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How Long Does It Take To Repair The Skin Barrier? A Derm Explains

Per usual, Bowe took to TikTok to answer some of her followers’ most pressing questions–this time, about how long it takes to truly repair the skin barrier. First, she notes: “It actually has to do with how damaged the skin barrier is.” Don’t worry, she provides examples to follow.

The perfect example of a severely damaged skin barrier is a sunburn. Think about it: Your skin may be red, peeling, burning, and maybe even itching. Bowe explains, “You could even apply something as gentle as a fragrance-free moisturizer designed for eczema, and it’s going to sting and burn.” That reaction alone is a tell-tale sign of severe barrier damage.

When your barrier is in this state, it will take a minimum of a couple of days to heal, Bowe explains. A mildly damaged barrier, on the flip-side, will heal much more quickly. You’ll know your barrier is slightly compromised if it’s red, sensitized to your usual skin care products, or has trouble holding moisture.

This kind of damage is typically caused by skin dehydration, over-exfoliation, using too much of a retinoid, etc. Luckily, Bowe explains, you may be able to repair the damage within an hour or so if you use ultra-hydrating products.

Not sure which products to use? Well, everyone’s skin is different, but in this case, it can be helpful to think about what not to use. Stay away from exfoliating ingredients of any kind (be it physical or chemical), acids, retinoids, fragrance, and essential oils.

One gold-star repair product for the face: The Bowe Glow Microbiome Nourishing Cream from Bowe’s own skin care line. (The “Bowe Glow” is very much real.) “We found that after just one application, in one hour, we were able to repair the skin barrier.” Pretty impressive, no? As for body care, check out our list of barrier-supporting body lotions.

No matter which product you decide to use for hydration, remember to stay out of the sun and keep up with gentle, hydrating, and fragrance-free formulas. As Bowe says, “Less is more until your barrier recovers.”

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