cleansing is optional, so it’s also okay to skip this step.


For those looking to protect their moisture barrier while effectively removing oil and debris that may have accumulated overnight, cleanse with a gentle, hydrating formula like Gleanser, our non-drying, non-stripping glycerin-based cleanser for the face and body. In cleanser, glycerin combats irritation and dryness by reducing the extent to which cleansing surfactants penetrate the skin. Formulated with 50%+ glycerin and Inulin, a humectant and prebiotic, Gleanser effectively cleanses while providing skin with a veil of hydration that lasts even after rinsing.

Step 2: Hydrating Serum

Adequate hydration is fundamental for a healthy skin barrier. After cleansing, consider applying a hydrating serum while your skin is still damp. This will help hydrating ingredients penetrate the deeper layers of the stratum corneum.


Hydrating serums often contain humectants like glycerin that attract moisture to the skin’s surface. Look for formulations that contain additional calming ingredients like oat derivatives and niacinamide, which can help restore and soothe your skin barrier while maintaining your skin’s hydration levels.

Step 3: Nourishing Moisturizer

Moisturizing is essential for repairing a compromised skin barrier. After applying your hydrating serum, follow up with a nourishing moisturizer designed to replenish your skin’s lipid barrier. Choose a product that contains ingredients like barrier-repairing ceramides, plant oils, and squalane. These ingredients mimic the natural lipids in your skin, helping to seal in moisture and repair the damaged barrier, restoring its integrity and strength.


For this, we love Barrier Therapy Skin Protectant Cream, a multi-ceramide cream clinically tested to provide 24 hour moisture and temporarily alleviate itchiness and irritation due to dry skin and eczema. Formulated with a complex of ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol to increase hydration and support the skin barrier function, Barrier Therapy also boasts skin soothing and calming ingredients: colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, and adenosine to effectively target the itchiness, irritation, and sensitivity associated with compromised skin.

Step 4: Sunscreen

Don't skip this crucial step. Your skin barrier helps protect your skin from UV damage, and a compromised barrier reduces its ability to do so effectively. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Look for sunscreens containing niacinamide and antioxidants to provide additional support to your skin barrier while shielding your skin from the sun's harmful rays.


Repairing your skin barrier takes time and consistency. Sticking to a consistent skincare routine for several weeks is essential for significant improvements.


Your skin barrier is your first line of defense against environmental stressors, and nurturing it is vital for healthy, glowing skin. By following this dermatologist-approved morning skincare routine, you can effectively repair and strengthen your skin barrier, leading to a healthier complexion. Listen to your skin's needs and adjust your routine accordingly. With dedication and the right products, you'll be well on your way to achieving a resilient, high functioning skin barrier.





DISCLAIMER: All skin care articles are intended to help educate on specific ingredients and skin care topics. Our articles are written to be informative and informational. Any reference to a specific patient experience is not a medical suggestion for treatment. Please note that any Prequel products with referenced ingredients are formulated for Cosmetic Use Only and NOT intended as replacements for physician advice and/or pharmaceutical product recommendations.

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