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Your Moisture Barrier is Really 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 considerations over sensitive skin as I’ve in the previous few 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 feel it helps stop pores and skin points that may be attributable to person error, equivalent to over-exfoliation. 

However relating to 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 all the time 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 a bit of journey down reminiscence lane. 

Skincare within the ‘80s

Let me inform you, 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 assume this sounds too unhealthy? Let’s take a better look.

Again within the ‘80s, cleanser choices had been far and few. You would both use an excellent 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 on your face! Again then no person knew what a moisture barrier was, main individuals to wash and scrub at their pores and skin– particularly in the event that they had been zits inclined. We now know that zits 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 completely 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 crucial standard cleansers on the time was Clinique No. 2, which contained not solely alcohol but in addition acetone. Anytime I heard that one among my shoppers was utilizing this toner, I’d display its skill 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 big fan of toners for these five reasons, 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 general dryness. 

Skincare within the ‘90s and ‘00s

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


By way of 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 standard throughout this time. Nonetheless, most of them consisted of jagged bits of walnut shells or apricot pits. To the shock of many, I really nonetheless assume facial scrubs could be extraordinarily helpful, 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 helpful, however it’s all about using a modern scrub with gentle particles.


Proactive was one other product that rapidly rose to fame, seemingly as a result of repetitive TV commercials and illustrious endorsements from everybody’s favourite celebrities. In the event you had zits, 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 could be probably the most broadly used skincare actives as we speak, however let’s not overlook how exfoliating acids began! When acids first got here onto the scene, nobody had any concept methods to use them correctly. They had been bought at extremely excessive percentages, and the formulation weren’t very effectively stabilized as a result of the significance of pH with these merchandise wasn’t but effectively understood. 

I got here to be taught this firsthand in 1992 once I bought 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 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 really 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 the whole lot to totally heal. 


I used to be additionally round when retinoids went mainstream for the therapy of wrinkles and photoaging. They’d traditionally been used to deal with zits, 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 zits 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 subsequent few weeks I used to be booked stable with all these shoppers who had been working to their esthetician to restore all of the dryness, sensitivity, and injury that had been prompted. 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 power of retinoid obtainable on the time (meant for oil, acne-prone pores and skin) that means that these vulnerable to dryness had been caught utilizing a retinoid that was approach too sturdy for them.

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

Evidently, everyone seems to be way more educated about methods to use energetic 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 mild and well-formulated. Various kinds of acids, like lactic and mandelic, are an choice for even essentially the most delicate pores and skin varieties. And retinoids? There are such a lot of different types of retinoids obtainable now. Once more, all totally different sorts of strengths and bases—some extra mild and hydrating than others relying in your wants. With a wealth of training obtainable about methods to correctly use retinoids, individuals now know methods to mitigate negative effects slowly (like making use of moisturizer beneath). Even make-up is much more nourishing than it was! 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. Because of this how individuals use them and the way manufacturers promote their merchandise is essential to deal with. For instance, an exfoliating acid serum may have an important, mild 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

Customers are extra educated than ever earlier than, and one cause is that manufacturers lean way more closely into product training, which I’ve all the time thought was tremendous essential. I feel the primary hazard now’s that whereas data is extra available than ever, there’s a lot of it that it may be a double-edged sword. Individuals get data from sources that aren’t respected, and their pores and skin can develop into compromised as a result of person 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 a bit of higher and there are extra choices to select from. This implies you could find merchandise which can 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 primarily based 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, all the time work together 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? In the event you overdo it and find yourself compromising your moisture barrier, here’s how to fix it

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