Hautpflege & Mehr

Strengthening the skin barrier: the best tips and tricks

Hautbarriere stärken: die besten Tipps und Tricks

The skin is the largest organ in our body and fulfills many important functions - for example, it protects the body from external influences and prevents it from losing too much water.

A healthy skin barrier is necessary for the skin to be able to reliably fulfill its protective function. If the skin's protective barrier is damaged, the skin becomes more susceptible to all kinds of external aggressors - irritation, blemishes and signs of aging can appear as a result.

Fortunately, there are a number of tips that can help strengthen the skin barrier. This keeps the skin radiant, supple and healthy and able to withstand environmental influences.

Skin barrier – definition

The skin's protective barrier, also called the epidermal barrier, is a type of waterproof protective film that surrounds the outer layers of the skin . A double lipid layer of ceramides, cholesterol and long-chain fatty acids such as linoleic acid forms an impermeable protective shield together with the horny cells, which prevents foreign bodies from penetrating and water from escaping.

If this barrier is intact, the skin feels soft and supple and successfully protects the body from external stress such as microorganisms, allergens, pollutants or other environmental influences.

On the other hand, when the outer layers are damaged, the skin can feel rough and dry or appear sallow. In such a case, the skin misses important nutrients and minerals that keep the skin cells healthy and the water in the skin. As a result, the skin is not only more susceptible to germs, but also loses important moisture.

Ceramides and natural fatty acids

With an ideal skin care routine tailored to the individual skin type, the skin's own protective barrier can be strengthened in the long term. Care ingredients should be used that are similar to our natural skin barrier and can be seamlessly integrated into it.

The main components of the skin barrier are particularly important at this point: the ceramides . The natural protective shield consists of around 60% ceramides, which can hold the skin barrier together and repair it. Skincare creams with the appropriate ceramide levels can help keep skin glowing and healthy.

In addition , natural fatty acids are an important component in the fight against a damaged skin barrier. For example, shea butter can provide natural fats that are close to the actual concentration in the skin. This keeps the skin supple and robust against external influences in the long term.

Tip : Depending on the skin type, different ingredients are suitable for sustainably strengthening the skin barrier. Oily skin, for example, requires less externally supplied fats than dry skin - here, clarifying, moisturizing active ingredients should be the focus of care.

How does the skin's protective barrier work?

The protective skin barrier can be thought of as a kind of wall in which the cells are the bricks and the lipids are the mortar. If the barrier contains too few lipids, the result is a loss of moisture - the skin becomes noticeably rougher and drier, and wrinkles are also more noticeable.

The microbiome on the skin is also essential for an intact skin barrier. This ecosystem includes both bad and good bacteria and keeps the skin in balance. The beneficial bacteria keep the harmful bacteria in check, protecting the skin from irritation and inflammation. If the microbiome is out of balance, the skin can dry out and impurities can be combated more difficult.

These functions are fulfilled by a healthy protective barrier

The skin's own protective barrier fulfills a number of important tasks:

  • It acts as a protective shield against environmental influences such as pollutants, temperature, humidity, wind, foreign bodies and UV radiation.

  • It repels pathogens such as harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi.

  • It regulates the transepidermal water loss in the skin, i.e. the amount of water that is released into the environment via the skin's surface.

Overall, the skin barrier acts as a kind of protective filter : Good substances, such as high-quality care substances such as hyaluronic acid, can penetrate - harmful substances such as germs and environmental toxins are denied access.

Normally, this protective shield works reliably and we don't even realize what work the skin does every day. However, if the skin barrier is attacked and weak, this can manifest itself, for example, in dryness or itching - fortunately, there are some home remedies for itchy skin that can quickly and effectively relieve the symptoms.

This damages the skin barrier

There are many factors that can weaken the skin barrier and limit the skin's natural protective function. These include, for example:

  • too much UV light

  • Diseases

  • medication

  • environmental toxins

  • lack of sleep

  • stress

  • weather changes

  • dry heating air

  • improper care or overcare

  • washing or exfoliating too often

  • unhealthy lifestyle

  • low-nutrient diet

These factors can weaken the top layer of skin, leading to irritation and breakouts. It is therefore important to support the skin's own protective layer with the right skin care and a healthy lifestyle and to strengthen the barrier function in the long term.

Damaged skin barrier - signs & causes

In the best case, the skin's defense system is intact and we can be sure that all harmful invaders are successfully fought. However, if the skin barrier is damaged, the top layer of skin can no longer fully perform its protective function. But how do you recognize a damaged skin barrier? The following symptoms indicate this :

  • reddening of the face

  • sensitive, easily irritated skin

  • sallow and dry skin

  • itchy, scaly patches of skin

  • poor wound healing

Sample picture Strengthening the skin barrier

Which active ingredients can pass through the skin barrier?

In order to understand which products can strengthen the skin barrier in the long term, we must first understand which active ingredients can actually have an effect on the skin . After all, what good is the most expensive content if it ultimately cannot be recorded at all? Basically:

  • Fat-soluble active ingredients can be better absorbed by the skin than water-soluble substances.

  • Especially skin-like substances and those that are slightly surface-active can penetrate the skin barrier.

  • In order for highly effective active ingredients such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to penetrate the skin, certain additives such as pentylene glycol can be used, which increase the penetration of the active ingredient.

  • Solids such as minerals or powders are generally not absorbed by the skin.

Cosmetics take advantage of this knowledge: Highly effective ingredients are packed in a kind of fatty coat so that the skin can benefit from the active ingredients to the maximum.

The structure of the skin barrier

Why only certain active ingredients can influence the skin barrier becomes clear when you look again at the exact structure and mechanism of the skin's protective shield in the horny layer:

  1. Skin cells, also called keratinocytes, migrate through the different layers of the epidermis to the surface of the skin. They contain important components such as ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids.

  2. When these skin cells die, lipids are released. The dead skin cells transform into corneocytes, also called corneocytes.

  3. The released lipids form in a double lipid layer and form a stable protective barrier together with the horny cells.

The hydrolipid film

Above the horny layer is the so-called hydrolipid film , which makes up the uppermost part of the skin's surface. It consists mainly of water and fats, but also of components such as sweat, sebum and amino acids.

The hydrolipid film is our skin's first barrier against external influences and supports the skin's protective barrier in preventing excessive moisture loss and fighting off germs and pollutants.

The protective acid mantle

The watery part of the hydrolipidic film of the skin's protective barrier is also known as the protective acid mantle . This is responsible for the slightly acidic pH value on the skin, which is particularly important for the body's defense against harmful microorganisms, infections and irritations.

The following applies: If the pH is less than 7, we speak of an acidic pH value. Human skin typically has an average pH of 5.5 . This acidic skin climate is particularly important to strengthen the growth of good bacteria and prevent infection and irritation.

Can microorganisms strengthen the skin barrier?

There are many microorganisms on the skin's surface, which keep the skin in a healthy balance. Experts assume that there are up to ten billion bacteria on the surface of the skin. This microbiome, also often referred to as skin flora, fulfills an important barrier function for the human body.

We know: If the skin is in a healthy balance, the beneficial microorganisms are clearly in the majority and reliably displace all disease-causing bacteria. Probiotics can also play an important role in strengthening skin health.

Which cream rebuilds the skin barrier?

Certain ingredients in care products are particularly well suited to strengthening the skin barrier and supporting skin regeneration. The following active ingredients are useful for this:

  • Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E help neutralize free radicals on the skin. These are caused by harmful environmental influences such as pollutants or sunlight and can damage the lipids of the protective skin barrier.

  • Ceramides are a type of lipid that make up a large component of the skin barrier. The right care products help to provide the skin with additional ceramides and promote cell regeneration.

  • Hyaluronic acid gives the skin important moisture and can have a balancing effect on the moisture content of the skin by storing water. This creates a smooth, padded complexion and small wrinkles can be effectively reduced.

  • Natural lipids from ingredients like shea butter can integrate with and strengthen the skin's own barrier without clogging the skin. This makes the skin supple and healthy.

Gentle cleaning

Proper cleansing of the skin is also crucial for a strong, healthy skin barrier. It is important to be very gentle when doing this so as not to irritate the skin or deprive it of moisture.

First of all, it is crucial to use a cleansing product that is tailored to your individual skin type . This should be massaged in gently without scrubbing or rubbing the skin. The face is then dried with lukewarm water - hot water can irritate and dry out the skin.

As a rule of thumb, a creamy foam cleanser or cleansing milk with valuable moisturizing nutrients is suitable for dry skin. For oily or combination skin, a clarifying cleansing gel is recommended, which gently removes excess sebum without drying out the skin too much.


A well-balanced moisture balance is the be-all and end-all for an intact skin protection barrier. Care products that use moisturizing ingredients strengthen the skin barrier and ensure that the water remains in the skin and it dries out less. As a result, the sensitive facial skin retains its elasticity and suppleness.

Light, moisturizing formulas with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera help the skin to store water and plump up small wrinkles. Tip : The night care can be a little richer than the day care - after all, the skin does important regeneration work during this time.

Tips for regenerating a damaged skin barrier

Fortunately, small changes in the care routine are often enough to effectively strengthen and build up the skin barrier. In addition, small lifestyle changes can help support the skin's natural protective function.

Healthy and balanced diet

Beautiful skin cannot be achieved with care products alone. In order for it to stay healthy and radiant, we need to provide it with sufficient nutrients and minerals through food. Important are essential vitamins, trace elements such as zinc, proteins and healthy fats. On the other hand, foods high in sugar and fat should be avoided – these have been shown to have a negative effect on skin health and can promote blemishes and the formation of wrinkles.

Drink enough

The skin should not only be supplied with important moisture from the outside, but also from the inside. It is therefore important to supply the body with sufficient water every day. At least 1.5 liters are necessary, in summer this requirement increases significantly.

Avoid unhealthy lifestyle

Caffeine and alcohol are not conducive to healthy skin, as they deprive it of important moisture and make it look slack and sallow over time. The same applies to nicotine: it also narrows the blood vessels and thus impairs blood circulation in the skin.

A healthy and balanced lifestyle is therefore essential for an intact skin barrier. Little stress, enough sleep and relaxation lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise in the fresh air increases the oxygen supply to the skin and gives it a healthy glow. Regular sweating during sports or in the sauna is also useful to strengthen the skin barrier.

Probiotics for healthy skin

A healthy gut can have a major impact on skin health. The latest studies repeatedly uncover the connection between the intestinal flora, the microorganisms of the microbiome and the skin balance.

For this reason, it is not only recommended to pay attention to a balanced diet - probiotics can also help to balance the skin. Foods such as natural yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and pickled cucumbers are rich in natural probiotics and can thus contribute to a healthy skin barrier.

use sunscreen

The skin should be adequately protected from harmful UV radiation every day. Excessive exposure to the sun is not only one of the main causes of a damaged skin barrier, but can also promote premature skin aging and the development of pigment spots. It also increases the risk of developing dangerous skin cancer.

Sun protection applied daily with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher is therefore a must for healthy skin. A high-quality product should be chosen that is rich in antioxidants and does not clog the pores of the skin.

The following applies to summer: If the skin is exposed to the sun for a longer period of time, the sunscreen should be applied repeatedly. In addition, long clothing, sunglasses and a sun hat help to protect the skin from harmful radiation.

Avoid irritating ingredients

Strong fragrances, mineral oils and a lot of alcohol in care products? This is not conducive to a healthy skin barrier, as these substances can cause irritation and dry out the skin. Products that soothe irritation and do not remove moisture are more suitable for sensitive skin. Incidentally, this applies not only to the care, but also to the cleaning products.

Less is often more

Many people affected by a disturbed skin protection barrier are of the opinion: a lot helps a lot. In fact, it does not always make sense to overload the skin with the most intensive and rich care possible. Instead, this can lead to a vicious cycle of over-treated skin and further damage the skin.

A simple routine of mild cleansing, moisturizing serum and a barrier-protecting cream that is ideally adapted to the skin type is therefore usually sufficient.

Avoid drug mixes

Ingredients can only develop their full effect if they are combined correctly. Therefore active ingredients such as AHA, BHA, retinol or other acne treatments should only be used with caution. If too many of these active ingredients are used in high concentrations, this can irritate the skin unnecessarily and impair the barrier function.

It is advisable to use different active ingredients at different times of the day so that the effect of the individual products is not impaired.

Do not use rough scrubs

Coarse scrub peelings can severely irritate the skin and cause fine micro tears on the skin's surface. Gentle chemical peelings, which gently remove calluses without destroying the natural skin protection barrier, are better suited.

Own towel for the face

To keep the skin's microbiome in balance, we shouldn't unnecessarily expose it to harmful bacteria. Proper hygiene is therefore crucial: An extra towel should be used for the face, which is replaced every three days.

The same goes for the pillow. All kinds of dead skin, sweat and sebum end up there at night, which is why it offers the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

develop routine

Last but not least, the skin barrier can only be strengthened in the long term if healthy habits are regularly integrated into everyday life. Of course, factors like stress and lack of sleep can cause our skin to go through better and worse phases.

Nevertheless, it makes sense to use rituals and routines to learn how to deal with your own skin and your whole body in a healthy way - be it with a regular care routine, relaxation rituals or a balanced nutrition plan. The following applies: A healthy, balanced lifestyle is the most important step on the way to a strong skin barrier.


How do you strengthen the skin barrier?

The right care and cleansing routine is crucial for a healthy, strong skin barrier. You should use mild products that have moisturizing ingredients and support the skin barrier with important ceramides. In addition, sunscreen should be used daily to prevent damage to the skin's own protective layer.

What repairs the skin barrier?

In addition to the right care products, a balanced lifestyle is also crucial for the regeneration of the skin barrier. This includes:

  • Avoidance of aggressors such as UV radiation, environmental toxins and stress

  • little alcohol, caffeine and nicotine

  • a balanced diet and a healthy intestinal flora

  • sun protection

What does a broken skin barrier look like?

Anyone who does not normally struggle with dry skin but suddenly feels tight and dry may have a weakened skin barrier. In this case, the skin appears dry, rough and sallow and suffers from a significant loss of moisture. In addition, due to the weakened protective function, it is more susceptible to the colonization of harmful microorganisms - inflammation, redness and pimples can be the result.

How long does it take for the skin barrier to recover?

It takes an average of 28 days for the skin to fully regenerate. Due to the formation of new skin cells, the lowest cells are constantly pushed upwards, where they finally dry out, become horny and form the uppermost horny layer of the skin. Care products with valuable ingredients that promote skin regeneration can speed up the process and effectively strengthen the skin barrier.



Healthy skin is a holistic project: A balanced diet, the right care routine and a healthy lifestyle are just a few aspects of many, as this article shows.

The sensitive facial skin is doing a special favor with high-quality care products. Even if the skin barrier is basically intact, it is worth providing it with repairing agents such as ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids.

However, especially when the skin's protective barrier is damaged, it is essential to integrate these valuable ingredients into the care routine and thus help the skin to successfully defend itself against external influences and dehydration.

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