Tuned into TikTok lately for the latest in skincare trends? A new buzzword—or three, specifically—are taking over: Skin Barrier Repair. Right now, “skinfluencers,” skincare professionals and beauty connoisseurs can’t stop talking about strengthening the stratum corneum, a.k.a. the skin’s moisture barrier.
Why so much interest in skin barrier repair? And why now? “This next year is all about skin rehabilitation. As we’ve all experienced the effects of wearing masks and what that has done to our skin barrier, there’s an increased interest in taking care of it,” said Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York, to Bustle, an online women’s lifestyle magazine owned by BDG Group in New York.
“Barrier repair is such a huge conversation for myriad reasons. Because we’re wearing face masks daily, a lot of us are suffering from ‘maskne,’” said Sean Garrette, a licensed New York esthetician and barrier-repair advocate, in Glamour. In particular, he cited breakouts and irritation caused by the friction and heat from wearing a face mask.
A rare upside to the pandemic is extra time to pay more attention to our skin and ultimately, to implement better skincare techniques. “Unlike before, when people didn’t have the time or bandwidth to understand their skin and would rely on makeup to cover it up, they’re finally taking the time to understand how to repair their skin rather than just mask it,” said New York dermatologist Shereene Idriss, M.D. in Glamour.
What exactly is skin’s barrier and its function? Skin consists of several different layers, and the skin barrier is the outermost version. In short, it blocks irritants while retaining hydration. Think of the skin barrier as a brick-and-mortar structure: “The brick is made up of skin cells, and the mortar is made up of the lipids and proteins in between,” explained Mona Gohara, M.D, a Connecticut-based dermatologist, to Glamour. “Together, they keep water locked in and irritants out.”
Maintaining hydration is the skin barrier’s top priority—essential not only for a dewy glow, but an overall healthy complexion. And maintaining the barrier’s strength prevents transcutaneous evaporative water loss (TEWL), which can yield skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema.
Damaging the skin barrier not only leads to dehydration, but also irritation. Most barrier impairment stems from stripping the skin of its natural oils via harsh cleansers, acne medication and acids. Scrubbing too hard, waxing and using DIY ingredients like lemon and baking soda (along with alcohol and fragrance on sensitive skin) can further harm skin’s barrier.
Overutilizing the same ingredients for different steps within a skincare regimen—for example, a salicylic-acid face wash and toner—can also contribute to dehydration, noted Idriss, underscoring internal factors such as stress and hormones. Garrette observed that one of the main reasons his clients experience barrier damage is overly frequent exfoliation, resulting in sensitivity and irritation.
How to tell if your skin barrier is damaged? Overall irritation consisting of redness, scaly texture, itching and inflammation. Gohara also cited rashes; Garrette indicated stinging and burning when applying nonactive products such as cleansers or hydrating serums. Acne can also emerge, becoming exacerbated by harsh treatments.
Fortunately, reversing the damage is a relatively straightforward process; the experts advocate a less-is-more approach. “Allow your skin to renew itself, which includes avoiding all makeup,” said Idriss. “The thought of this is terrifying to my patients dealing with damaged skin barriers, but the short-term disturbance of skipping makeup is worth the long-term gain of clear, smooth skin.”
Garette agreed with a reduced routine, including a two- or three-week break from active products such as exfoliants, plus ingredients including retinol and Vitamin C. “Focus on healing, hydrating, nourishing and skin-replenishing ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, cholesterol, beta glucan, sodium PCA, squalane and centella asiatica,” he added.
“We’re seeing more and more clients who are in need of barrier repair and hydration than ever before,” noted Shiri Sarfati, a Miami-based licensed esthetician, in Bustle. Even skincare devotees are scaling back on too much exfoliation, Sarfati added, realizing that they’ve damaged their complexions. “Products that address this need will continue to be on the rise—look for ingredients such as peptides and seaweed to help heal a compromised skin barrier.”
Regardless of preferred products, said Gohara, stick to a balmy texture and keywords such as “hydrating” and “soothing.” Garshick advocated simple moisturizing with ingredients such as ceramides to support the skin barrier, as well as products with a protective shield to help retain moisture and minimize irritation.
Besides repair itself, protecting and strengthening skin’s barrier to help prevent future damage is must. As Idriss stated, “Stop playing chemist. So many people are overdoing it with their skincare routines and harming themselves in the process. Take the time to understand your skin’s issues. Address them one by one—not all simultaneously.” For new products within any skincare routine, introduce them gradually and take caution with actives. “Slow and steady wins the race and saves your skin barrier in the process,” she added.
Gohara concurred, recommending gentle, non-soap cleansers while incorporating barrier-repairing ingredients like ceramides, glycerine and centella into a daily routine. With the exception of highly acne-prone skin, exfoliation one to three times a week should suffice. Careful consideration can make all of the difference as well, she added: “If your skin is too dry, or appears irritated or itchy, take a moment to identify which product in your routine may be the culprit.”
Among Sheer Miracle’s best-bet products to boost Skin Barrier Repair is its Honey Belle Relief Serum (https://www.sheermiracle.com/honey-belle-relief-serum-for-acne/), which calms redness and soothes irritation with tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender and frankincense. In addition, Sheer Miracle’s Sea Mineral Hydrating Mist (https://www.sheermiracle.com/sea-mineral-hydrating-mist/) features all-natural sea minerals, organic ingredients including aloe leaf juice, organic extracts (i.e., kelp, blue green algae and white willow bark), along with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E.
#Sheermiracle #Skinbarrierepair #Skinfluencers #Dermatology
SOME STANDOUT "SKINFLUENCERS"
What are the most popular accounts on TikTok for “skinfluencers?” Screen Shot Media in London— “a Gen Z publisher and full-service agency making content that cuts through,” according to its LinkedIn profile—cites two in particular.
A La Jolla, CA-based licensed dermatologist specializing in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Azadeh Shirazi/@skinbydrazi commands 6 million TikTok followers, 12.9 million total likes and a 4.5 per cent engagement rate. Her educational videos feature professional advice on ingredients to avoid mixing in layering products, specific types of acne and treatments, plus routines, tutorials and product reviews.
With 213,000 followers on TikTok, 2.3 million total likes and a 7.4 percent engagement rate, licensed esthetician Allissa Streibel/@skinbyliss’ videos offer advice on battling acne, the difference between blackheads and sebaceous filaments, what ingredients mean and do as well as skincare dos and don’ts.
On Instagram and YouTube, New York-based analytics platform Trendalytics recommends several “skinfluencers” to follow.
Cassandra Bankson / @CassandraBankson
Thriving as a model despite acne encouraged Cassandra Bankson to share her skincare struggles and successes with the world. She has since amassed more than 1.18 million YouTube subscribers and nearly 200K likes on TikTok. Best known for her reviews on celebrities’ routines, science-based skincare videos and cruelty-free makeup posts, Cassandra is at the forefront of the “Skinfluencer” movement.
Renee Chow / @Gothamista
With nearly 200K Instagram followers and over half a million YouTube subscribers, Renee Chow first entered the beauty space as a buyer. Amid the hectic pace of residing in New York, skincare and self-care help keep her sane. To help others find a budget-friendly skincare routine, Chow began sharing tips and tricks on YouTube, and now runs her own blog and website.
Tina Craig / @BagSnob
Tina Craig initially launched the Bag Snob, one of the world’s first-ever fashion blogs. Fifteen years later, she’s shifted gears into skincare. Not only did she found U-Beauty, known for its award-winning anti-aging serum; she’s also become a leader in the skinfluencer space. With a following of over 466K, she reaches a wide range of demographics globally.
Dr. Shereene Idriss / @ShereeneIdriss
A New York board-certified dermatologist, the aforementioned Idriss entered the influencer sphere after becoming frustrated by misinformation circulating about skincare. Regularly featured in Allure and on Glossier’s blog, and best known as the “Pillow Talk Derm,” she dives deeply into her 213K followers’ questions on Instagram nightly before bedtime.
Dr. Andrea Suarez / @DrDrayZDay
With almost one million YouTube subscribers, Dr. Andrea Suarez (a.k.a. Dr. Dray) is a board-certified dermatologist and skincare enthusiast in Denver. CO. Her main following is on YouTube, but Suarez has garnered more than 165K Instagram followers and racks up an average of 39K weekly searches on Google. Her daily YouTube videos cover everything from choosing the right pillow for your skin to CVS skincare hauls.
Vi / @WhatsOnVisFace
This self-proclaimed “SPF mom” has amassed almost 5 million likes on TikTok with her comedic approach to skincare. She has collected more than 300K TikTok followers and 90K Instagram followers by critiquing the biggest skincare trends and fads—including jade rollers and Clarisonic tools. To Vi, skincare is self-care, which she shares with her following.
Susan Yara / @SusanYara
A former Miss New Mexico, Susan Yara is the founder of Mixed Makeup and co-founder of Naturism, a plant-based biocompatible skincare company. Having begun her career as a journalist at Forbes, she soon realized her passion was for beauty and wellness and began to connect with fellow skincare influencers and founders. Of Asian/Latina descent, she relates to a global community of all ages.
Liah Yoo / @LiahYoo
Initially a YouTube vlogger, Seoul-based Liah Yoo has since amassed more than one million subscribers; on TikTok, she now has more than one million likes. Although every video she makes is in English, she adds Korean subtitles for her global audience. In addition to posting routines and reviews, she founded Krave Beauty to counteract expensive, ineffective skincare.