Asian woman touching her skin and smiling.

“Impaired skin integrity” sounds like a complex skin issue, but it’s more common than most people think. The concept has risen in popularity in recent years, thanks to K-beauty and its focus on gentle, restorative skin care. What is it and how does it happen? Moreover, can you repair it? Find out more below.

Layers of the Skin and What They Do

Your skin is crucial for survival: it acts as a waterproof, insulating shield against the elements, such as , and even regulates your body temperature. It has three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. Your skin is healthy when all three are intact and functioning as they should.

The epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, is composed of several thin layers, such as melanocytes and keratinocytes. Melanocytes give your skin its color and natural protection against the sun’s rays. Keratinocytes make your skin waterproof and give it a tough, protective quality.

Meanwhile, the dermis is located below the epidermis and is composed of a thick layer of skin that houses , connective tissue, fibers, blood vessels, sweat, and hair follicles. The dermis is vital for temperature regulation – when your skin is exposed to cold temperatures, the blood vessels in the dermis constrict, allowing blood to bypass the skin and conserve body heat.

The hypodermis, the bottom layer, storing energy, connects the dermis layer of your skin to your muscles and bones and insulates your body.

What is Impaired Skin Integrity?

As people get older, bodies age, which means organs age – including your skin. Having impaired skin integrity means your skin barrier is no longer doing these things properly. It can result in paper-thin, dry, and cracked skin, increased risk of skin irritation, and slower wound healing. It also makes you prone to infection.

Intrinsic and extrinsic skin changes can contribute to impaired skin integrity. Aging is one common intrinsic factor. As you get older, your skin cell turnover slows down the skin becomes more fragile as your epidermis thins. Blood vessels become more fragile as your skin produces less sebum and sweat.

Extrinsic factors can also impair your skin integrity. Falls, accidents, and physical pressure are among them. Using harsh products on your skin, such as soaps, dyes, and chemicals, can also weaken your skin barrier. Other factors, such as dermatitis and obesity, can also affect your skin health.

How to Prevent Impaired Skin Integrity

Maintaining your skin integrity is essential to good health. Here are some ways you can prevent or manage impaired skin integrity.

Strengthen your skin barrier.

Your skin barrier, also known as the stratum corneum, spells the difference between plump, moisturized skin versus a dry, irritated complexion. A healthy skin barrier is free of dryness, redness, peeling, sensitivity, and rough texture or . Conditions such as acne or eczema can make this even worse.

When your skin barrier is damaged or compromised, you can have flaky, overly sensitive, irritated skin – not the best feeling. You can heal and strengthen your skin barrier with products that contain hydrating and moisturizing ingredients.

POND’S Bright Triple Glow Serum is a brightening serum that harnesses the power of three ingredients: , which gives you the dewy look of deeply hydrated skin; , which refines the pores, and brightening Gluta-Boost-C with glutathione that effectively fades dark spots.

Stay away from products that irritate your skin.

Sometimes, chemicals found in everyday products can be too harsh on the skin. They can irritate with prolonged or repeated exposure. , for example, can disrupt your skin’s pH balance. Use products that are gentler on the skin and prevent dryness. Dove Facial Cleansing Mousse Moisture Care leaves your skin radiant and moisturized for up to 24 hours after washing with 40% Active-boost serum and hyaluronic acid.

You can reverse your impaired skin integrity by using gentler, moisturizing products and being more mindful of how you treat your skin.