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Redness. Irritation. Dehydration. Flakiness. If you've experienced one or more of these skin conditions or symptoms, chances are your skin's moisture barrier may be impaired.
The skin's outer layer (AKA the moisture barrier) acts as a shield between you and the outside environment. Not only is the moisture barrier responsible for keeping your skin looking and feeling hydrated, but it also helps protect your body from outside irritants and bacteria. That's why it's super important that you keep your moisture barrier well-protected and hydrated. If your skin starts to feel dry, itchy, irritated, or inflamed (when it normally feels comfortable and balanced), then you may have yourself a case of a damaged moisture barrier. There are many different factors that could have compromised your barrier function including: over-exposure to the sun, extreme climate conditions, and/or frequent use of high-strength exfoliants and cleansing detergents.
Being a skin-care fan with relatively unproblematic, tolerant skin, I'm constantly trying new products and am always on the hunt for the next-best thing. While my skin can generally tolerate any ingredient you throw at it, I finally discovered my limit when I made the rookie mistake of introducing both pure vitamin C and retinol into my routine at the same time — not to mention in the dead of winter. Once a crop of flaking, irritated patches appeared on my cheeks overnight, I knew I needed to do some serious damage-control. Here is the skin-care routine that helped bring my moisture barrier back to life.