Your Moisture Barrier is Truly More healthy Than Ever—This 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 delicate pores and skin as I’ve in the previous few years. I’m nearly 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 believe it helps stop pores and skin points that may be brought on by person error, resembling over-exfoliation. 

However in relation to broken pores and skin boundaries, I counsel everybody to take a step again and relax. 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!). Keep 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 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 suppose this sounds too dangerous? Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Again within the ‘80s, cleanser choices have been far and few. You could possibly both use a brilliant 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 have been paired with a Buf Puf, or what mainly served as a Brillo Pad in your face! Again then no one knew what a moisture barrier was, main individuals to clean and scrub at their pores and skin– particularly in the event that they have been pimples inclined. We now know that pimples 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 solely astringent again then (anybody keep in mind SeaBreeze or Ten-O-Six?). To get that astringent impact, they normally had drying alcohols in them. Some of the standard cleansers on the time was Clinique No. 2, which contained not solely alcohol but additionally acetone. Anytime I heard that one among my purchasers was utilizing this toner, I’d display its capacity 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 an enormous fan of toners for these 5 causes, however fashionable toners are alcohol-free and ship hydrating, nourishing substances 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 standard merchandise, however most of them have been simply as dangerous. 


When it comes to exfoliation, the Buf Puf was simply changed by Clarisonic. It was marketed that it is best to 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 truly nonetheless suppose facial scrubs will 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 consider 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, possible on account of repetitive TV commercials and illustrious endorsements from everybody’s favourite celebrities. In case you had pimples, you have been utilizing proactive. However their merchandise have been heavy on drying substances like benzoyl peroxide, they usually didn’t present a lot compensation in the way in which of moisture. 

Exfoliating Acids 

They might be one of the vital extensively 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 the way 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 once I acquired my palms 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 every thing to totally heal. 


I used to be additionally round when retinoids went mainstream for the therapy of wrinkles and photoaging. That they had traditionally been used to deal with pimples, however the FDA ultimately permitted them for anti-aging (I even met the dermatologist who was instrumental in getting them permitted). In 1990, ABC Information broke a narrative about how there was an pimples 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 schooling. 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 precipitated. 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 power of retinoid obtainable on the time (meant for oil, acne-prone pores and skin) which means that these vulnerable to dryness have been caught utilizing a retinoid that was manner too sturdy for them.

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

Evidently, everyone seems to be rather more educated about the way to use energetic substances now. Exfoliating acids at the moment are obtainable in tons of various strengths, with stabilized formulation, and extra hydrating and soothing substances. Astringent toners have been changed with hydrating essences. Bodily scrubs at the moment are mild and well-formulated. Various kinds of acids, like lactic and mandelic, are an choice for even probably 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 schooling obtainable about the way to correctly use retinoids, individuals now know the way to mitigate uncomfortable side effects slowly (like making use of moisturizer beneath). Even make-up is much more nourishing than it was once! Again when matte was the look, basis make-up was largely contributing to dryness. Now, loads of make-up has skincare substances 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 concentrate on. For instance, an exfoliating acid serum may have a terrific, mild formulation. However, for those who’re utilizing it each single day of the week, you’re nonetheless going to get a compromised barrier. 

Training In Skincare

Shoppers are extra educated than ever earlier than, and one cause is that manufacturers lean rather more closely into product schooling, which I’ve at all times thought was tremendous vital. I believe the primary hazard now could be that whereas info is extra available than ever, there’s a lot of it that it may be a double-edged sword. Folks get info from sources that aren’t respected, and their pores and skin can grow to be compromised on account 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 higher and there are extra choices to select from. This implies yow will discover merchandise which can 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 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 towards 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 for those who’ve broken your barrier? In case you overdo it and find yourself compromising your moisture barrier, right here’s the way to repair it