The Best Barrier Creams To Rebuild Your Skin Barrier

Best Barrier Creams

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While we add new skincare ingredients into our skincare routines to solve our skin problems, we sometimes end up opening the door for new skin problems. One such problem is a damaged skin barrier caused by using certain skincare products. And one of the easiest ways to deal with that is by using barrier creams.

A barrier cream is a cream formulated to protect and repair the skin barrier. That’s why barrier creams are sometimes called skin barrier repair creams.

While a barrier cream can be used as a preventative measure to protect your skin against drying weather conditions, it is commonly used as a treatment method to repair and rebuild the skin barrier.

Using irritating active ingredients like retinol, over-exfoliating with hydroxy acids, and exposing your skin to drying products can strip the skin’s lipids leading to a damaged skin barrier.

As a result of an impaired skin barrier, your skin becomes dry and sensitive. If this sounds all too familiar and your current moisturizer doesn’t seem to be enough, below are the best barrier creams to strengthen your skin barrier.

Best Barrier Creams

1. Vaseline Original Healing Jelly

Vaseline Original Healing Jelly

You don’t need to spend $80 on a cream to repair your skin barrier. Petroleum jelly, which is what Vaseline is made of, reduces transepidermal water loss by more than 98%. It works by forming a barrier on the skin, sealing moisture in, and preventing it from evaporating. So if an impaired barrier is your problem and you’re on a budget, this is it.

On the flip side, Vaseline is far from being an ideal, pleasant cream. It’s thick, greasy, sticky, messy, and overall uncomfortable. And if you’re prone to breakouts, there’s a chance it might make it worse especially if you don’t properly remove it from your skin. Personally, no matter what dermatologists say, my skin does not like this one. But again, yours might.

Key Ingredients: Petroleum jelly
Size: 13 oz/49 gr

2. EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex

EltaMd Barrier Renewal Complex - Best Barrier Creams for Rosacea

I talk about this cream whenever I talk about dryness, irritation, sensitivity, and rosacea. Because this is a multi-tasking moisturizer and one of those tasks is to help repair the skin barrier. It’s comfortable on the skin and it’s formulated with everything your skin’s familiar with.

It’s got ceramides, squalane, amino acids, and fatty acids to restore the skin lipids. In addition, it utilizes vitamin E and vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to boost moisture and repair the skin barrier.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, niacinamide, amino acids, squalane
Size: 1.7 oz/48 gr
Good To Know: Vegan, non-comedogenic, fragrance-free

3. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration - Best Barrier Creams for Face

If you’re looking for a barrier cream and your skin is prone to redness, then this soothing cream is for you. It’s made with anti-inflammatory ingredients to instantly soothe the skin. Colloidal oatmeal, feverfew, allantoin, green tea, and licorice extract address redness.

Plus, the cream utilizes ceramides, squalane, and shea butter to prevent dryness, increase moisture, and repair the skin barrier. The fragrance-free formula is also ideal for super-sensitive skin.

Key Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, green tea, squalane, ceramides
Size: 6 oz/170 gr
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

4. The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA - Best Barrier Creams for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

Finding a good barrier cream for oily and acne-prone skin is tricky. On the one hand, you’re dealing with an impaired skin barrier as well as dryness. On the other hand, slathering on petroleum jelly is not an option because it might clog your pores.

For that reason, this cream is oil-free and perfect for oily skin. It’s made with fatty acids, amino acids, ceramides, and squalane, which are emollient enough to restore your skin’s lipids but still light enough to keep your pores clear.

Key Ingredients: Amino acids, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, allantoin
Size: 3.3 oz/100 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, oil-free, fragrance-free

5. La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 - Best Barrier Creams for Dry Skin

If you don’t wish to use your barrier cream as a daily moisturizer and can afford to try something thicker to spot-treat dryness, you can try this balm. It’s a bit more intense than a thick winter cream, but it’s incredibly moisturizing.

It’s made with shea butter but it also contains soothing vitamin B5 (panthenol) as well as madecassoside, a component of Centella Asiatica. So it instantly calms the skin, reduces irritation and redness, and allows the skin to heal.

Key Ingredients: Panthenol, shea butter, madecassoside
Size: 1.3 oz/40 ml
Good To Know: Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free

6. Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream

Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream

Another daily moisturizer you can comfortably use as a barrier cream is this one. And it works because it’s formulated with all that is missing from a damaged skin barrier. It’s got lipids with a concentration of 3%. And it’s got ceramides, squalane, cholesterol, and hyaluronic acid to replenish the skin and increase moisture.

And the base of the cream is made with shea butter to seal everything in. The fragrance-free formula is perfect for improving the skin barrier while ensuring a pleasant feeling on the skin.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, rice bran extract, squalane
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, non-comedogenic

7. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream - Best Drugstore Barrier Creams

This is a fragrance-free moisturizer you can use for your face and body. Its base is formulated with petroleum jelly and it contains ceramides to restore the skin barrier. The texture is pretty thick and can be difficult to spread on dry skin. However, when your skin is damp and wet, it applies super easily and turns into a very light lotion.

If your skin is particularly damaged, use it on dry areas to make it work like an occlusive moisturizer. If you wish to make it your daily moisturizer, use it on wet skin. It disappears into the skin but instantly revitalizes your complexion and leaves it plump.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, petroleum jelly, hyaluronic acid
Size: 12 oz/340 gr
Good To Know: Non-comedogenic, fragrance-free

8. SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 - Best Barrier Creams For Wrinkles

A patented, impressive formula is this barrier cream made for mature skin types. It’s literally made to mimic the composition of a healthy skin barrier. The cream utilizes 4% cholesterol, 2% ceramides, and 2% fatty acids to replace the loss of lipids on aging skin.

And it has sunflower seed oil, which is rich in vitamins and fatty acids too, to lock moisture in and prevent further moisture loss. In time, the cream helps repair the skin barrier that’s damaged with age and restores a more resilient, stronger barrier function.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol
Size: 1.6 oz/48 ml

9. StriVectin Wrinkle Recode Moisture Rich Barrier Cream

StriVectin Wrinkle Recode Moisture Rich Barrier Cream

Similarly, this one also utilizes a certain ratio of lipids to rebuild the skin barrier. But in addition to fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol, this one also has niacinamide, which helps stimulate the skin to produce its own ceramides.

It has a blend of plant extracts like calendula and turmeric for their anti-inflammatory benefits too. Basically, it packs anything and everything you need to increase the water content in the skin, boost circulation, and increase moisture retention.

Key Ingredients: Ceramides, fatty acids, niacinamide, shea butter
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, vegan

So these are some of the best barrier creams you can use to protect and repair your skin barrier. Remember, moisture is only one part of the story. So don’t forget to go easy on your skin with the rest of your products too. Use a gentle cleanser, moisturize often, ease up on the exfoliants, and wear your sunscreen.

What To Look For in a Barrier Cream

Restorative Ingredients

Look for ingredients like ceramides, squalane, fatty acids, and amino acids in your barrier cream. These are primarily helpful as they are components of your skin’s natural moisturizing factor. So the aim of these is to replenish moisture loss.

Soothing Ingredients

If your skin feels particularly sensitive and tight, you can look for soothing ingredients in your barrier creams too. Centella Asiatica, colloidal oatmeal, vitamin B5, and vitamin E increase moisture but also calm the skin. They’re helpful if you’re dealing with redness too.

Thicker Texture

Barrier creams are usually thick in texture. These work better because they help your skin with the ingredients they contain as well as by forming a thin layer on the skin. You can use heavily occlusive barrier creams to spot-treat dry areas on your skin or use them as night creams. But if you want to use your barrier as a daytime moisturizer too, make sure it’s light enough to be comfortable on the skin during the day.


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