By Daniel, ESK Co-founder

The answer is yes. The skin barrier helps prevent Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) keeping moisture in your skin. So many people think that oily skin can’t be dry skin- but it is indeed. In fact, TEWL is partly to blame for the acne itself. In fact some studies suggest that the worse the TEWL, the more severe the acne. So ironically, treating TEWL can help improve acne. 

Unfortunately, many acne treatments containing benzoyl peroxide and some forms of vitamin A like tretinoin, tazarotene and isotretinoin actually increase TEWL and yet play a huge role in treating acne. So if you are using them, restoring skin barrier function becomes even more important. 

So how do you improve skin barrier function in acne?

1. Moisturize;

Studies of emollient and moisturising skincare products for acne show they improve skin irritation, redness and skin dryness. And most experts recommend non comedogenic moisturizers as part of your anti-acne regime. 

But moisturizing isn’t enough. You will want actives in your skincare. 

  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps regulate skin turnover (reducing pore blockages) and reduces inflammation and any post inflammatory pigmentation. Retinal is, according to the evidence, the most effective and is the least irritating form of Vitamin A. ESK’s Ultimate A and Ultimate A+ night-time moisturisers are our hero products for treating acne effectively.
  • Niacinamide AKA Vitamin B3. This skincare active effectively not only reduces inflammation but helps combat overproduction of sebum (or oil) in the skin. ESK’s B Calm has 5% Niacinamide in a soothing but moisturizing cream, ideal for acne-prone skin. 

2. Avoid things that can make skin barrier function worse!

  • Avoid soap which irritates skin and impairs skin barrier function. Cleansing is really important to remove excess sebum but go for a soap free cleanser like ESK’s Calming Cleanse or Hydroxy Cleanser to gently remove dirt and excess keratin.
  • Avoid UV damage. UVB and UVA rays both can cause inflammation and reduced skin barrier function. So opt for a broad spectrum non-comedogenic sunscreen with low irritation risk. Zinc oxide based sunscreens are ideal and tick all the boxes. You can find this in ESK’s Zinc Shade which gives you a matt finish and can be used under make up. 

So there you have it:

Maintaining the best skin barrier function you possibly can will actually help with your acne. Avoid soap, protect yourself from the sun and use a good comedogenic moisturizer. 


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