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 issues over delicate pores and skin as I’ve in the previous couple of years. I’m virtually sure that we now have 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 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 feel it helps forestall pores and skin points that may be brought on by consumer error, corresponding to over-exfoliation. 

However with regards to 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 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 boundaries are not as broken as we predict they’re. To know why, let’s take a bit journey down reminiscence lane. 

Skincare within the ‘80s

Let me let you know, the skincare business has come a good 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 dangerous? Let’s take a better look.

Again within the ‘80s, cleanser choices have been far and few. You possibly can both use a brilliant drying bar cleaning soap or a foaming cleanser that was certain to be loaded with drying sulfates. The binders which might 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 have been paired with a Buf Puf, or what principally served as a Brillo Pad in your face! Again then no one knew what a moisture barrier was, main individuals to wash and scrub at their pores and skin– particularly in the event that they have been zits inclined. We now know that zits 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 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 vital well-liked cleansers on the time was Clinique No. 2, which contained not solely alcohol but in addition acetone. Anytime I heard that one among my purchasers was utilizing this toner, I’d exhibit 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 giant 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 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 well-liked 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 you need to use it twice a day and in flip, grew to become the explanation I noticed so many individuals rubbing their pores and skin uncooked. 

Facial Scrubs

Facial scrubs additionally grew to become well-liked 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 might be extraordinarily useful, 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 useful, nevertheless it’s all about utilizing a contemporary scrub with mild particles.


Proactive was one other product that rapidly rose to fame, probably resulting from repetitive TV commercials and illustrious endorsements from everybody’s favourite celebrities. In the event you had zits, you have been utilizing proactive. However their merchandise have 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 one of the crucial extensively 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 concept easy methods to use them correctly. They have 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 received my fingers 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 humid 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 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 authorized them for anti-aging (I even met the dermatologist who was instrumental in getting them authorized). 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 strong with all these purchasers who have been working to their esthetician to restore all of the dryness, sensitivity, and harm that had been brought on. I had a shopper 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 obtainable on the time (meant for oil, acne-prone pores and skin) which means that these liable to dryness have been caught utilizing a retinoid that was manner too robust for them.

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

For sure, everyone seems to be way more educated about easy methods to use energetic components now. Exfoliating acids at the moment are 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 at the moment are mild and well-formulated. Several types of acids, like lactic and mandelic, are an possibility for even essentially 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 mild and hydrating than others relying in your wants. With a wealth of training obtainable about easy methods to correctly use retinoids, individuals now know easy methods to mitigate uncomfortable side 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, loads 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 deal with. For instance, an exfoliating acid serum might have a fantastic, mild formulation. However, should you’re utilizing it each single day of the week, you’re nonetheless going to get a compromised barrier. 

Schooling In Skincare

Shoppers are extra educated than ever earlier than, and one cause is that manufacturers lean way more closely into product training, which I’ve at all times thought was tremendous vital. I feel the principle 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. Folks get data from sources that aren’t respected, and their pores and skin can develop into compromised resulting from 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 a bit higher and there are extra choices to select from. This implies you’ll find merchandise which might be appropriate in 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 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 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? In the event you overdo it and find yourself compromising your moisture barrier, right here’s easy methods to repair it