Education, Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

Is your moisture barrier unbalanced?

This could be affecting the smoothness of your skin.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Apr 19, 2022

Sometimes, a change in season is harsh on your skin. When spring moves in, so can skin redness, irritation, and sensitivity. Sound familiar? Well, it might not just be the weather that’s the problem. While it’s true that the weather changing warrants a change in routine, your moisture barrier might also be at fault. Only…what is a moisture barrier?


The operative word here is “barrier,” as in, something that’s meant to protect. Your skin’s moisture barrier is basically what defends your skin from free radicals. You know what those are: pollutants, toxins, UV rays, etc. And yeah, they can cause serious harm to your skin. The moisture barrier pulls double duty—keeps the bad stuff out, and locks the moisture in. So, if it gets harmed, your skin will suffer.


What damages the moisture barrier?

As strong as it is, it can also suffer pretty easily. Here’s some main causes of damage:



If you have sensitive skin to begin with, exfoliating is something you do sparingly. Even if not, exfoliation essentially removes what protects your barrier. Additionally, it dries out your skin, leading to dehydration. While you can remove dead skin with an exfoliant, make sure it’s gentle, and make sure you put that moisture back into your skin.


Changes in weather

One reason why you need to switch up your routines by season is so your skin stays protected. Think about it: Your skin will always be exposed to natural toxins, and if you’re not taking care of it properly, it’ll quickly deteriorate when the weather changes. For example, in the winter, your skin is prone to dehydration.



We’ve gone over how harmful pollution is and if you live in a city with lots of traffic with smog and fumes (like NYC), you’re more at risk for a damaged barrier. This’ll stress the protective layer of skin, and manifest itself in fine lines and dryness.


The sun’s rays

Here’s another reminder that sunscreen is important. It keeps your moisture barrier intact. UV rays weaken your barrier, and leads to hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Simply put, without sunscreen, your skin doesn’t stand a chance outside, or even near windows. (Yeah, UV rays are that powerful). Think of all the damage that power can do to the skin.


How to strengthen the moisture barrier

Along with dryness, you can tell your moisture barrier is damaged if you notice lots of small bumps on your forehead, as well as fine lines. Additionally, if you experience hyperpigmentation, redness and flakiness, those are also indicators. These reactions indicate that your skin is suffering from pollutants, as well as inflammation.


So, during cold weather months, focus on moisture in your skincare. For this, humectants and emollients are going to be the most helpful. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are going to help with hyperpigmentation and fading fine lines. They also help with repairing your protective layer of skin and help your skin lock in moisture.


Another ingredient that helps with moisture is the ceramide. Part of your barrier is made up of ceramides, so infusing them in your skincare routine helps relay the foundation for healthy, protected skin.


Need a crash course in using sunscreen properly?


Photo via iStock