Expert Advice

Strengthen Your Skin Barrier For Hydrated, Healthy Skin

Daily routine – check. Nourishing natural products – check. So why the stressed skin? If your regime isn’t giving you a glowing visage, it’s time to check in with your skin barrier. We often neglect this critical aspect of our skin. But restoring your damaged skin barrier might just unlock the potential of your skincare routine.

Antipodes protecting skin barrier

#1 What is the skin barrier?

The skin barrier is our skin’s surface. It’s composed of the topmost layer of skin cells, plus all the various oils and lipids that hold these together. Our skin is exposed daily to a raft of external aggressors. Everything from harsh chemicals, heating and air conditioning, to UV rays, pollution, toxins and allergens.  The skin barrier acts as a shield that protects us from the world outside. It also helps our skin hold onto moisture, keeping it plumped and hydrated.

#2 Why is repairing skin barrier important?

A damaged barrier leaves us more susceptible to the effects of environmental aggressors. Free radical damage is one such effect. These are unstable atoms which can attack skin cells, causing the signs of early aging in skin. Fine lines, age spots and wrinkles? Blame free radical damage. Exposure to pollutants can also cause inflammation, resulting in common skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne, and dermatitis. A damaged moisture barrier can accelerate the loss of hydration too, leaving skin dehydrated.

A stronger skin barrier is critical to protecting us form external aggressors and preventing moisture loss. It also contributes to a balanced pH level. In turn, this helps regulate our production of oil (sebum). As a result, skin feels calmer and clearer. Our skincare routine is more effective with a healthy, clear canvas to act upon.

#3 Repairing Skin Barrier With Natural Skincare

A strong skin barrier can be cultivated through general good health, a balanced diet, and our skincare routine. Trading synthetic skincare for nourishing natural products is a great first step. The next is to refine your routine into a barrier-building powerhouse.

  • Use gentle products that don’t strip the skin

Antipodes gentle cleanser

Synthetic products can have the same effect on your skin as pollution. They strip the skin, removing vital oils and leaving us more susceptible to illness. A dermatologically approved cleanser like Grace Gentle Cream Cleanser & Makeup Remover can help prevent a damaged skin barrier because it’s ultra-gentle. With high levels of Vitamins A, B1, B2 and D, nutrient-rich avocado oil hydrates, while marigold bloom soothes. Vinanza® Oxifend – from antioxidant-rich pinot noir grapes – has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Together, these nourishing ingredients clear makeup and impurities without stripping skin.

  •  Protect skin from oxidative stress

Antipodes Skin Defence

Oxidative stress reveals itself in the form of stressed, weak skin that’s prone to damage and shows signs of early aging. Sunlight, wind, pollution, poor diet, and the natural aging process can all contribute.

The best way to combat oxidative stress? Antioxidants. They help to stop free radicals from damaging skin. A high-energy serum, such as Worship Skin Defence Antioxidant Serum, works to help fortify your skin from oxidative stress by complementing your body’s own antioxidant defenses.  The serum draws its strength from raw New Zealand superfruits that are rich in Vitamin C: boysenberries, blackcurrants, and kiwifruits. Antioxidant-rich Vinanza® Grape comes from grape seeds with the highest levels of polyphenolic antioxidants of any grape in the world – a side effect of growing in the unrelenting New Zealand sunshine. Extracts from coffee berry and açaí round off the list of potent antioxidants.

  • Seal your skin barrier

Antipodes Hydrating Day Cream

Moisturizers do so much more than hydrate and moisturize the skin. They can help a damaged moisture barrier by sealing the skin’s barrier, shielding skin from the world outside. Look for a moisturizer that’s rich and long-lasting, yet light enough for daily use. Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream is the perfect skin-sealing moisturizer. It’s light yet intensively hydrating, with anti-aging ingredients such as rosehip oil. That means the certified vegetarian formulation delivers additional benefits to your skin while helping to seal the skin barrier. Revolutionary antioxidant extract Vinanza® Grape makes an appearance here, too. It helps to protect the skin, while rosehip oil is rich in essential fatty acids to help soften the appearance of fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

If you’re struggling with how to keep skin hydrated, this may be the answer. Sealing the skin barrier is critical to repairing moisture barrier and preventing trans-epidermal water loss. In other words, moisturizers help to lock in moisture.

  •  Balance your microbiome

Antipodes Probiotic Night Recovery Cream

A healthy microbiome is a balanced microbiome. Your skin hosts trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that co-exist in symbiosis. When the balance of good and bad bacteria is off kilter, this can damage the skin barrier, making us vulnerable to irritation and disease.

Probiotics in skincare can help restore the balance of bacteria so these micro-organisms live in harmony – an example of how to repair skin barrier.  Culture Probiotic Night Recovery Water Cream contains Kalibiome AGE Probiotic, a special type of good bacteria. This non-live probiotic, or “postbiotic”, has been shown to balance the delicate microbiome and calm the complexion†. Skin retains moisture throughout the night thanks to an airtight skin barrier. In the morning, expect a calm, clear, hydrated complexion. All because of balance.

If you’re wondering how long to repair skin barrier, know this. Strengthening a damaged skin barrier is a long game. First, build your best barrier-enhancing routine. Then, try it out for six weeks before assessing how your skin is feeling. With a stronger skin barrier, your skin should feel – and look – fresher and healthier than ever.


*Worship: Scientifically shown to inhibit oxidative stress in-vitro by up to 90%: Trinity Bioactives: In-vitro Investigation into the Antioxidant Effects of Production of Superoxide by Activated Neutrophil Cells after 15 Hours, at 4% per 200ug/ml (2013).

†Kalibiome probiotics/postbiotics 600: clinically shown to revitalize extracellular matrix.

Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Writer and expert