Your Moisture Barrier is Really 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 couple of years. I’m nearly sure that we have now social media to thank for this, because the time period “broken moisture barrier” has been burned into our collective psyche. There’s little question that having a sturdy 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 forestall pores and skin points that may be brought on by person error, corresponding to over-exfoliation. 

However in terms of broken pores and skin boundaries, I counsel everybody to take a step again and settle down. Folks have reached a little bit of a fever pitch considering their boundaries are both broken on a regular basis or broken past restore (spoiler alert, your pores and skin is resilient and may all the time bounce again!). Keep in mind, a “broken barrier” is simply 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 boundaries are not as broken as we expect they’re. To grasp why, let’s take a little bit journey down reminiscence lane. 

Skincare within the ‘80s

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

Again within the ‘80s, cleanser choices have been far and few. You might both use an excellent drying bar cleaning soap or a foaming cleanser that was positive to be loaded with drying sulfates. The binders which are 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 have been paired with a Buf Puf, or what mainly served as a Brillo Pad in your face! Again then no one knew what a moisture barrier was, main individuals to clean and scrub at their pores and skin– particularly in the event that they have been pimples inclined. We now know that pimples is an anti-inflammatory situation and that irritating it like that is the final factor we need to do.

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

I’m a giant fan of toners for these 5 causes, however fashionable 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 have been involved about utilizing to maintain their pores and skin hydrated. This solely contributed to general dryness. 

Skincare within the ‘90s and ‘00s

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


By way of 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, grew to become the rationale I noticed so many individuals rubbing their pores and skin uncooked. 

Facial Scrubs

Facial scrubs additionally grew to become common throughout this time. Nevertheless, most of them consisted of jagged bits of walnut shells or apricot pits. To the shock of many, I truly nonetheless assume facial scrubs will be extraordinarily helpful, particularly for hyperpigmentation. This was an unpopular opinion for a very long time as a result of individuals have been scarred– each actually and figuratively– by old-school scrubs. I nonetheless imagine they are often very helpful, but it surely’s all about utilizing a contemporary scrub with light particles.


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

Exfoliating Acids 

They could be some of the broadly used skincare actives right now, however let’s not neglect how exfoliating acids began! When acids first got here onto the scene, nobody had any concept the way to use them correctly. They have been bought at extremely excessive percentages, and the formulation weren’t very properly stabilized as a result of the significance of pH with these merchandise wasn’t but properly understood. 

I got here to be taught this firsthand in 1992 after I received my arms on a pure 2% AHA glycolic acid gel. This was revolutionary on the time as a result of these acids have 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 seen my pores and skin was peeling off. I used to be excited, considering it was simply actually efficient. Come to search out out, I used to be truly wiping off new pores and skin cells. The subsequent day, my pores and skin was oozing badly and I developed scabs on my face. It took a month for all the things to totally heal. 


I used to be additionally round when retinoids went mainstream for the remedy of wrinkles and photoaging. That they had traditionally been used to deal with pimples, however the FDA finally authorised them for anti-aging (I even met the dermatologist who was instrumental in getting them authorised). In 1990, ABC Information broke a narrative about how there was an pimples prescription that was getting used off-label for the remedy of wrinkles. Everybody rushed out to get it and began utilizing it with little to no training. The subsequent few weeks I used to be booked strong with all these shoppers who have been operating to their esthetician to restore all of the dryness, sensitivity, and injury that had been triggered. I had a shopper are available 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 obtainable on the time (meant for oil, acne-prone pores and skin) which means that these susceptible to dryness have been caught utilizing a retinoid that was approach too robust for them.

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

Evidently, everyone seems to be rather more educated about the way to use lively components now. Exfoliating acids are actually obtainable in tons of various strengths, with stabilized formulation, and extra hydrating and soothing components. Astringent toners have been changed with hydrating essences. Bodily scrubs are actually light and well-formulated. Several types of acids, like lactic and mandelic, are an choice for even probably the most delicate pores and skin sorts. And retinoids? There are such a lot of various kinds of retinoids obtainable now. Once more, all totally different sorts of strengths and bases—some extra light and hydrating than others relying in your wants. With a wealth of training obtainable about the way to correctly use retinoids, individuals now know the way to mitigate unwanted 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, numerous 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 give attention to. For instance, an exfoliating acid serum might have an amazing, light formulation. However, when 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 all the time thought was tremendous essential. I believe the primary hazard now could be that whereas info is extra available than ever, there’s a lot of it that it may be a double-edged sword. Folks get info from sources that aren’t respected, and their pores and skin can turn out to be compromised resulting from person error. (And sure, persons 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 a little bit higher and there are extra choices to select from. This implies you’ll find merchandise which are appropriate in your distinctive pores and skin as an alternative of everybody accessing the identical few merchandise like again within the day. I based mostly my entire model on the concept 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, all the time work along with her! It’s all about listening to your pores and skin and never overdoing it.

Questioning what to do when you’ve broken your barrier? For those who overdo it and find yourself compromising your moisture barrier, right here’s the way to repair it