Exactly What We Use (And Don't Use) to Fix Our Cranky Impaired Skin Barriers

Best products for impaired barrierBest products for impaired barrier

We need to have a chat about your skin barrier.

Don't worry, it's nothing serious, but I have a feeling yours might be impaired (or at least has been at some point).

If you're into skincare, you'll know what I'm on about, but for any beauty newbies here, a healthy skin barrier is essential for good-looking skin.

Only, it's moody. And when your skin is freaking out, there's a good chance it's because your skin barrier is throwing a tantrum.

But what is a skin barrier and how do you know if yours is broken? Read on for everything you need to know about impaired skin barriers, and the best products to heal them.

What Is a Skin Barrier?

The sciency version: Your skin barrier is the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis) and contains your stratum corneum, which is made of skin cells, lipids, oils and our bodies' natural moisturising factors like amino acids and fatty acids.

Short version: It's a barrier protecting your skin to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. Basically it's a nightclub bouncer, for your face.

Paramedical Skin Therapist Katy Bacon told the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast to think of your skin barrier as a brick wall - your skin cells are the bricks, and the mortar is your lipids and moisturising factors.

"The skin barrier is the first line of defence between you and the outside world... and the last line of defence for keeping your body hydrated," she said.

"Its main jobs are to maintain balance, guard against pollution and external elements, protect us from UV and sun damage, and slow down water evaporation or transepidermal water loss."

You can listen to Hannah and Jo's full chat with Katy Bacon on all things skin barriers in this episode of the Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast below!

What Is an Impaired Barrier?

An impaired skin barrier is what happens when your bouncer stops checking IDs at the club and starts letting people walk out the door with bottles of booze from the bar. It's chaos.

Bacon added, "Back to the bricks analogy - if your mortar starts to crumble, the bricks aren't supported. It's the same for our skin. When the barrier is compromised, the lipid portion can't do its job. It's allowing all of our vital moisture to escape and enabling external irritants to penetrate."

What Causes a Damaged Barrier?

Here are just a few things that can impact your skin barrier:

  • External aggressors from sun damage and pollution.

  • Over-exfoliation or overuse of active skincare.

  • Incorrect skincare choices for your skin.

  • Seasonal or environment changes.

  • Illness and medication.

  • Stress and diet.

You can learn more about exfoliation and how not to overdo it in our YouTube video below!

How to Know If Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged.

How do I know if my barrier is damaged, you ask? Bacon said it can vary depending on your skin type.

"If you're a damaged oily skin, you might produce more oil. But a damaged dry skin can become rough or flaky. Compromised barriers can also worsen inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis."

The typical signs your skin barrier ain't happy include:

  • Redness and sensitivity.

  • Dehydration, dryness and flaky skin.

  • Rough texture to touch.

  • Stinging or burning.

  • Increased oiliness and breakouts.

What NOT to Use on an Impaired Skin Barrier.

Put simply, all the fun stuff.

"Less is more when it comes to active ingredients. Pull back on the use of actives for at least two weeks, and slowly reintroduce them with care. Same with wash cloths, facial cleansers and devices."

The Best Products to Repair Your Skin Barrier.

Skin barrier crying out for help? We've all been there. Literally, this was me two weeks ago.

Hannah's barrier has also been cranky lately, so we've pooled together our picks for the best products to repair your skin barrier.

Generally, look for products with skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, cermaides, naicinamide, oils and glycerine. And SPF! You must wear sunscreen when your barrier is impaired, very important!

These are the exact products we've been using recently to heal our poor barriers.

1. Murad Revitalixir Recovery Serum.

Murad Revitalixir Recovery SerumMurad Revitalixir Recovery Serum

This one is Hannah's picks, here's what she told me about it:

"My skin has been feeling sensitive and red - kinda like a sunburn. Even my AHA cleanser feels too much right now. A dermal clinician took one look and said I had an impaired barrier. My science experiments during iso haven't been helping..."

"I decided to drop every other serum in my routine and spend two weeks using only the Murad Revitalixir Recovery Serum with a soothing moisturiser over the top. It has caffeine to reduce puffiness. Tick. Hyaluronic acid to hydrate. Tick. Cannabis sativa seed oil to soften and smooth. Tick. And niacinamide to strengthen the skin's barrier. Big tick from me."

Check out Hannah's before and after photos from using the serum for about a week. Pretty good, eh?

Hannah Furst Skin BarrierHannah Furst Skin Barrier

2. SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser.

SkinCeuticals Gentle CleanserSkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser

Moving on to what I've been using. When I saw this cleanser was formulated for "sensitive or traumatised skin", I felt seen.

SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser is a mild, gentle cream cleanser that removes makeup and sunscreen without leaving the skin feeling tight or dry. I use it at night - I only wash my face with water in the morning.

This product is non-foaming and feels a bit like putting moisturiser on your wet face. The main ingredients are glycerine, orange oil (which gives a subtle citrus scent) and an emollient-rich surfactant system derived from coconut oil fatty acids.

3. Beaute Pacifique Defy Damage Serum.

Beaute Pacifique Defy Damage SerumBeaute Pacifique Defy Damage Serum

You'd think I'm on commission the way I bang on about this serum but I'm not, it's just that good.

It's mostly a hydrating, soothing serum with the tiniest bit of a gentle form of vitamin A. It uses sodium hyaluronate (the smaller molecule form of hyaluronic acid), squalane and vitamin E to hydrate and restore the skin, and is brilliant at reducing redness.

4. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Sensitive Moisturiser.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Sensitive MoisturiserLa Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Sensitive Moisturiser

Finally, I've been chucking the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Sensitive Moisturiser on top of my serum to lock in hydration, without causing any irritation.

This moisturiser is as inoffensive as they come. It's literally made from glycerine, squalane, a bit of shea butter, thermal spring water and the brand's soothing Neurosensine complex.

Here are my before and after photos from using these products in my routine for the last two weeks. I've noticed the redness and skin texture around my eyes, nose, mouth and chin have improved heaps.

Amy Clark skin barrierAmy Clark skin barrier

How Long Does It Take to Repair Your Skin Barrier?

Depends on what kind of condition it's in, but generally speaking, it takes between two to four weeks for your skin barrier to heal... if you treat it kindly. Any longer than that, seek expert advice to suss out what's going on.

Finally, to anyone with an impaired barrier, Godspeed! You've got this.

Want more great skincare product recommendations? Check out these stories from our Adore Beauty staff below!


Want to learn more? Here's the transcript of our Beauty IQ Uncensored podcast episode on repairing your skin barrier.

    
    

We try out ear candling on air and tell you all about it. Plus! We chat to skin therapist Katie Bacon on impaired skin barriers.

Beauty IQ Uncensored Episode 51 Transcript - 'Identifying & Fixing An Impaired Barrier'

    

 

Joanna Flemming:
Welcome everybody to Beauty IQ the podcast. I'm your host, Joanna Fleming.

Hannah Furst:
And I am your co-host Hannah Furst. Aldi sent us an email and I was beside myself.

Joanna Flemming:
I can't, I just can't. But also then the 7-Eleven also sent us a DM.

Hannah Furst:
Oh my gosh.

Joanna Flemming:
So we're kind of a big deal.

Hannah Furst:
I can't believe that in the same week we had Aldi and 7-Eleven-

Joanna Flemming:
I know.

Hannah Furst:
Send us, I just never thought that we'd be so excited by those two establishments.

Joanna Flemming:
Yes, neither.

Hannah Furst:
E-mailing us, but anyway this is where we're at. So basically 7-Eleven, because of that 7-Eleven triangle discussion that we had on Krispy Kremes, but Aldi also sent me a little package and they sent me pantyliners.

Joanna Flemming:
Love that for you.

Hannah Furst:
I was like, "I've made it."

Joanna Flemming:
You've made it. So that's 2020 for us. We can pretty much sign off now, we're getting free donuts and free pantyliners, that's all we wanted. So-

Hannah Furst:
What else do you need?

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah? Did I tell you that I learned the wap dance?

Hannah Furst:
The what? Oh my God, no you didn't.

Joanna Flemming:
I did. Yeah, I did. It was a couple of weeks ago. I forgot to tell you about it, but I kind of injured myself.

Hannah Furst:
Oh my God.

Joanna Flemming:
So just a warning for anyone over 25 that tries to learn the wap dance. I just did it to send to my friends because I thought they'd find it funny, and to be honest, it just looked like Mr. Burns doing it because that's the body type I have.

Hannah Furst:
How long did it take you to actually do it?

Joanna Flemming:
It took me an hour and a half to learn it.

Hannah Furst:
Wow.

Joanna Flemming:
It takes so much energy and you really got to put you back into it, but I did get several bruises on my knees and I got carpet burn on my elbows. But apart from that, I thought I might've strained a groin, but I'm okay now. So it was a really good workout, I was super sweaty.

Hannah Furst:
There's a line in the song about macaroni and cheese.

Joanna Flemming:
Yes.

Hannah Furst:
And I'm not sure if you're aware of the background on the macaroni and cheese, it's definitely not appropriate for this podcast. But what I can say.

Joanna Flemming:
Good call.

Hannah Furst:
Just type in Mac and cheese wap or wop, whatever it is, I feel so stupid right now.

Joanna Flemming:
This sounds like we're explaining Google to our parents or something so they can find it. They'll find it.

Hannah Furst:
It's on Buzzfeed news and it's an article that says W A P has given new life to this iconic vibe about what macaroni and cheese sounds like. So look, I think that gives it away, but just go check it out. It is one of the funniest videos I think I've ever seen.

Hannah Furst:
I'd love to see your dance on TikTok, Jo.

Joanna Flemming:
There is no way I'm uploading that, that was for personal use only. But I would encourage anyone who's up for a workout, definitely try and learn the wap dance because it is... It made me really sweaty.

Joanna Flemming:
Anyway, what is on today's episode Hannah?

Hannah Furst:
So on today's episode we are taking a little bit of inspo from our nose waxing episode and we're doing some ear candling on air. We are speaking to skin therapist Katie Bacon on impaired skin barriers, which is something I've been dealing with at the moment. And of course the products we didn't know we needed.

Joanna Flemming:
So I have seen a few of my friends do this and so really I just wanted to try it. Now we need to preface this segment by saying that we don't encourage people to do ear candling. Literally nobody recommends doing it, but look, Chemist Warehouse had them so I thought I'm going to pick a couple up.

Hannah Furst:
We play Russian roulette at Chemist Warehouse, like fungus, fungal nail. I sent Jo a picture one day and it was pure salicylic acid to burn warts off, and I was like, "This would be funny."

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah. Again, this is just one of those situations where we're trying something so that you don't have to. I've seen a few of my friends do ear candling and I honestly just wanted to try it. So I was going to do it anyway and then we were like, "We may as well just talk about on the podcast." So ear wax accumulations, I've looked up a medical journal just so that we're all across everything.

Hannah Furst:
We definitely need a medical journal involved.

Joanna Flemming:
The reason that this came up is because we've spoken before about how we both have really waxy ears and our AirPods are disgusting. And you've had yours suctioned out or flushed out.

Hannah Furst:
I had them flushed out but next I want to get them suctioned out.

Joanna Flemming:
So we're going to try this, and even though this isn't actually a form of earwax removal, we just wanted to try it for funsies. And then we're going to go and have our ear wax suctioned at some point. But obviously we can't do that right now, so we thought we'd just try this.

Hannah Furst:
Special guest Linda as well, helping me.

Joanna Flemming:
Special guest Linda. According to this medical journal, ear wax accumulation is one of the most popular otologic conditions seen in primary care. So removing earwax is one of those common ear, nose and throat procedures carried out in the community, which is very interesting. So obviously people are in the same boat as us.

Joanna Flemming:
So ear candling involves placing a hollow candle in the external auditory canal. A brown waxy substance, which some people believe to be a mixture of ear wax debris and bacteria is left in the candle stub. I don't know if there's any truth to that because it says that no evidence is available to suggest that ear candles are an effective treatment for any condition. So I read quite a few different things, there isn't any proof to suggest that whatever comes out of the candle is ear wax. Some people say that it's just part of the wax stuff that burns up and it's meant to look like ear wax to trick you into thinking that it's doing something. The ones that we bought, it actually doesn't say anywhere that it's for ear wax removal, it just says that it's for a healthy lifestyle.

Hannah Furst:
Wellness has taken it to the next level.

Joanna Flemming:
So we're both going to try it and see how we go with it and we're going to keep recording while we do it.

Hannah Furst:
All right. Yeah, I'm recording. Okay. So Linda, you've got to... You're helping me with this ear candling. So you're going to hold it in my ear.

Joanna Flemming:
All right. You ready?

Hannah Furst:
No, no. What you doing?

Joanna Flemming:
I think you ought to hold your head down further Han.

Linda:
But am I lighting it?

Hannah Furst:
I've got to hold down further?

Joanna Flemming:
Like flatter, yeah.

Linda:
Am I lighting it?

Joanna Flemming:
Yep.

Linda:
Are you joking?

Joanna Flemming:
No, I'm not joking.

Linda:
In it, or there?

Joanna Flemming:
On the top, you just light the top of it.

Linda:
In?

Joanna Flemming:
Yep.

Linda:
I don't think this should be done by... This should be a medical professional [inaudible 00:06:35] or a nurse.

Joanna Flemming:
Well we got it from him Chemist Warehouse, so.

Linda:
It's from Chemist Warehouse so it should be fine. It's our favourite retailer.

Joanna Flemming:
All right, I've got to light mine but I don't have a helper.

Hannah Furst:
What's happening, can you tell me what's happening?

Joanna Flemming:
It's just, it's a light. It's quite a big flame. I'm a little bit worried to do this on my own. Oh my God.

Linda:
It's steaming, what's going on?

Joanna Flemming:
What happened, what happened? Maybe... I think you're meant to not have it lit.

Hannah Furst:
No I think you are [inaudible 00:07:08]. You are.

Joanna Flemming:
Oh, okay. Well should we read the instructions?

Linda:
You're going to set off a smoke alarm.

Joanna Flemming:
What? Ah, we're going to set off a smoke alarm. I'm lighting mine to see what happens before I put it in my ear.

Hannah Furst:
I feel like you shouldn't do this on your own.

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah, it smokes up your ear. Look at that.

Hannah Furst:
I think maybe it's meant to do that.

Joanna Flemming:
It seems really smokey for an indoor situation. I feel like I'm going to see [inaudible 00:07:34]. Should this be outdoors?

Linda:
It's a bit smokey for an indoor activity.

Joanna Flemming:
It certainly is.

Hannah Furst:
Why don't... Mum and I will go do it outside.

Joanna Flemming:
Okay.

Hannah Furst:
And we'll be back. I'll bring... Actually I'll bring the phone out. All right. I don't know. I'm not going to be able to bring the mic so we might have to use the audio from the video. Good work Linda, you're doing well.

Hannah Furst:
Yeah, into the hole. Oh my gosh.

Joanna Flemming:
It says it takes about eight minutes to get down.

Linda:
It takes eight minutes? Wait, ours is going really, really quickly.

Joanna Flemming:
Oh really?

Hannah Furst:
Oh no. Now.... Okay, now it's... Are we worried that we going to light ourselves on fire right now?

Joanna Flemming:
Yes, I am very worried I'm going to light myself on fire. You've at least got a supervisor.

Hannah Furst:
Oh my God, this is fucking weird.

Joanna Flemming:
I don't feel like it's doing anything.

Hannah Furst:
I have no... Or, I just had a little [inaudible 00:08:29] in my ear.

Joanna Flemming:
Oh okay, all right.

Hannah Furst:
No I don't know.

Joanna Flemming:
I think we're going to have to be descriptive. So you're outside with Linda on your balcony and yours looks like a bonfire. Mine looks like a steady stream of flame, I'm holding my own.

Hannah Furst:
So I think you should blow it out now, that's too much. We don't want to go any-

Linda:
We're worried that the place is going to catch on fire.

Hannah Furst:
We can't do anymore [inaudible 00:00:08:53].

Joanna Flemming:
I'm pulling mine out then. All right. I'm going to have to go to the sink and put this out.

Linda:
This is a hazard.

Hannah Furst:
Oh my gosh.

Joanna Flemming:
So that didn't really go to plan.

Hannah Furst:
No.

Joanna Flemming:
We both panicked and-

Hannah Furst:
I definitely don't think I would recommend doing that at home.

Joanna Flemming:
No, it's really smoky.

Hannah Furst:
Yeah, I think if you did it maybe in your bathroom with the fan on or if you did it under the stove, under the fan.

Joanna Flemming:
Oh, that's a good idea, yeah.

Hannah Furst:
Anyway, that wasn't... There's no real beauty aside from what, it'll change your life? Is that what you said?

Joanna Flemming:
What did it say? It helps you live a healthier lifestyle, so I feel much better already.

Hannah Furst:
I already feel like I'm living a much healthier lifestyle.

Joanna Flemming:
I think the moral of this story is you probably don't need to try ear candling because I don't think it brought much to either of our lives, and my ears are certainly still waxy, so.

Hannah Furst:
My only thing that I will say on these kind of wellness products is I think if we use the analogy of a massage with essential oils and there's no... I don't think there's any medical claims that, like a non-remedial massage is going to... But it really does make me feel better.

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah. So ear candling might make some people feel better.

Hannah Furst:
So I think on that same token, I think if it makes you feel better, I think go for it.

Joanna Flemming:
But again, it's not recommended by GPS and specialists, so.

Hannah Furst:
Colonics in Thailand aren't recommended by medical professionals.

Joanna Flemming:
But someone enjoys that.

Joanna Flemming:
Okay. My room smells so smoky now.

Joanna Flemming:
So today's podcast topic is actually one of my favourite things to talk about Hannah. I know that you can vouch for that, an impaired barrier. I love to drop that term. I requested this as well.

Joanna Flemming:
Yes he did actually. I actually reached out to paramedical skin therapist, nutritionist, and cosmetic chemist in the making Katy Bacon, who also works closely with Murad, and Katy, you're going to take us through what an impaired barrier is and why a healthy barrier is so important to the function of our skin. So welcome.

Katy Bacon:
Thank you, and thank you for having me. And that's a great question. So simply put, your skin barrier is the outer layer of your skin and it's called your epidermis and it contains your stratum corneum, which is made up of your skin cells, lipids, oils, and our body's natural moisturising factors like amino acids and fatty acids.

Katy Bacon:
So I like to think of it a bit like a brick wall. So you've got your brick wall with the mortar, and then your skin cells are the bricks with the mortar being your skins oils known as your lipids which creates your skin's barrier. So your skin is your body's largest organ, as I'm sure your listeners all know, and it's literally the first line of defence between you and the world outside and what I call the last line of defence for keeping your body hydrated. And really its main job is to maintain what we call homeostasis or balance.

Katy Bacon:
It's going to guard against your pollution and those external elements, of course protect us from UV and sun damage. And a lot of people also don't know that we share our barrier or our skin with trillions of bacteria which are called our microbiome. And I like to think of them as our second skin or part of our skin's immune system, but really the most important thing with your skin is it slows down water evaporation. It's what we call transepidermal water loss. And really it's so important in preventing us from drying out, because otherwise we'd end up a bit like a piece of jerky. So a great way of thinking of our barrier is it's a body guard. So it's going to keep the good in and the bad out.

Hannah Furst:
I think for me, I said to Jo the other day, I was like, "I think I have an impaired barrier," but I wasn't 100% sure. So can you tell us how would you know if you have an impaired barrier and what would actually be causing this to occur?

Katy Bacon:
Yeah, for sure. Well if we go back to that brick and mortar analogy that I mentioned, if your mortar starts to crumble your bricks aren't supported. So they become weakened. So it's the same for skin. So when our barrier is compromised, the lipid portion that supports our skin's natural moisturising factor really can't do its job. So it's allowing all of our vital moisture to escape. So in effect, the mortar has crumbled, and it really enables those external irritants our skin's supposed to protect us from, then penetrate.

Katy Bacon:
So that's when we start to notice those common signs of an unhappy skin. So you're impaired barrier could be from external aggressors such as your skin damage from UV and pollution which can more easily penetrate skin, could be over-exfoliation, incorrect skincare choices, even things like seasonal or environmental changes, stress, which I think we all know about right now, illness, diet, and of course medication affect our barrier. So the typical signs of your impaired barrier or it could be redness and sensitivity which you may be noticing yourself-

Hannah Furst:
Ye`ah red, but sensitive to touch.

Katy Bacon:
Yeah, absolutely.

Hannah Furst:
I always find it's most... I can most feel it on my forehead for some reason.

Katy Bacon:
Yeah, common. Common, yeah. Forehead, cheeks as well, a lot of people get red or irritated around the cheeks. So normal signs, dehydration of course, and it could be that you could be dry or flaky. It might be rough to touch if you get that stinging or burning. I think right now a common concern is COVID because we're now wearing a lot of face masks so people are noticing more breakouts also occurring. But one of the things is it's important to know is that... And it's signs of impaired barrier really do vary widely depending on your skin types, so if you're a damaged oily skin, you might produce more oil, whereas a damaged, dry skin could become rough or flaky. All of these symptoms are totally normal. That's why people often refer to it as skin freaking out because it's not really doing one particular thing or another.

Joanna Flemming:
And does an impaired barrier often get confused for other skin concerns, you mentioned all those different things, or does it contribute to skin concerns like acne worsening for example?

Katy Bacon:
Yeah. So the feeling you get in your skin when your barrier's compromised effectively is a sign of inflammation and skin damage. So there are many inflammatory skin diseases such as acne you mentioned, eczema, dermatitis, even psoriasis that are all affected by changes in the skin. To use your example, the case of acne, a compromised bearer can totally make this worse. So often people that have an oily skin hate moisturiser. They don't like the feel of it, they don't like when something is on the surface of their skin because they think it's going to make them break out.

Katy Bacon:
But as I mentioned before, skin needs both water and oil to stay healthy. So in the case of acne, these skin types can often be super dehydrated because they tend to be people that either over-exfoliate or often over-treat their skins, which can lead to that impaired barrier. And it's also incredibly important that if you are an oily skin that you use water bridge hydrators, so this is going to lead to a better functioning skin and actually less breakouts, not more.

Joanna Flemming:
Such good information, I'm loving this. So you mentioned dehydration, which I think is often really misunderstood. Can you explain the basics of dehydration in the skin?

Katy Bacon:
Yes, I may go on a tangent because my background is both nutrition as well as beauty. So there are totally two parts to dehydration. So you've got the internal element and the external element. So the common thread in most theories of why our body breaks down as we age is hydration, and we know that water is necessary to sell health and the human body is 50 to 65% water on any given day.

Katy Bacon:
But unfortunately when we drink water a lot of it just goes straight through us. It's not really going to our skin, although I absolutely do drink as much water as you can, but we want to make sure that we're eating water-rich fruits and vegetables. The reason being is that these are about 80% water and they're very nutrient dense, so they hold a whole host of healthy ingredients such as your antioxidants, phytonutrients, all of these are vitamins and minerals that fresh produce has that actually our skin loves to keep healthy and hydrated. But most people we know don't generally drink enough water or eat enough water-rich fruits and vegetables so our skin just doesn't have these building blocks it needs to retain what we call cellular hydration. And this is one element of dehydration.

Katy Bacon:
But then if we look externally, when our skin's barrier becomes compromised, skin also loses water, and we call this epidermal water loss as I mentioned before, and it leads to the skin imbalances we talked about and inflammation. So I don't know if you're like me, but generally if I'm a bit dehydrated I start to notice all of a sudden these fine lines of wrinkles pop up out of nowhere, my skin might look and feel rough. That's exactly a sign if you've had too much coffee, you tend to feel a hot face as well.

Hannah Furst:
Oh, I can't have coffee at all, we know that.

Joanna Flemming:
Our audience are aware.

Hannah Furst:
For other reasons we will not talk about.

Katy Bacon:
Okay. That's a good thing. So really reinforcing hydration inside and out is really key.

Hannah Furst:
I suspect I have an impaired barrier at the moment and I suspect it's because I'm mixing way too many acids with my retinol. I think I'm just over and I probably should be doing that. What should you do if you accidentally, I probably didn't do it accidentally, but accidentally impaired your skin's barrier? What kind of products should you stop using and what kind of products should you introduce?

Katy Bacon:
Yeah, look, we all do it. I think also when you've been in lockdown and there's so many fun, cool ingredients and technology out there it's easy to layer and mix and match. But over-exfoliation as you're finding is one of the biggest culprits of damaging our barrier, and sometimes very much less is more when it comes to active ingredients. So really it's a no brainer, but pull back on the use of actives for at least two weeks and then slowly reintroduce them with care. I say care. But once the barrier has repaired I'd also throw in devices like your Sonic cleansing brushes, wash cloths, these are also exfoliants that I think people forget about and they might be using an ultrasonic brush with their AHA cleanser for example, and this is all leading to extra irritation of the skin.

Katy Bacon:
Also general things like making sure you're using gentle non soap-based cleansing that's not going to strip away your skin's natural oils. So there are great new generation cleansers out there that remove even most waterproof makeup, your dirt, oils and debris, but restore scheme of things like prebiotics and skin food to help keep your barrier. So I know Murad has a great cleanser which is the prebiotic [inaudible 00:19:58] one that kind of ticks all of those boxes if you are finding your skin's feeling a little bit compromised, but I think with the weather and probably with iso as well we're having these lovely luxuriously long hot showers, and a lot of people put their face directly in hot water.

Katy Bacon:
So we know that hot water can also wreak havoc on our skins barrier. It causes a lot of redness and sensitivity, especially when our skin's resilience is low, like in winter. So then if we whack on a whole lot of AHA's and resurfacing ingredients on top of that, our skin's not going to really thank us too much for all of this extra stuff that we're doing to it. So generally in winter, sometimes it's the less is more approach is good for when we've overdone it with our skin.

Hannah Furst:
Yeah. Well, you mentioned the seasonal change. Does that impact what you should be using if you have an impaired barrier?

Katy Bacon:
Yeah, for sure. In winter, often they say in winter start all your retinols which is true because we're not getting a lot of sun exposure, but in winter it's... We don't have the humidity. So particularly in Australia here, so we've got a drier climate. So we've also in air conditioning, we've got wind, we've got all of these factors that are pulling water out of our skin, and we're not producing or having as much hydration in the environment.

Katy Bacon:
Whereas in summer we have quite a humid climate which then leads to a slightly more hydrated skin, we might be a little bit oilier as well which acts as a barrier. So generally in winter our skin does tend to be slightly drier and more compromised due to the environment.

Hannah Furst:
Could you still use say your gentle cleanser, and then is something like a... I probably would just use like a hyaluronic acid, maybe a nice cyanamide and then use my moisturiser. Does that sound about right?

Katy Bacon:
Yeah, no cyanamide's great. It's an all round good guy when it comes to treating skin health and the barrier oil cleansers are amazing. Anything that's going to be rich in your ceramides, your omegas and your lipids. So I think everyone knows rosehip's great for skin barrier, hemp seed. I love CBD and cannabis sativa as ingredients, they're amazing at protecting the barrier, but one that's a bit of an unsung hero is actually glycerin. It's in most moisturisers, and glycerin and your hyaluronic acid are probably two of your best humectants, they help beautifully attract and bind water, they keep the skin healthy and hydrated and they also help to create that barrier protection for the skin. And people sort of see glycerin product and don't really think too much of it, but it is an amazing ingredient for your product and also for your skin when it is sensitised and compromised.

Joanna Flemming:
Totally agree with that. I think glycerin just does not get enough attention, to be honest, I think everyone... All the other ingredients get so much attention and love, and glycerin just doesn't. So on the topic of how long it takes your skin to actually repair itself, and I personally get asked this a lot, how long does it generally take your skin to recover if you've accidentally impaired your barrier?

Katy Bacon:
It's a great question, because it really depends on what's causing your concern and whether it's acute. So when I say it's acute, has it come on all of a sudden because we've overdone our AHAs and our retinols and over-exfoliated, or from wind burn for example, or whether it's what we call persistent low-grade inflammation, so is it a chronic condition such as your acne, your dermatitis and eczema, but generally inflammation peaks around day three and naturally does resolve itself really within two to four weeks if you treat it kindly. But of course if there's any irritation that persists past two weeks, it's definitely worth seeing or seeking expert advice just to make sure there's something not more sinister going on there.

Joanna Flemming:
All really great tips. I think this will help a lot of people get to the bottom of why their skin just isn't behaving itself. But as you said, we are in the lower parts of the country wearing face masks 24 seven. So, well not 24 seven but when we leave the house, so not being able to take away that part of it for people that are experiencing maskney, I'm sure they're very frustrated by it. But as you said, yeah it's... You can you heal it in the end. So Hannah, how's your impaired barrier going? Because I remember when we saw James Vivian, he identified that maybe you'd gone a little too hard and that was probably what six weeks ago maybe now?

Hannah Furst:
See look, I'll tell you what happens. During the week I'm very fastidious about my skincare routine and I'm like all the actives all the time. And then usually from Friday to Sunday I do nothing. I lie in bed and watch Netflix or on the couch, so I don't... So I think it's balancing out. I think that during the week I'm going a bit overboard and then on the weekends I do nothing, so.

Joanna Flemming:
Well, thank you so much for joining us today Katy. You can find Katy on Instagram at the travelling skin guru if you want to see more of her tips and what she's up to, but we've certainly learned a lot about an impaired barrier. So I hope everyone enjoyed that segment. Thanks for joining us Katy.

Katy Bacon:
Thank you.

Joanna Flemming:
Products we didn't know we needed Hannah.

Hannah Furst:
Basically OPI sent me a little care package for... I never, to be honest with you, when Shalak and SNS became really mainstream, I genuinely said to myself, "I will never use nail Polish again."

Joanna Flemming:
And little did you know a pandemic was on the way.

Hannah Furst:
I thought nail polish was like Blockbuster Video. Like Netflix had come along and I was never, ever, ever going to use a DVD again. I literally was like, "This is over." But what's really interesting is that we never ever know what's going to happen because the other day on Slack someone posted an update on masks sanitizer sales, and I was like, "If you had told me at the start of the year that we would be excited about how many masks sanitizers we sold at [inaudible 00:25:45] Beauty," I would have been like, "The world is over."

Hannah Furst:
There's no way that can happen. So this is kind of similar, I guess, we don't really know what's going to come back in vogue. And I think nail polish is having a comeback.

Joanna Flemming:
Yes, in a big way.

Hannah Furst:
In a really big way, and I've actually completely... We've had a discussion around how leaving SNS or Shalak on your nails for so long that you don't actually know what's going on under the surface of the nail can be... May not be recommended by dermatologists. So I actually think that this will be my new in between event, nails. I have been sent probably 50 nail polishes since lockdown started, and this is by far the best because it actually helps to grow longer, stronger nails. I have really weak nails that are prone to breaking, so this is the OPI Nail Envy.

Hannah Furst:
It's a nail strengthener, but what I like about the one I've got it's in bubble bath, which is actually your favourite colour, isn't it?

Joanna Flemming:
It is, that was the Shalak shade that I always got on my nails, which I haven't had in a very long time, but yeah.

Hannah Furst:
It's just a really, really nice pinky nude colour, it's just perfect. And I just think this has been like a bit of a game changer for iso because the problem is regular nail polish I find on my nails, because I have such weak nails, you've got super strong nails. But mine chip within a day.

Joanna Flemming:
Oh really, because they're so flexible.

Hannah Furst:
There's something about my nails that it just chips. I've been trying some other nail polishes and it just doesn't... And this one doesn't chip though.

Joanna Flemming:
Okay.

Hannah Furst:
Because it's the nail strengthener.

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah, there's Nail Envy original, which is just like a sheer nail strengthener, like a clear polish, and then they've got the coloured ones as well. And bubble bath is just the ultimate shade for anyone, it's the most popular bridal shade. It's just a beautiful sheer pink colour. It's just... I love it. I'm obsessed with it.

Hannah Furst:
So that is mine. What is yours?

Joanna Flemming:
Okay. Mine is actually to do with eyebrows. I know that I mentioned an eyebrow product a couple of weeks ago, which was the Bay Brow, but eyebrows are really the only thing I've been working on in isolation. I've still been doing exercise and stuff, but I've really been trying to get my eyebrows in good shape. I really wanted to get them a bit thicker and then have them properly shaped and do brow lamination after we get out of isolation. So that's my plan. So I really wanted to get them in a good spot.

Joanna Flemming:
And so I've been using my lash serum [inaudible 00:28:16] which I told you about, but I've also been using this Mac, it's called Eyebrows Big Boost Fibre Gel. In the past I've used the INIKA one, Brow Perfector, I've used Benefit Gimme Brow, I've used the [inaudible 00:28:29] Brow Gel. This one is amazing because it really makes your eyebrows look thicker, which I think for some people is really important if they've got quite fine brows and they really need to thicken them up to get that fluffy effect.

Joanna Flemming:
I don't necessarily need that because my eyebrows are quite thick anyway and I have the longest eyebrow hairs, which sometimes just looks a bit funny, but I've been using this. I've got the shade Spiked which is-

Hannah Furst:
I wanted to see if that was the same one, I think that's the same one that I've been using.

Joanna Flemming:
I recon you've got one too.

Hannah Furst:
Yeah. Big Boost.

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah.

Hannah Furst:
Is that the one?

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah. Have you been using it as well?

Hannah Furst:
In Spiked? Yeah, I've been using it too. You're right, it does give much thicker appearance.

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah, but it really does hold them in place, which I find a lot of brow gels after a couple of hours, they don't really hold them up. Like you know that brow lamination effect where they stay fluffy and brushed up the whole day, I really wanted to kind of emulate that, and this product does that really well. So that's what I've been using.

Hannah Furst:
I'm turning my video off because I want to show what I'm doing while you're talking.

Joanna Flemming:
Okay, yeah.

Hannah Furst:
I've just started putting it on. I just wanted to... As you were talking about it, I wanted to like-

Joanna Flemming:
Yes, it really does. See, look. Instantly fuller. I just think for anyone with quite fine or really light brows that wants that fluffy full effect, that's the perfect product.

Joanna Flemming:
It really does give fullness to your eyebrows but keeps them in place at the same time. So that's my product I didn't know I needed this week. And also to finish off, I just feel like I need to out my mom on something, she came-

Hannah Furst:
Love that.

Joanna Flemming:
She came to me yesterday I think it was, and I said, "Oh, I've got a cleanser here." I'd been sent a cleanser, I was like, "Do you want to try this in your shower?" And she had an Aspect one in there already, and she goes to me, "Oh yeah, I'll put that one next to the bath because I usually only cleanse when I wash my hair." And I was like, "You fucking what?" I was like, "Excuse me. You what?"

Joanna Flemming:
And she looked at me like, "Oh no, what have I said wrong?" And I was like, "Do you mean you're just washing your face with water when you have a?" Because she has a bath most nights, not a shower. And I was just like, [crosstalk 00:30:35]. She was just splashing her face with water.

Hannah Furst:
I really wouldn't judge her for that, because to be honest I've really, really stopped cleansing in iso, I've given up on life in general.

Joanna Flemming:
No Hannah.

Hannah Furst:
Honestly, I just... I finished the work day and I do use my [inaudible 00:30:54] water, but the thought of washing my face some days, it's just like, "Who am I going to see?"

Joanna Flemming:
See that's my self care, is washing my face. That brings me to life. So I can't and I don't understand how people don't find that the way to start your day or to end your night, I don't know, there's something about it that's like a self care thing for me. I don't feel like I've done my skincare if I haven't done a proper cleanse.

Hannah Furst:
Yeah, no, no, no. I totally agree with you there. I do cleanse every morning though.

Joanna Flemming:
My mum listens to these podcasts every week, and I'm like, "Mum, how has this just come up between us? I feel like you should have mentioned this earlier, that you didn't have a cleanser to have by the bath."

Hannah Furst:
She does remind me a bit of Linda in that case I think.

Joanna Flemming:
Yes. I just didn't know that it was happening, now she has a cleanser by the bath and in the shower so that she can cleanse properly every day. So, yeah, she's sorted now. We hit a road bump but we're over it now.

Hannah Furst:
You're over it now.

Joanna Flemming:
We're back.

Hannah Furst:
Do we want to wrap up with anything?

Joanna Flemming:
Do we have anything else?

Hannah Furst:
Do I have anything else?

Joanna Flemming:
Leave that in Matthew. That sums us up.

Hannah Furst:
I seriously feel like the hardest part of my week is coming up with the intro and outros for this podcast, because when I listen back to these episodes, the thing that I love to listen to is the intros and outros, and I'm like... And that's just me listening to us. And it's becoming increasingly harder.

Joanna Flemming:
We've just got nothing to talk about right now.

Hannah Furst:
No I do have something, I haven't been outside my house since Sunday.

Joanna Flemming:
Okay. Is that what you wanted to wrap up with?

Hannah Furst:
Do you know what I'd love to hear from Victorian? What's the longest you've gone without going outside your house or apartment? This is I think the longest.

Joanna Flemming:
I went three days.

Hannah Furst:
So it's now Thursday and I have...This will be my fourth day without having stepped outside my house.

Joanna Flemming:
Oh, wow.

Hannah Furst:
I better get out today.

Joanna Flemming:
Yeah. I think just a walk will do you some good. Anyway, see you all next week.

Hannah Furst:
Thanks everyone for joining us today.

Joanna Flemming:
Don't forget to subscribe and tell your friends, it helps other people to discover us. And also we really want to know what you thought about these podcasts, so if you can leave us a review that would be much appreciated.