Why helping maintain the skin barrier is important

Maintaining your skin's moisture level is very important if your skin is very dry and itchy. In fact, the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) says:

“[keeping] skin well hydrated with regular moisturising… is the most important single thing anyone can do” 

ASCIA, 20151

But why? Frequent moisturising helps replace moisture that may be lost through the compromised skin barrier. Dry, itchy and problematic skin may not be as effective in maintaining skin hydration. This leads to moisture constantly being lost, and if it isn’t replenished then you can wind up with dry, dehydrated skin that's susceptible to environmental irritants working their way inside.3

Maintaining your skin's moisture level is very important if you have very dry and itchy skin.

How often should I be moisturising?

ASCIA recommends moisturising 2-3 times a day, and after every bath or shower.1 This is especially important if you spend a lot of time in dry or hot conditions (like in the air-con at your office or outside in the sun). Also, if water is left on your skin after bathing or showering and then it evaporates, some of the moisture within your skin can be lost.4,5 To prevent this, moisturising immediately afterwards is recommended to help preserve the moisture in your skin.1

To find the best way to maintain your skin's hydration, talk to your dermatologist, GP or pharmacist.

It may help you to learn more about some key components of your skin like ceramides, so you can understand what's happening and how to manage it.

  1. ASCIA, Information for patients, consumers and carers; Eczema (atopic dermatitis) [internet], 2015 [updated 2015; cited 2018 May 11]. Available from: https://www.allergy.org.au/images/pcc/ASCIA_PCC_Eczema_2015.pdf
  2. Sajic D, Asiniwasis R, Skotnicki-Grant S. A Look at Epidermal Barrier Function in Atopic Dermatitis: Physiologic Lipid Replacement and the Role of Ceramides. Skin Therapy Lett. 2012; 17(7):6-9.
  3. Hon K.L, Leung K.C, Barankin B. Barrier Repair Therapy in Atopic Dermatitis: An Overview. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2013; 14:389-399.
  4. Eichenfield L.F, Tom W.L, Berger T.G, Krol A, Paller A.S, Schwarzenberger K. et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis: Part 2: Management and Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis with Topical Therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014; 71(1):116–132.
  5. Chiang C, Eichenfield L.F, Quantitative assessment of combination bathing and/or moisturizing regimens on skin hydration in atopic dermatitis. Pediatr Dermatol. 2009; 26(3):273–278.