How to Repair & Restore Your Skin Barrier

How to Repair & Restore Your Skin Barrier

Britton Strickland, Ph.D.

FEB 14, 2023

What is the skin barrier, exactly? Well, it is the outermost layer of the skin that protects underlying tissue from damage and helps to retain moisture. This essential barrier is subjected to daily factors that can be damaging, such as harsh ingredients in topical cosmetics, UV rays, extreme temperatures, and occlusive coverings (e.g., face masks).

A compromised skin barrier can lead to or exacerbate various skin conditions, such as dry skin, irritated skin, oily skin, or sensitized skin. These factors can also cause disruptions in the molecular and functional integrity of the skin barrier that may not be immediately apparent to the naked eye but can cause long-term effects on your skin’s ability to protect your body and retain moisture.

This blog will discuss how to repair, restore, and heal a damaged skin barrier. It will describe common signs of damage and provide tips to help speed up the process of restoring and healing the skin barrier.

Can you rebuild your skin barrier?

Yes, rebuilding the skin barrier is possible. The process of repairing the skin barrier typically involves restoring the balance of the skin's natural oils and microbes and enhancing its structural integrity to protect the skin from further damage and bolster moisture retention. This can be achieved by using topical skin care products that contain ingredients such as ceramides, lipids, and fatty acids, which are natural moisturizing factors known to strengthen the skin barrier. Additionally, using gentle, non-irritating daily face cleansers, avoiding over-exfoliation, and protecting the skin from UV rays regularly can help to restore your skin’s natural balance.

It's also important to keep in mind that rebuilding the skin barrier can take time, so it is essential to be patient and remain consistent with using restorative and non-irritating products in your skin health routine.
We all grow older. Our skin doesn’t have to. Learn more!

Can the skin barrier repair itself naturally?

The skin is a naturally regenerative organ, allowing it to repair itself naturally, but the ability and rate of repair to the skin barrier can vary depending on the level of damage incurred, age, genetics, and overall health. A healthy skin barrier is constantly undergoing a process of renewal, with dead skin cells being shed and replaced by new ones (also called desquamation).

The skin's natural oils and moisturizing factors also play an important role in maintaining the skin barrier's integrity, and the skin's immune system helps protect the skin barrier from infection. However, when any of these factors are compromised, the skin's natural repair mechanisms may not be able to function properly.

How do you know if your skin barrier is damaged?

A strong skin barrier has a hydrated, smooth, and plump appearance, while a damaged one may look dry, dull, or flaky. When the skin barrier becomes damaged, the skin is more prone to irritation and water loss.

Are you wondering, what does a damaged skin barrier look like and how can you tell if yours is? There are several signs that can indicate that your skin barrier is damaged. Some of the common symptoms include1:
  • Dryness and tightness of the skin
  • Redness and irritation
  • Itching and burning sensation
  • Increased sensitivity to skin care products and environmental irritants
  • The appearance of fine lines and wrinklesv
  • Loss of firmness and elasticity
  • A dull and uneven skin tone on body and face

How long does it take to repair the skin barrier?

The time it takes to repair the skin barrier can vary depending on the severity of the damage, the underlying cause, and an individual's skin type. In general, minor skin barrier damage may take a few days to a week to heal, while more severe damage may take several weeks to months to fully recover. However, rebuilding the skin barrier is a continuous process, and it's important to maintain a consistent skin care routine that supports the repair process.

It's also important to note that certain factors such as genetics, age, overall health, and the use of medications can impact the rate of skin barrier repair. It's best to work with a dermatologist to determine the specific condition of your lipid barrier and develop a customized skin care routine that will help to repair your skin type.

What is the fastest way to repair the skin barrier?

Most often, skin barrier damage is caused by harsh skin products that induce inflammation and dryness. These include alcohols, sulfates, fragrances, and exfoliants (acids and retinoids) that should be avoided if they cause irritation. Continuation of the same skin care routine that led to the damage will impede the healing process. By re-evaluating your skin’s needs and adopting a more simplistic and gentle skin care routine, the once damaged barrier will eventually regain its normal function and effectively protect the skin from irritants and environmental stressors.

Skin barrier repair can be accelerated by maintaining proper moisture in the skin. When it comes down to how to boost skin moisture, prioritize avoiding hot showers, moisturizing regularly, and optimizing your diet with whole and healthy foods. Also protect the delicate layers of your skin from damaging UV rays by using sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 daily 2,3.

What is the best way to repair the skin barrier?

The best way to repair the skin moisture barrier is to simplify your skin care routine to gentle products. Regularly moisturize with products, such as peptide moisturizers and peptide body lotions that are formulated with ingredients that can help heal the skin barrier. Ingredients to look for in your products are ceramides, fatty acids, and peptides.

OneSkin has developed a line of Topical Supplements powered by the OS-01 peptide. OS-01 FACE is clinically validated to improve barrier function by +15%*. Additionally, the OS-01 peptide has been scientifically proven to increase epidermal thickness and activate key markers associated with collagen and hyaluronic acid production in lab-grown ex vivo human skin models [4].

*trans-epidermal water loss measured via a vapometer in a 12-week clinical study performed by a third party CRO


  • Repairing the skin barrier is possible: rebuild your barrier by restoring the balance of natural oils and moisture levels all while protecting against further damage.
  • It takes time: The time it takes to repair the skin barrier can vary depending on the severity of the damage, the underlying cause, and an individual's skin texture type. In general, minor skin barrier damage may take a few days to a week to heal, while more severe damage may take several weeks to months to fully recover.
  • Fix your broken skin barrier at the source: OneSkin’s line of Topical Supplements, powered by the OS-01 peptide, is scientifically validated to enhance and repair the skin barrier at the molecular level.


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