Smiling woman lying on her stomach on the bed.

Whether you’re a maximalist or minimalist with your beauty routine, odds are you know a thing or two about your skin’s protective barrier. It’s an invisible layer that keeps the good stuff in (read: moisture) and the bad stuff out. But what makes this “shield” tick? Good ol’ fats, or lipids, to be exact. So what are lipids and how can they help heal the skin barrier? Scroll ahead to find all the answers.

What Are Lipids?

Remember the cell structure you once memorized back in grade 7? Every single cell in your body is . They serve as the cell’s armor, guarding it against toxic substances and maintaining its structural integrity. This function is particularly vital for your skin cells as they are constantly exposed to and pollution.

What are lipids made of? The lipids found in the outermost layer of the skin are mainly made up of fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol. These components work in harmony to form what’s known as the , a.k.a. the scientific term for skin barrier.

, perhaps the most well-known in the skincare world, are the bricks that hold the barrier intact. They lock in moisture and prevent moisture loss while holding off bacteria and irritants at bay. Fatty acids, on the other hand, have anti-inflammatory properties that stabilize the skin barrier function. And then, there’s cholesterol. It steps in to repair any damage within the barrier and ensures that your skin is just right – not too oily and not too dry.

What Can Harm Your Skin Lipid Barrier?

Aging is the most obvious answer. Lipid production starts to decline rapidly after the age of 40 due to a drop in . Consequently, your skin may not be able to retain moisture as well as before and become more reactive to external stressors, such as sun exposure and temperature changes.

Your skincare habits can be the unknowing culprit behind your damaged skin barrier. One common mistake is the overuse of cleansers and exfoliants. While these two products are essential for removing impurities, they strip away the protective lipids, leaving , tight, and inflamed.

If your than usual as of late, it could also be an SOS for your lipid barrier. Confused? The gist is that your skin produces more sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture. Even though skipping moisturizer seems like the ideal shortcut to cut down the shininess, doing so will only worsen the situation.

How to Heal Skin Barrier

Now that you have a deeper understanding of what are lipids and how they can affect your skin, a new question pops up: what can you do to restore and fortify your skin mantle? If you’ve been grappling with issues like dryness, excess oil, sensitivity, and , these tried-and-true methods can help get your complexion’s groove back.

Back to basics.

Hit “reset” on your skincare routine and stick to two steps only: cleansing and moisturizing. In the quest to repair the lipid barrier, less is more. Think of it as giving those hardworking lipids some vacation.

Start by washing your skin from the neck down with a gentle cleanser like Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Body Wash. What makes it different from other soaps is its Microbiome Gentle Skin Prebiotics formula that preserves the skin’s natural protective layer and helps replenish lost moisture. Plus, it contains fresh cucumber and green tea extracts, leaving your skin hydrated and fresh for up to 24 hours.

If your skin is prone to redness, try using Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash, which cleans like soap and moisturizes like lotion. The unique NutriumMoisture™ technology delivers hydration and nutrition 20 layers deep within the epidermis. With regular use, your skin will be visibly softer.

Skip active ingredients for now.

As tempting as it is to speed up the healing time with actives like or , they’re too powerful for your already vulnerable skin. Take a break from them for two to three weeks, or at least until any signs of irritation disappear. When you reintroduce actives, do it one at a time and start with lower concentrations.

Be diligent with sunscreen.

Direct sunlight can be way too harsh on a damaged skin barrier. Even brief exposure can result in redness and a burning sensation. And let’s not forget about photoaging. UV radiation can break down collagen and elastin fibers, which can lead to and .

Opt for sunscreen with a broad spectrum formula and SPF 30 or higher. That way, your skin is protected from UVA, UVB, and blue light. Wear it daily – rain or shine – and remember to reapply every two hours.

Trust in Your Skin.

Don’t worry too much about your skin. The stratum corneum can heal itself as long as you leave it be. Moreover, the reports that stress depletes epidermal lipids, causing the skin to dry up and unable to retain moisture. So jump into your hobbies and . Take it easy, and trust the process.

What are lipids? In short, they’re the key to glowing, dewy skin everyone covets. Now it’s your turn to incorporate these fats into your skincare regimen. Last but not least, stay hydrated – your skin will appreciate it.