Barrier creams are a type of product that can help repair and protect the skin barrier. When the skin barrier is compromised, it can lead to dryness, flakiness, redness, itching, and roughness. Barrier creams are specifically formulated to support and repair the skin barrier by replenishing essential lipids and increasing hydration.
According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Terrence Keaney, repairing the skin barrier involves giving it what it needs, such as replenishing essential lipids and increasing water hydration. Barrier creams are designed to do more than just hydrate the skin; they also heal the barrier and protect against the loss of water and the infiltration of allergens and irritants. Dr. Stacy Chimento, another board-certified dermatologist, explains that barrier creams contain ingredients that target the skin barrier, such as ceramides, which are a type of emollient and the foundation of the skin barrier.
Choosing the right barrier cream involves considerations such as ingredients and consistency. When looking for a quality moisturizer for the skin, it is important to find one with ingredients that specifically target the skin barrier. Ceramides are commonly found in barrier creams. Consistency is another factor to consider, as barrier creams can vary in thickness. Thicker creams are suitable for those with dry skin or during colder seasons, while lighter creams are better for those living in hotter environments or with oily/acne-prone skin.
A healthy skin barrier is hydrated, radiant, plump, smooth, elastic, and lacks signs of irritation such as tightness or stinging. On the other hand, a compromised skin barrier can exhibit symptoms such as dryness, dullness, flaking, burning, itching, stinging, or tightness. Those with dry skin are often more prone to barrier disruption because their skin lacks sufficient sebum, the oily substance that naturally moisturizes and protects the skin barrier. Skin conditions like rosacea can also lead to a compromised skin barrier. Additionally, treating acne with multiple products can also damage the barrier.
Barrier creams can be beneficial in various situations. They are particularly useful for managing hand dermatitis caused by chemicals or frequent water exposure, napkin dermatitis (diaper rash) in babies and adults with incontinence, and stoma dermatitis caused by body fluids and stoma appliances.
There are several barrier creams available in the market. Some popular options include Calmoseptine Ointment, TENA Barrier Cream, 3M Cavilon Durable Barrier Cream, Coloplast Baza Protect, Coloplast Critic-Aid Clear, Dynarex Vitamins A and D Ointment, Dynarex Calasoothe, Medline Remedy Intensive Skin Therapy Calazine Skin Protectant with Zinc Oxide, and Medline Remedy Phytoplex Hydraguard Silicone Cream. These creams offer different features such as fragrance-free formulas, moisture protection, prevention and treatment of diaper rash, protection for cracked and chapped skin, and relief for insect bites.
Overall, barrier creams are an essential part of skincare for repairing and protecting the skin barrier. They provide hydration, replenish essential lipids, and offer protection against irritants and allergens. Choosing the right barrier cream involves considering the ingredients and consistency that will address individual skin concerns.