When you think of “skin shield”, are you imagining some sort of cool forcefield floating above your skin that repels any kind of unwanted skin enemy? Well, if you did, you’re actually on the right track.
When it comes to your skin, the most common type of damage you are probably thinking of is sun damage, but damage can occur in many different forms without you even noticing. To understand what a skin shield is, it’s important to comprehend what daily stressors can accumulate to cause accelerated skin damage. Knowing the different types of damage and where they come from will ensure you know how to protect your skin effectively.
Daily Skin Stressors
First things first, aside from the most well-known type of damage, sun damage, there are a few other stressors you may not be aware of, but are very real.
Pollution – There are tonnes of particulate matter in the air that are naked to the eye. These microscopic materials range from things like sulphates to mineral dust which are small enough to penetrate the skin and cause the breakdown of collagen, dark spots, breakouts and inflammation. Next to UV rays, pollution is the lead cause of premature skin aging. While SPF can protect from the sun, it doesn’t offer protection from pollution. Furthermore, pollution skin damage may look a lot like sun damage.
Different pollutants can affect our skin in different ways. Ozone pollution for example, can deplete the antioxidants in the outer layer of our skin, leaving way for particulate matter damage on your skin to cause free radical damage. This is why you’re seeing product launches marketing themselves as packed with antioxidants that help reduce free radical damage.
Stress – Stress has been a widely researched topic. Studies find that stress leads to higher cortisol levels that are associated with many different issues on our bodies and our skin. With this information, our first thought is that we must manage our stress and be more zen. Much easier said than done. When it comes to our skin, stress may lead to breakouts, fine lines and wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging.
Makeup products – The types of makeup products you’re using can cause breakouts and dry out skin. Everyone’s skin is different and how it reacts with a certain product will vary from person to person. It’s important to understand the ingredients that are good and bad for skin so carefully read the product label. Look for a “clean” label on your makeup products, “non-comedogenic”, and fragrance/dye free.
These stressors can all lead to free radical damage to your skin. How free radical damage works: they grab extra electrons from your skin’s atoms. When the atoms are taken away from the molecules in the skin, it causes damage to the skin’s DNA and that can speed up the aging process. The product of this accelerated aging is a weakened skin barrier, dark spots, dull skin, lack of volume and elasticity causing sagging.
What is a Skin Shield?
A skin shield is a skincare product formulated with specific ingredients to aid in forming a protective barrier on your skin against daily stressors that cause free radical damage. You can compare it to a SPF protecting your skin against sun damage. A skin shield protects from daily stressors. When considering what to look for in a skin shield product, it’s important to consider the ingredients and what protection they offer your skin. Continue reading to find information on what ingredients to look for in a skin shield.
How a Skin Shield Protects You
The first thing you should look for are antioxidants when researching what skin shield to get. Antioxidants are the name of the game when it comes to skin shield products. The best way to neutralize the effect of free radical damage is using antioxidants in your routine more. Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that stop or delay damage to the cells. They do this by replenishing the number of electrons in a free radical so that it doesn’t steal from your skin’s atoms.
Vitamin C – When it comes to antioxidants, vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is considered the super antioxidant. A pure vitamin C product can be irritating so most skin shields will contain a small dosage. Vitamin C will aid your skin to look more radiant as it fights off that environmental damage and more youthful and bright.
Burdock root extract – this powerful antioxidant is known to neutralize free radical damage while quelling inflammation. Historically, the use of this root extract has been targeted towards skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Bamboo stem extract – helps to strengthen and fortify your skin barrier and restore your skin’s resilience against oxidative damage.
Ceramides – Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin barrier and aid skin in retaining moisture and offer protection against environmental irritants and pollution.
Aloe vera– the soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera make a great addition to any skin shield product.
Cica/Centella Asiatica – Popularized by Korean beauty, this ingredient is like aloe in its ability to reduce inflammation and calm skin.
How to Use Your Skin Shield
Once you’ve found your perfect skin shield, we recommend using it daily like moisturizer and SPF to protect your skin consistently. You can use it before makeup to offer extra protection against potential irritants from your products. If you’re going makeup-free that day, then you can use it alone as a great skincare habit.
Protecting your skin from daily stressors and irritates are just as important as protecting your skin from the sun. A skin shield is a great way to elevate your skin care routine. As a newer type of skin care item, it is important to get one that you know will neutralize against those pesky pollutants.
Ensure there are antioxidants as they are the most effective in protecting your skin against free radical damage. Also consider how much you use smart devices and how to manage your stress as they contribute to daily stressors you may not be aware of. If you aren’t actively preventing damage, then your skin is continuously experiencing these stressors whether you’re aware of it or not.