There are a few tell-tale signs of a damaged skin barrier that manifest when the outermost layer is compromised, which means it’s unable to protect the skin from external aggressors and cannot retain moisture. A damaged skin barrier may appear as flaky, dry skin, with increased sensitivity, redness, uneven discoloration, or even burning sensations. You’ll know when it’s time to step in — like if you begin to feel sensitive or tight and dehydrated, or if a preexisting condition like eczema or rosacea flares up. “When the barrier is damaged, allergens, pollutants, and irritants can find their way into the skin, causing rashes, breakouts, and further inflammation,” says Sarah Akram, a celebrity facialist and esthetician. “Once you repair the barrier, you can incorporate products to reverse any damage caused by the barrier being compromised.” 

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