This Wildly Popular Skincare Brand Puts the Skin Barrier First

The secret sauce to Skinfix's healing products is a formula that's over 100 years old.

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Amy Gordinier/SkinFix

The skin barrier is so hot right now. If you follow any dermatologists or skincare influencers on Instagram or TikTok, you've probably come across a video (or a few) on the importance of the barrier and how to repair it. And if you do have a weakened barrier, the good news is that there are a plethora of products labeled "barrier repair" to choose from.

While the barrier has become one of the buzziest topics in skincare over the past few years, there are a few brands that have always made supporting barrier health their focus. One such brand is Skinfix, founded by Amy Gordinier in 2012, when she came across a healing formula that's been around since the 1800s.

After putting its formulas through clinical and dermatological testing, Skinfix's products quickly became trusted and recommended by dermatologists and gained a cult-following at Sephora. Today, the brand's products are best-sellers at the beauty retailer.

Ahead, Gordinier shares how a chance encounter landed her back in the beauty industry, why she thinks the skin barrier is having a moment, and the misconception people still have about it.

How did Skinfix come to be?

I got into the beauty industry right out of university. After working at L'Oréal for five years, I went to business school. After graduation, I worked at Coty for a few years, and then I moved to London to work for Jo Malone right after Estée Lauder acquired the brand. I loved the entrepreneurial spirit of Jo, who actually predicted I'd one day own a brand. I ended up moving back to Eastern Canada when I was pregnant with my first child and thought my beauty industry career would be over. I did some consulting and worked for a company that sold omega-3 fish oils to the supplement space. Then I met this local woman through a mutual connection. She had a formula with pharmaceutical-grade actives in it that her great, great, grandfather Tom Dixon created in England in 1870. It was a healing balm that treated skin irritation, and they continued to make the balm and sell it privately when the family immigrated to Canada. It was used to treat everything from eczema and psoriasis to diaper rash. The idea that a natural product created in 1870 could go up against prescription products to treat skin issues was really exciting and compelling to me, and that's what got me hook, line, and sinker.

How did you end up creating products focused on barrier repair at a time when the average skincare user wasn't familiar with it?

One of the first things I did when I bought the formula was take it to a contact dermatologist in Toronto, because if was going to market this product to treat eczema issues, I needed to talk to a doctor make sure it's legit. I was told the formula was great, aside from one allergen we took out, but needed clinical data so that doctors would feel confident about recommending it to patients. We started to do studies and got involved with the dermatology community through conferences and scientific advisory boards. The barrier is what they would all talk about, so that was the language we started using. We maintained our focus on barrier health and that language because that's what we're built on, and now, it's a hot topic in skincare.

Why do you think the skin barrier is such a hot topic in 2021?

It could be that dermatologists, especially during COVID, have become much more prominent on social media and talk a lot about barrier integrity and repair, because they often are warning folks against waging chemical warfare on their skin with new products and damaging the barrier. There are also influencers like Hyram talking about barrier repair, along with the democratization of skincare that has further brought the term into the beauty industry vernacular. We're very happy it's now part of the vernacular.

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What's one misconception you think people still have about the skin barrier?

Barrier health is not hydration and it's not even moisturization. I think that's where people are hopefully starting to understand that it's important what kind of lipids/emollients you use on your skin. There is scientific evidence that shows skin-similar lipids actually help replenish the lipids in the barrier. Not every emollient penetrates the barrier and increases the lipids within the barrier. A lot of these brands talking about skin barrier health are talking about it because it's buzzy. We've done studies on this, along with CeraVe and SkinCeuticals.

What are some Skinfix products anyone can use?

The Triple Lipid Peptide Cream is truly an everything cream. If you tend to be oilier, you might only use it once a day, but otherwise you can use it morning and night. It repairs the barrier but won't interact with anything else you may be using.

And the Eczema+ Hand Repair Cream is another one. It was the first product we made after I bought the company, and the dermatologists said we needed a good hand cream that isn't loaded with fragrance or essential oils, has enough occlusivity, and if possible, some actives to treat really dry skin and eczema. It's certainly a product we've all been reaching for in the last couple years, and it's one literally everyone can use — unless you have a nut allergy because there is sweet almond oil in it.

Shop Skinfix's Best-Selling Products

Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream

Best SkinFix Products

On top of instantly hydrating skin, this lipid and peptide-packed cream helps restore the skin barrier to minimize redness and keep moisture from getting out.

Resurface+ Glycolic and Lactic Acid Renewing Body Scrub

Best SkinFix Products

Specifically designed to help minimize rough skin and improve the appearance of bumps from keratosis pilaris, Skinfix's exfoliating scrub smooths skin from head-to-toe, without stripping.

Barrier+ Triple-Boost 360° Brightening Eye Cream

Best SkinFix Products

This multitasking eye cream targets fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness with its powerhouse combo of actives, including lipids, a seaweed hyaluronic blend, and a prebiotic.

Resurface+ AHA Renewing Cream

Best SkinFix Products

Not your average body cream, SkinFix's rich lotion is infused with AHA acids for chemical exfoliation to help minimize bumps, rough patches, and crepey skin.

Barrier+ Foaming Oil Cleanser

Best SkinFix Products

This lightly foaming oil-based removes makeup, dirt, and excess oil while simultaneously hydrating skin.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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