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6 moisturisers to get your damaged skin barrier back on track

Went overboard with your favourite exfoliators? Help is at hand

We get it. Sexy serums can sometimes be too tempting–who wouldn’t get attracted by the multitude of benefits that they promise? Baby-soft skin, glass skin, no hyper-pigmentation and scars, the list goes on. But adding too many acids to your routine, layering them the wrong way, or slathering your face with them without care, can do more harm than good.

Being heavy-handed with actives like vitamin C, retinol, BHAs, and AHAs ruins your skin barrier. What is a skin barrier, you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like. Our skin is composed of several different layers, and the skin barrier (or the moisture barrier) is the outermost one. It has one job, to keep all the bad things (aka irritants) out and all the good things (water) in. In short, hydration, locked in by a healthy skin barrier, is the key to dewy and bouncy skin. A compromised skin barrier will result in skin that is dry, patchy, dehydrated and extremely irritated. Using too many actives, along with scrubs, DIY beauty hacks, and waxing can all chip away at your moisture barrier.

But fret not–there are ways to help you get your skin mojo back. Now’s not the best time to do your entire skincare routine –stay off exfoliators and instead stick to simply cleansing, hydrating and protecting. The easiest and safest step is right there in your everyday routine–moisturisation. Since hydration is essential in maintaining a happy skin barrier, products that repair and restore are your best bet.

Cosmo tracked down the skincare ninjas for the job.  

Photo: Avene

Avéne Cicalfate Repair Cream 

Star ingredient: Thermal spring water

Use it on angry zits, use it on dry flaky patches, or use it on acne scars. Whatever you do with Avéne Cicalfate Repair Cream, you can’t go wrong. The mousse-like soothing cream works on repairing your skin and does away with irritation without leaving a greasy finish. Instead of putting it on your entire face, utilise it more as a spot treatment. Apply not more than a pea-sized drop on your problem areas before you go to sleep for the best results. The emollient cream has micronised zinc as one of its ingredients, which helps in tempering irritated skin.

Price: ₹1348

Photo: d'you

d’you In My Defence 

Star ingredient: Ceramides

The skin barrier is made up of ceramides along with essential lipids like cholesterol and fatty acids. So products that mimic the composition of the barrier in their ingredient list will surely help build it back to its former glory. Take In My Defence by home-grown beauty brand d’you, for example. The barrier-building ceramide moisturiser claims to defend with its unique blend that uses 1% pure ceramides. The formula is extremely lightweight and glides smoothly, leaving deeply-hydrated skin in its wake.

Price: ₹3500

Photo: Klairs

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream 

Star ingredient: Guaiazulene

If you haven’t heard of Guaiazulene before, get ready to meet the miracle ingredient now. Extracted from chamomile oil, it boasts of powerful skin calming abilities. It is also the component in Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream that lends it the unmistakable blue hue. Also featuring centella asiatica, the cream helps calm and strengthen sensitive skin. Similar to Avéne Cicalfate Repair Cream, use it as a balm to get the most out of its formulation. As part of your night-time routine, smear it on active acne, dark spots and flared-up eczema–remember a little goes a long way.

Price: ₹1670

Photo: Rovectin

Rovectin Skin Essentials Barrier Repair Cream Concentrate 

Star ingredient: Astaxanthin

Rovectin Barrier Repair Cream Concentrate is a genie in a tube with its anti-ageing, repairing and soothing properties. It’s chock-a-block with astaxanthin, a natural antioxidant found in a microalga that is known to be stronger than both vitamin C and vitamin E. It protects against damage caused by pollution and breathes life into dull and dry skin. Plus, it also boosts the nutrients that delay ageing. If you have mature and dry skin, this one’s a no-brainer!

Price: ₹2999

Photo: Formularx

Formularx Barrier Relief 

Star ingredient: Niacinamide and cholesterol

Looking for a moisturiser that nourishes deeply without leaving any tacky or oily feeling? Got ya! Oily skin gang, the Formularx Barrier Relief Moisturizer will quickly become your go-to when you’ve gone too far with exfoliation. The oil-free cream absorbs into the skin instantly, making it plump and hydrated. It’s a gel-based moisturiser that stars ceramide complex, cholesterol, free fatty acids, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide in its ingredients list.  

Price: ₹699

Photo: Illiyoon

Illiyoon Ato Concentrate Cream 

Star ingredient: Ginseng

Tiny ceramide capsules suspended in the cream are what sets this entry apart from the rest of the products on the list. These capsules in Illiyoon Ceramide Ato Concentrate Cream burst, or melt when applying so your skin gets the most out of the ceramides. The cream, which comes in a large tube and is meant for both your body and face, is decidedly rich and packs a moisturizing punch–those with dry skin will love it even more. Bonus, it’s totally sensitive-skin friendly. Overachiever, much?

Price: ₹3080