The Skin Barrier

What it is, why it matters and how to keep it strong

skin barrier

If you’re looking for the simple answer to maintaining your best, healthiest-looking, most glowing skin, look no further than your skin barrier. This outermost layer is not only the part of skin you can see, but it’s also skin’s number one line of defense against damaging stressors and dehydration. Here’s everything you need to know about the skin barrier, so you can get yours to an optimal state — and maintain it.

The Five Fast Facts

  1. The skin barrier is your outermost layer of skin and the part you can see.
  2. The skin barrier acts like a shield, stopping aggressors from entering and preventing vital elements from escaping.
  3. When your skin barrier is weakened or compromised, it shows on your face.
  4. When your skin barrier is optimized, your complexion will appear plump, smooth, even-toned and hydrated.
  5. StriVectin is the skin barrier authority, with over 35 years of biomedical research and patented NIA-114 technology - clinically proven to strengthen the skin barrier.

What is the Skin Barrier?

Sometimes called the moisture barrier, the skin barrier is made up of cells and lipids that work together to protect skin. Imagine it’s a brick wall, with solid mortar in between each brick. Almost nothing can permeate the wall, either from the inside out, or the outside in. That’s a healthy barrier. But now imagine that the mortar is weakened. It’s no longer the impermeable wall and in that compromised state, everything can come and go (water, vital nutrients out; irritants, bacteria, pollutants in).

How Does the Skin Barrier Become Damaged?

So, now that you know how important the skin barrier is, how do you keep it from becoming damaged? There are dozens of daily aggressors that can weaken and damage the skin barrier and open the door to unwanted results.


Just as collagen, elastin, natural sebum and more degrade with age, so does the skin barrier. By age 50, the skin barrier can be significantly diminished.


Any kind of stress, whether physical or emotional, can have a damaging impact on the skin barrier.


Watch out for habits like a poor diet, caffeine and alcohol consumption, smoking and not getting enough sleep, all of which can dehydrate skin and weaken the skin barrier.


The world around you is a constant threat to the skin barrier with smog, pollution, free radicals, extreme weather, changing climates, dry heat and sun damage.

Skincare routine

Are your skincare products doing more harm than good? They may be if they contain harsh ingredients that can strip skin of natural oils. Your routine may also be weakening the skin barrier. Over-washing skin, using hot water for rinsing and exfoliating too frequently are all ways to damage the skin barrier.

How to Tell If Your Skin Barrier Has Been Damaged

A damaged skin barrier is easy to diagnose. If you’re seeing any redness, chronic dryness, itchiness, unexplained breakouts, increased sensitivity, dehydration, dullness and even more pronounced lines and wrinkles, it’s a good indication of a weakened defense. The good news, there are steps you can take to strengthen your skin barrier!

How to Strengthen and Maintain Your Skin Barrier

  • Choose barrier strengthening skincare! Every StriVectin product is formulated with NIA-114™, a patented, optimized form of Niacin / Vitamin B3 clinically proven to strengthen the skin barrier.
  • Look for key ingredients. Moisturizers rich with ceramides (like Hyaluronic Dual-ResponseSerum), anti-oxidants (like Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel) and peptides (like Active Infusion Youth Serum), along with products that replenish lipids (like Oleic Rapid Recovery Milk) will help restore plumpness and hydration to skin. These ingredients can help counter environmental damage and the impact of lifestyle and behavior.
  • Use Broad-spectrum sunscreen. It's rule #1 in any skincare routine and also a key factor in keeping the skin barrier strong.
  • Handle with care. Treating your skin gently is key. Use lukewarm water when washing your face, steer clear of harsh ingredients and practice gentle exfoliation only a few times each week.
  • Once your barrier is strengthened, it will be more effective at doing its job of protecting against environmental stressors, daily wear and tear and the impact of biological aging. Skin will achieve better water retention for balanced hydration, less susceptible to irritation and appear more plump, glowing, even-toned and healthy-looking.

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