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

In all my 30+ years of being an esthetician, I’ve by no means seen as many individuals come to me with issues over delicate pores and skin as I’ve in the previous couple of years. I’m virtually 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 doubt that having a strong moisture barrier is a key part of wholesome pores and skin, and on the one hand, I’m glad folks have a greater understanding of this idea. I believe it helps stop pores and skin points that may be brought on by consumer error, resembling over-exfoliation. 

However in the case of broken pores and skin limitations, I counsel everybody to take a step again and settle down. Individuals 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 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 limitations are not as broken as we expect they’re. To grasp why, let’s take slightly journey down reminiscence lane. 

Skincare within the ‘80s

Let me let you know, the skincare business 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 may both use a brilliant drying bar cleaning soap or a foaming cleanser that was positive to be loaded with drying sulfates. The binders which can be utilized in bar cleaning soap give it a pH that isn’t suitable 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 to your face! Again then no person knew what a moisture barrier was, main folks to wash 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 solely astringent again then (anybody bear in mind SeaBreeze or Ten-O-Six?). To get that astringent impact, they normally had drying alcohols in them. Some of the well-liked 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’d display its capability 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 an enormous 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 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 well-liked 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 you must use it twice a day and in flip, turned the rationale I noticed so many individuals rubbing their pores and skin uncooked. 

Facial Scrubs

Facial scrubs additionally turned well-liked throughout this time. Nonetheless, most of them consisted of jagged bits of walnut shells or apricot pits. To the shock of many, I truly nonetheless suppose facial scrubs will be extraordinarily helpful, particularly for hyperpigmentation. This was an unpopular opinion for a very long time as a result of folks had 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, probably on account of repetitive TV commercials and illustrious endorsements from everybody’s favourite celebrities. When 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 extensively used skincare actives at the moment, however let’s not overlook 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 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 once I acquired my fingers 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 humid 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 search out out, I used to be truly 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 all the things to totally heal. 


I used to be additionally round when retinoids went mainstream for the remedy of wrinkles and photoaging. They’d traditionally been used to deal with pimples, however the FDA ultimately permitted them for anti-aging (I even met the dermatologist who was instrumental in getting them permitted). 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 schooling. The following few weeks I used to be booked strong with all these shoppers who had been working to their esthetician to restore all of the dryness, sensitivity, and harm that had been triggered. I had a consumer 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 out there 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 method too robust for them.

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

For sure, everyone seems to be way more educated about methods to use energetic components now. Exfoliating acids at the moment are out there 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 light and well-formulated. Various kinds of acids, like lactic and mandelic, are an possibility for even essentially the most delicate pores and skin varieties. And retinoids? There are such a lot of several types of retinoids out there now. Once more, all completely different sorts of strengths and bases—some extra light and hydrating than others relying in your wants. With a wealth of schooling out there about methods to correctly use retinoids, folks now know methods to mitigate unintended 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, plenty 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 folks use them and the way manufacturers promote their merchandise is essential to deal with. For instance, an exfoliating acid serum might have a fantastic, light formulation. However, should you’re utilizing it each single day of the week, you’re nonetheless going to get a compromised barrier. 

Training In Skincare

Shoppers are extra educated than ever earlier than, and one purpose is that manufacturers lean way more closely into product schooling, which I’ve at all times thought was tremendous vital. I believe the principle hazard now’s that whereas info is extra available than ever, there’s a lot of it that it may be a double-edged sword. Individuals get info from sources that aren’t respected, and their pores and skin can develop into compromised on account of consumer 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 slightly higher and there are extra choices to select from. This implies you will discover merchandise which can be appropriate to your distinctive pores and skin as a substitute of everybody accessing the identical few merchandise like again within the day. I based mostly my complete 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 towards her, at all times work along with her! It’s all about listening to your pores and skin and never overdoing it.

Questioning what to do should you’ve broken your barrier? When you overdo it and find yourself compromising your moisture barrier, right here’s methods to repair it