What Is Barrier Cream and What Are the Benefits of Using It?
Everyday and night, through every new product launch and skincare blog, we are told that we must protect our skin: from sun damage, loss of moisture, greasy products, and environmental toxins. But this can be difficult with changing weather conditions, if you suffer from any skin ailments, or if you find that your skin is constantly dry from surrounding conditions or lifestyle choices.
The term ‘barrier cream’ suggests that this could well be a go-to product for many of those functions and could well protect the skin from all sorts of harmful conditions - but what is barrier cream and how does it work?
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Barrier Cream?
Barrier cream may sound like an all-rounder in the skincare category, but it is in fact designed to do one very important job: retain the natural moisture within the skin at night. Through this specific function, barrier cream presents a range of benefits that we will explore later in this blog - however the primary purpose behind the cream is to seal the skin and hold all that water inside the skin at night.
As such, barrier creams are specifically created as a thick cream which can be smoothed onto the skin at night to help hold in moisture, ward off irritation and redness, and maintain and repair the skin’s own barrier function to ensure that irritants and drying products are not able to penetrate the skin.
How Is Barrier Cream Used?
Barrier cream is especially recommended for those with sensitive skin, as it provides a thick and effective top layer for the skin overnight which combats not only the symptoms but the root cause of conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
As barrier creams create a thick and supportive seal on the skin which prevents and plasters over any spots where moisture could be lost, they are best applied liberally and around an hour before bed to give them chance to soak in before you lie down to sleep.
Finally, a tip. Apply barrier cream as the last part of your skincare routine, so that it holds everything else in place and provides that last-step seal for your routine.
What Are the Benefits of Using Barrier Cream?
Barrier cream is heralded as a means of retaining moisture in the skin - however, that is not its only job. Other benefits of barrier cream include:
• Protects the skin from external irritants and aggravators, including those in the surrounding environment
• Prevents transepidermal water loss - i.e., creates that effective barrier on the surface of the skin
• Soothes burns and other irritating skin conditions
• Promotes wound healing
• Helps to seal cracks in the skin, for example on the elbows, knees, hands or feet
Tips for Using the Right Barrier Cream
Crucially, because this is a product that is smoothed onto the skin in the evening and worn overnight, it is important that the cream is not going to irritate or cause the skin to become greasy. Checking the ingredients of your cream can help to guide you towards one which will not irritate or aggravate your skin - or you can opt for one of the kinder products on the market by sticking to organic barrier cream.
The difference between organic barrier cream and standard barrier cream lies in the use of ingredients and the avoidance of harmful chemicals which are often used in the development of non-organic skincare products and creams. Again, remember that this is a product you will be putting on your face and leaving overnight, so you don’t want anything which will work into your pores.
And finally, a few tips for choosing the right barrier cream:
• Look for urea, ceramides and hyaluronic acid in the ingredients list where possible, as these ingredients occur naturally in the skin and keep it soft and plumped.
• Natural ingredients can provide other benefits besides sealing the moisture in the skin, for example aloe vera which soothes the skin and any irritated patches, and natural oils like witch hazel which can benefit conditions like acne. Selecting a product with these ingredients is a good way to help heal the skin as well as support its moisture retention.
• Look for a breathable formula. You will, for example, likely want to avoid the 100% petroleum salves as these can cause blockages in your pores.
For more tips and advice, or to explore our range of organic skincare products which includes our own barrier cream, head to our website.