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Your Ultimate Skin Barrier Explainer

January 1 | 3 minute read

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Words by Samantha Brigden

Originally published on | January 31

Welcome to Skintellectuals – our monthly column where leading skin specialists turn guest editors to share their expert skincare advice (no appointment necessary!).

When it comes to your skin barrier, nobody knows it like Cosmetics 27 Founder Michèle Evrard. Consider it the French pharmacist's raison d'être: “Asking me to talk about this is asking me to talk about my two favourite topics: the skin and the barrier!” she says.

While you might have only learnt about this natural defence mechanism in recent years (thanks, TikTok), it's been the defining focus of French pharmacy skincare for eons. After 20 years of experience in the beauty industry, Evrard shared every Parisian's secret to great skin with the launch of her first cult product in 2009: Baume 27.

An insider favourite of countless skincare enthusiasts and experts, Baume 27 is powered by the brand’s signature CICA-MA2® Complex – a Centella asiatica blend acclaimed for its abilities to help reinforce your skin’s protective layer.

So, why is your barrier so important? Evrard reveals – first-hand – everything you've ever wanted to know...

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“Taking care of our skin is not just an aesthetic act, it is a health act.”

Michèle Evrard

“Our skin is our largest organ – and one of the most vital ones. It has many functions, even though it is often reduced to an aesthetic organ. This is the most visible but least essential function of our skin, really. Taking care of our skin is not just an aesthetic act, it is a health act.

“It’s also our protective envelope and a place of vital physiological exchange between our body and the environment. That in itself establishes the skin barrier’s importance in maintaining body integrity.

“The skin consists of three specific layers: the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. What might be the most important to focus on is the top layer, the epidermis, which we often mistreat. This is our protective barrier against the environment. It’s a very well organised hydrolipidic structure (made of oil and water), which can be maintained with hydrating skincare.

“On top of the epidermis, we also have what I call the fourth layer: our skin microbiome. It is a layer of microorganisms that act as our first line of defence. Without a balanced, healthy microbiome, skin becomes more vulnerable and the barrier weakens.

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“So, how do you maintain the microbiome and balance your barrier? Most of the time, we can rely on our skin’s amazing capacity for homeostasis, which basically means it can get back into balance by itself. Nevertheless, in some cases, our skin can’t cope. This tends to happen if it’s being overly treated with stronger treatments and products.

“Whatever impacts our microbiome will in turn impact our skin barrier. This can show up in the form of dry skin, blemishes or sensitivity and redness. If you are dealing with this, the first thing I recommend is being gentle on your skin. Problems tend to be caused by an excess of everything, so opt for more gentle products and less intense treatments (like retinoids and acids).

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“To help maintain skin balance, I recommend using ingredients that support hydration, protection and rejuvenation – which is what we focus on in every Cosmetics 27 formula. There’s prebiotics and postbiotics to support the microbiome, amino acids and peptides to restore the barrier, then our unique CICA-MA2 Complex® (a Centella asiatica blend) to encourage rejuvenation.

“Of course, aside from a healthy skincare routine, taking care of our internal environment is also important, including a balanced diet and lifestyle. Adding antioxidant and probiotic-rich foods to our diet can help, along with maintaining a good protein intake and reducing sugar.”

Want even more expert advice on achieving your best skin yet? Book in a redeemable 1:1 service with a MECCA Skin Specialist now!

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