Black Skin: 8 Damaged Skin Barrier Signs

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Damaged skin barrier signs can be irritating to control, but they are preventable. The most common sign of a damaged skin barrier is dryness, where the skin feels rough, flaky, and tight. You may also notice that it appears dull and dehydrated.

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Collectively, these signs emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy and intact skin barrier. The skin barrier function nourishes, hydrates, and strengthens the skin by protecting it from external aggressors.

The skin barrier also protects our bodies against dirt and germs. Damage to your skin barrier increases your risk of inflammation, acne, and skin infections. Find out how to protect any damaged barrier here.

People Also Read: Top 9 Best Skin Care Products for Black Males

What is Skin Barrier?

Black Skin: 8 Damaged Skin Barrier Signs
The skin barrier. Image source: WIKIHOW licensed under CC BY 2.0

The skin barrier is the top layer of your skin. 

Your skin has three main layers: 

  • the epidermis, the outermost layer; 
  • the dermis, the middle layer, which contains collagen and elastin; 
  • and the subcutaneous fat, a layer between the skin and muscles.

Hence, the skin barrier is the epidermis. You can think of it like armor, protecting delicate skin beneath the surface. Among its functions are to keep water in as well as chemicals and infectious bacteria out. It also contains lipids, the natural fats.

The epidermis contains three types of cells:

  • Keratinocytes

These cells form the outermost layer of your skin.  You can see them as bricks arranged with lines that hold them together. Keratinocytes have natural oils, ceramides, and cholesterols, which provide the glue that anchors the epidermis together into a mostly impermeable wall. 

  • Melanocytes

Melanocyte cells produce melanin. When you find yourself outdoors, epidermal melanin absorbs ultraviolet radiation and protects underlying structures from UV damage. Melanin also gives your skin its natural tone.

  • Langerhans cells

Langerhans cells help the skin mount an immune response to bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

8 Black Skin Damaged Skin Barrier Signs

Black Skin: 8 Damaged Skin Barrier Signs
Damaged skin vs glowing skin. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0

When black skin is damaged or when skin is damaged, there are a number of signs and symptoms. Below are the common things you’ll discover:

1. Rosacea and Eczema 

Rosacea and eczema are two distinct skin conditions, each presenting with a range of unique symptoms. In rosacea, individuals may experience chronic skin irritation, redness, and visible blood vessels, often affecting the face. 

Eczema, on the other hand, involves itchy skin, skin infections, dryness, and flakiness, which can occur in various areas of the body. 

Proper medical management and skincare routines are crucial to alleviating symptoms and maintaining overall skin health for those with rosacea and eczema.

2. Itchy Skin

Itchy skin, medically known as pruritus, is a common skin condition that can be distressing and uncomfortable. It manifests as a sensation that prompts a strong desire to scratch the affected area.

Various factors can trigger itchiness, such as dry skin, insect bites, allergies, eczema, or certain underlying health conditions. Scratching the itchy skin can provide temporary relief but may lead to further irritation and even skin damage.

3. Skin Infections

Skin infections refer to various conditions that affect the skin’s health, leading to discomfort and potential complications. Bacteria can cause these infections, which manifest as redness, itching, swelling, or the formation of blisters or lesions. 

Common examples include impetigo, cellulitis, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and herpes. 

4. Dry and Flaky skin

Lack of moisture causes the skin to become dry and flaky, resulting in patches of skin that are rough, scaly, and occasionally itchy. 

Environmental factors like low humidity, extreme temperatures, or overuse of harsh skincare products frequently cause your skin to be dry and flaky.

Additionally, a number of medical conditions as well as aging-related changes, can cause dry, flaky skin. You can easily overcome this challenge by using the right sunscreen with SPF below 30 to prevent dry skin that can be caused through sun exposure.

5. Hyperpigmentation 

Darker patches of skin caused by excessive melanin production are referred to as hyperpigmentation in medicine.  Various factors can contribute to this, including acne scars and sun damage.

If Rosacea and eczema affect the skin, it can lead to hyperpigmentation due to inflammation and prolonged skin issues. 

6. Chronic Skin Irritation 

A persistent and protracted inflammatory response of the skin is referred to as chronic skin irritation. It occurs when the skin’s defences are weakened, leaving it more vulnerable to irritants from the outside world. 

Allergies, eczema, psoriasis, and contact with harsh chemicals or fabrics are a few of the common conditions that can cause chronic skin irritation. 

Although there may be a variety of symptoms, the most common ones are redness, itching, dryness, flaking, and, in severe cases, blistering or open sores.

7. Dehydrated, Dull Skin

Dehydration and dullness are common symptoms when the skin barrier struggles to retain moisture. Use Creams with vitamins as active ingredient.

8. Delayed Wound Healing

The skin conditions explained above may delay wound healing, making them more susceptible to infections and prolonged recovery periods. 

People Also Read: 15 Best Skin Care Products for Black Women

Causes of Damaged Skin Barrier Signs

Damaged skin barrier signs don’t just appear on your skin. There are a number of causes. Among the common causes are the following: 

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  • Acne breakouts
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • UV radiation
  • Lack of sleep 
  • Nutrient-light diet
  • Certain Cleansers
  • Not using a moisturizer
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Overuse of exfoliating acids, scrubs, or over-exfoliation

How to Treat Damaged Skin Barriers

A glowing healthy skin. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0
A glowing healthy skin. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0

1. Curate a Targeted Skincare Routine with a Dermatologist

While there are proven skincare products out there vying for your attention, it’s important to be cautious and intentional when choosing which product to use. 

The best way to ensure you’re using the best product for you is to curate a targeted skincare routine with a dermatologist. You should also use samples for a few days before deciding to commit to a particular product. This will help you ascertain the efficacy of the product on your skin. 

And remember, your skincare routine will likely vary by season or weather. 

2. Use a Gentle Skin Cleanser

Exposing your skin to various pollutants, both knowingly and unknowingly, affects your skin moisture barrier. At the end of the day, you’re required to use a cleaner to clean up all that dirt.

While you clean, it’s also important to protect those natural ceramides and oils that form the glue to your skin’s barrier. Hence, you need to use a gentle skin cleanser to prevent a damaged skin barrier. 

Depending on how many products you use on your skin, you may want to do a “double cleanse” to achieve a thorough cleansing. You can choose a gentle skin cleanser such as Ceravé hydrating cleanser.

3. Use Warm Water to Clean or Bathe

Remember, your skin barrier acts as a protective wall for other parts of your skin or body. It’s sensitive and get’s damaged easily. Think of your skin barrier as organic cocoa butter or shea butter; if you put them in a container and put them under hot water or in hot weather, they melt instantly. You can describe your skin barrier as the same. 

Hence, avoid using hot water to clean or bathe. It takes away the natural oils of your skin and keeps it dry and dehydrated. Instead, be intentional about using warm water, especially on your face. This works well even for a sensitive skin.

4. Exfoliate Weekly

The best way to keep your skin hydrated is to protect the skin barrier. You can do so by limiting how much you exfoliate weekly. Some people exfoliate more than twice a week. This habit is harmful to the skin. 

Exfoliating once a week gets the job done while protecting your skin too. 

It’s also critical to exfoliate gently to prevent damaging your skin. 

5. Keep Your Skin Moisturized

Moisturizers like Palmers cocoa butter nourish your skin, help replace your skin barrier, and keep it healthy. 

Incorporating an effective moisturizer into your skincare routine can lock in moisture and prevent water loss. Look for hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, fatty acids, glycerin, and ceramides, which replenish and retain moisture in the skin. 

6. Maintain the pH of the Skin

On the pH scale, your skin’s ph is naturally acidic, about a 5. Your skin cannot promote good microorganisms or repel bad microorganisms if your pH is not in the correct range.

Generally, minor pH shifts are normal, but too much exposure to stronger bases or acids, such as soaps and chemical peels, can adversely affect your skin’s pH.

Therefore, avoid exposing your skin to chemicals that may affect its pH.

7. Gently Tap Products into Your Skin

When applying serums and moisturizers, be gentle to ensure your skin does not become irritated. To apply the product, pat it on your skin using the tips of your fingers.

8. Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Keeping your skin hydrated is essential for a healthy and radiant skin tone. Hydration plays a vital role in preserving your skin’s elasticity, suppleness, and overall appearance. When your skin lacks moisture or experience skin barrier damage, it can become dry, tight, and prone to irritation. 

To keep your skin hydrated, drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, as hydration starts from within.

Maintaining well-hydrated skin can also be achieved by exfoliating your skin weekly and applying a hydrating face mask. You can achieve a healthy, glowing complexion by prioritizing hydration. Hydrated skin is happy skin.

9. Use Plant Oil to Replenish Your Skin Barrier

Plant-based oils help repair the skin barrier and also prevent your skin from losing moisture. Many of these oils have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects, too.

Some of the most effective plant oils to consider using on your skin include:

  • jojoba oil
  • coconut oil
  • almond oil
  • argan oil
  • borage oil
  • rosehip oil
  • sunflower oil
  • soybean oil
  • primrose oil
  • black currant oil

People Also Read: 5 Easy Natural Skin Care Routine Tips for Glowing Dark Skin

3 Reasons Why the Skin Barrier is Important

Black Skin: 8 Damaged Skin Barrier Signs
Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Skin Barrier Protects the Skin

The skin barrier protects the internal body from physical toxins such as pollution and harmful chemicals. It also protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation. Moreover, the skin barrier helps the body hold onto natural moisture by preventing transepidermal water loss.

The Skin Barrier Minimizes Dehydration

If the outermost layer of the epidermis doesn’t have enough water, your skin will lose elasticity and appear dry, rough, and flaky. Besides, if your skin is poorly hydrated, it’ll be unable to maintain an intact skin barrier. This leaves the skin more vulnerable to damage from external sources.

The Skin Barrier Help Glow Your Skin

A healthy skin barrier is also key to obtaining hydrated, glowing, and even skin.

Protecting the skin barrier is crucial for healthy and radiant skin. To preserve this protective barrier, it’s imperative to take care of your skin and avoid harsh cleansers.

Using a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip away your skin’s natural oils helps maintain its moisture. Remember to keep your skin moisturized and avoid harsh chemicals and irritants.

Exfoliation can protect the skin barrier and prevent unnecessary damage; however, avoid exfoliating often. You can promote healthy and vibrant skin by prioritizing protective measures.

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Sedi Djentuh
Sedi Djentuh
Hey, Sedi here, a content writer. She's fascinated by the interplay between people, lifestyle, relationships, tech and communication dedicated to empowering and spreading positive messages about humanity. She's an avid reader and a student of personal weekly workouts. When she's not writing, Sedi is busy advocating for plastic-free earth with her local NGO.

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