Your Moisture Barrier is Truly More healthy Than Ever—This is Why

In all my 30+ years of being an esthetician, I’ve by no means seen as many individuals come to me with considerations over delicate pores and skin as I’ve in the previous few years. I’m virtually sure that we’ve got social media to thank for this, because the time period “broken moisture barrier” has been burned into our collective psyche. There’s little doubt that having a strong moisture barrier is a key part of wholesome pores and skin, and on the one hand, I’m glad individuals have a greater understanding of this idea. I believe it helps stop pores and skin points that may be brought on by consumer error, similar to over-exfoliation. 

However on the subject of broken pores and skin limitations, I counsel everybody to take a step again and settle down. Folks have reached a little bit of a fever pitch considering their limitations are both broken on a regular basis or broken past restore (spoiler alert, your pores and skin is resilient and may at all times bounce again!). Bear in mind, a “broken barrier” is barely a modern-day time period for having dry, delicate pores and skin– it’s nothing to lose sleep over and it’s removed from a everlasting situation. Our limitations are not as broken as we predict they’re. To grasp why, let’s take slightly journey down reminiscence lane. 

Skincare within the ‘80s

Let me let you know, the skincare trade has come a great distance since I entered the scene as an esthetician in 1988. The common skincare routine consisted solely of three steps: cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Don’t suppose this sounds too dangerous? Let’s take a better look.

Again within the ‘80s, cleanser choices had been far and few. You would both use a brilliant drying bar cleaning soap or a foaming cleanser that was positive to be loaded with drying sulfates. The binders which might be utilized in bar cleaning soap give it a pH that isn’t appropriate with our pores and skin, making them notoriously harsh and drying. Even worse, these cleansers had been paired with a Buf Puf, or what mainly served as a Brillo Pad on your face! Again then no person knew what a moisture barrier was, main individuals to clean and scrub at their pores and skin– particularly in the event that they had been pimples inclined. We now know that pimples is an anti-inflammatory situation and that irritating it like that is the final factor we wish to do.

When it got here to toners, they had been fully astringent again then (anybody bear in mind SeaBreeze or Ten-O-Six?). To get that astringent impact, they normally had drying alcohols in them. One of the fashionable cleansers on the time was Clinique No. 2, which contained not solely alcohol but additionally acetone. Anytime I heard that certainly one of my purchasers was utilizing this toner, I might display its means to take away my nail polish proper in entrance of their eyes. It didn’t take lengthy to conclude it’s undoubtedly not one thing you need in your face!

I’m an enormous fan of toners for these 5 causes, however trendy toners are alcohol-free and ship hydrating, nourishing components into the pores and skin.

Lastly, moisturizers weren’t one thing that these with oily, acne-prone pores and skin had been involved about utilizing to maintain their pores and skin hydrated. This solely contributed to total dryness. 

Skincare within the ‘90s and ‘00s

The ‘90s and early aughts ushered in a brand new crop of fashionable merchandise, however most of them had been simply as dangerous. 


When it comes to exfoliation, the Buf Puf was simply changed by Clarisonic. It was marketed that it is best to use it twice a day and in flip, turned the explanation I noticed so many individuals rubbing their pores and skin uncooked. 

Facial Scrubs

Facial scrubs additionally turned fashionable throughout this time. Nevertheless, most of them consisted of jagged bits of walnut shells or apricot pits. To the shock of many, I really nonetheless suppose facial scrubs could be extraordinarily useful, particularly for hyperpigmentation. This was an unpopular opinion for a very long time as a result of individuals had been scarred– each actually and figuratively– by old-school scrubs. I nonetheless imagine they are often very useful, however it’s all about utilizing a contemporary scrub with mild particles.


Proactive was one other product that shortly rose to fame, doubtless attributable to repetitive TV commercials and illustrious endorsements from everybody’s favourite celebrities. In the event you had pimples, you had been utilizing proactive. However their merchandise had been heavy on drying components like benzoyl peroxide, and so they didn’t present a lot compensation in the best way of moisture. 

Exfoliating Acids 

They might be one of the broadly used skincare actives right this moment, however let’s not neglect how exfoliating acids began! When acids first got here onto the scene, nobody had any thought methods to use them correctly. They had been offered at extremely excessive percentages, and the formulation weren’t very nicely stabilized as a result of the significance of pH with these merchandise wasn’t but nicely understood. 

I got here to study this firsthand in 1992 after I obtained my arms on a pure 2% AHA glycolic acid gel. This was revolutionary on the time as a result of these acids had been pretty unknown (even amongst skincare professionals!). Per the directions, I stored it on my pores and skin for 10 minutes, rinsed it off, then wiped my face with a moist washcloth. As I wiped, I observed my pores and skin was peeling off. I used to be excited, considering it was simply actually efficient. Come to seek out out, I used to be really wiping off new pores and skin cells. The following day, my pores and skin was oozing badly and I developed scabs on my face. It took a month for every part to completely heal. 


I used to be additionally round when retinoids went mainstream for the therapy of wrinkles and photoaging. That they had traditionally been used to deal with pimples, however the FDA finally accredited them for anti-aging (I even met the dermatologist who was instrumental in getting them accredited). In 1990, ABC Information broke a narrative about how there was an pimples prescription that was getting used off-label for the therapy of wrinkles. Everybody rushed out to get it and began utilizing it with little to no training. The following few weeks I used to be booked stable with all these purchasers who had been working to their esthetician to restore all of the dryness, sensitivity, and harm that had been brought about. I had a consumer are available in as soon as with tremendous dry pores and skin from utilizing a prescription retinoid, and when she sat down and smiled at me, her nasolabial folds actually cracked and bled proper in entrance of my very eyes. There was just one energy of retinoid accessible on the time (meant for oil, acne-prone pores and skin) which means that these susceptible to dryness had been caught utilizing a retinoid that was manner too robust for them.

The place We’re At Now (and Why Your Boundaries are Safer Than Ever)

For sure, everyone seems to be rather more educated about methods to use energetic components now. Exfoliating acids at the moment are accessible in tons of various strengths, with stabilized formulation, and extra hydrating and soothing components. Astringent toners have been changed with hydrating essences. Bodily scrubs at the moment are mild and well-formulated. Various kinds of acids, like lactic and mandelic, are an choice for even probably the most delicate pores and skin varieties. And retinoids? There are such a lot of several types of retinoids accessible now. Once more, all completely different sorts of strengths and bases—some extra mild and hydrating than others relying in your wants. With a wealth of training accessible about methods to correctly use retinoids, individuals now know methods to mitigate uncomfortable side effects slowly (like making use of moisturizer beneath). Even make-up is much more nourishing than it was once! Again when matte was the look, basis make-up was largely contributing to dryness. Now, a number of make-up has skincare components in it.

The ethical of the story is that merchandise now are far gentler than they’ve ever been earlier than. Which means that how individuals use them and the way manufacturers promote their merchandise is essential to concentrate on. For instance, an exfoliating acid serum may have a fantastic, mild formulation. However, in case you’re utilizing it each single day of the week, you’re nonetheless going to get a compromised barrier. 

Schooling In Skincare

Customers are extra educated than ever earlier than, and one motive is that manufacturers lean rather more closely into product training, which I’ve at all times thought was tremendous vital. I believe the primary hazard now could be that whereas data is extra available than ever, there’s a lot of it that it may be a double-edged sword. Folks get data from sources that aren’t respected, and their pores and skin can change into compromised attributable to consumer error. (And sure, individuals are nonetheless seeing DIY skincare recipes involving placing lemon juice on their pores and skin. One of many many causes I’m not a fan of DIY skincare.)

How Merchandise Are Extra Efficacious Now

Merely put, merchandise are extra efficacious now as a result of we perceive the pores and skin’s wants slightly higher and there are extra choices to select from. This implies yow will discover merchandise which might be appropriate on your distinctive pores and skin as a substitute of everybody gaining access to the identical few merchandise like again within the day. I based mostly my entire model on the concept that everybody’s pores and skin is exclusive and has its personal wants, that’s why I created the Nine Skin Types. As a result of merchandise are much less harsh we’re working in sync with mom nature. By no means go in opposition to her, at all times work together with her! It’s all about listening to your pores and skin and never overdoing it.

Questioning what to do in case you’ve broken your barrier? In the event you overdo it and find yourself compromising your moisture barrier, right here’s methods to repair it