The hydrolipid barrier – what is it and how to rebuild it?

If you struggle with hypersensitive, irritated and  dry despite its moisturization, it may be a sign that your epidermal hydrolipid barrier is broken. There are many reasons for its damage, read how to rebuild it so that it fulfills its role.

What is the hydrolipid barrier?

The hydrolipid barrier is produced by the glands in our skin – sebaceous and sweat glands. It’s a mixture of sweat and sebum made mainly of water and lipids such as fats, waxes and cholesterol. Its composition changes with age. The lipid coat built in this way covers the surface of the epidermis.

The hydrolipid barrier is the skin’s first line of defense against external factors (pollution, pathogens, weather conditions). It creates an occlusion that prevents epidermal water loss. Thanks to the intact lipid layer, the skin is moisturized, has a healthy appearance and fulfills its protective functions.

A damaged hydrolipid layer – how to recognize it?

A damaged lipid barrier, which does not function properly, does not protect the skin sufficiently, all skin problems can be exacerbated. The functioning of the glands is then disturbed and it will be manifested mainly by:

  • skin irritation
  • overdrying
  • hypersensitivity
  • dryness
  • feeling of tightness

Another abnormality in the functioning of the sebaceous glands is the overproduction of sebum and the skin becomes oily, which in turn can cause inflammation. Therefore, not only people with dry skin, but also those with oily skin, should take care to rebuild the hydrolipid barrier.

The causes of the damaged lipid coat

The causes of damage to the lipid layer may be:

  • too aggressive cleansing of the skin

The use of cleansing products based on strong detergents may disrupt the hydrolipid barrier. Cosmetics with a high amount of drying alcohol in the composition (Alcohol, Alcohol Denat) will also be inappropriate. Too frequent washing of the skin and its excessive exfoliation will have a negative effect. Cleansing should be both chemically and mechanically gentle, rubbing the skin hard will irritate it.

  • atmospheric factors

UV radiation will be the most damaging to the hydrolipid layer, which is why it’s so important to use sunscreen. Temperature changes, frost and strong winds can also damage the protective barrier.

  • medicines

Antibiotics can sterilize the hydrolipid layer from the microbiome, and retinoids, i.e. drugs with a vitamin A derivative that are prescribed for acne treatment, will also exfoliate excessively.

How to rebuild the hydrolipid barrier?

Skincare for a damaged hydrolipid barrier should be gentle, aimed at soothing and strengthening the skin. If so far your cleansing was based on strong washing ingredients, you need to change the product to a more gentle one. For the time of rebuilding the protective layer, you should give up intensive peels and treatments with strong active ingredients, such as retinol or acids. You should also remember about daily sun protection.

What ingredients help to rebuild the hydrolipid barrier?

In order to restore the hydrolipid balance, first of all, one should reach for products rich in ingredients naturally present in the composition of the protective barrier. They should be nutrients, fatty substances (lipids). Mainly oils and butters, squalane, ceramides, NMF (natural moisturizing factor), which includes, among others urea, PCA acid, lactic acid salts and amino acids.

Examples of cosmetics that will help rebuild the hydrolipid layer:

  • Basiclab Krem lipidowy na zimę
  • Bielenda Professional Intensywnie Odżywczy Krem na Noc z Ceramidami
  • Mazidło konopne Polny Warkocz
  • Basiclab Serum regenerujące strukturę skóry z ceramidami 1%
  • Uzdrovico balsamiczne serum
  • Sylveco krem brzozowy z betuliną

It’s worth remembering about the protective layer of the epidermis and taking care of it in your skincare, also prophylactically, using delicate cosmetics for everyday use. When the hydrolipid layer is functioning properly, the skin will be moisturized, supple and radiant.

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