I see a variety of clients in the clinic but at this time of year, the most common skin complaint is dry winter skin.
In order to solve the problem of Winter skin, its important to understand a little of how our skin is made up. The surface layer of the skin comprises of corneocytes and lipids which are similar to a brick wall with mortar in between.
The idea is that this “brick wall” forms a barrier to prevent two things, firstly it stops essential moisture disappearing through the barrier and secondly it protects the skin from environmental damage eg chemicals in the atmosphere, harsh winds
Your skin can contain up to 80% water and at this point your skin will be smooth and intact. However when the weather changes and central heating is switched on, your skin is like to react. Through Osmosis, the water of your skin is literally sucked out into the dry environment.
Further, if you have a compromised barrier due to over exfoliation and harsh cleansers, the result will be “Winter Itch”
If your skin goes below 10% water content, it is likely to feel tight and rough with some inflammation, redness, itchiness and flakiness. This sets into motion a cycle that is hard to remedy. In order to address the discomfort, it is essential to take action fast.
It is important to remember than when your skin is dry or dehydrated, any fines lines and wrinkles will be far more visible. When your skin is sufficiently hydrated, it looks instantly plumper and smooth.
In order to address the discomfort of dry, dehydrated, itchy skin, it is essential to take action fast.
I would suggest looking at the following areas first
Cleansing – Are you using an alkaline soap or harsh alcohol based toner which can strip the skin of its natural barrier protection causing a further leaking of essential moisture?
Why not try a cleansing oil instead? Oil based cleanser are an excellent way to get rid of make up and unwanted debris on the surface of the skin as they work on the premise that like attracts like, oil attracts oil. Recently launched cleansing oils will attach themselves to the oil based substances on the skin and then emulsify and wash away when water is used to rinse the skin. It gives a thorough but gentle cleanse every time and I use on every client in the treatment room as a first cleanse.
During December we are out partying more! and maybe you are wearing heavier make up. Your choice of cleanser is really important. Oil based cleansers such as Precleanse are ideal for removing make up quickly and effectively. Its important to find a cleanser for your second cleanse that suits y our skin, there are many to choose from including milk, cream, or oil. Its vital that your skin is cleansed effectively to be able to absorb the nutrients of your moisturiser.
Moisturising – We layer our clothes in the winter to protect against the cold, why not layer up your moisturisers for maximum protection against cold winds and dry indoor humidity?
It is worth considering switching to a richer moisturiser for the winter months
Serum – Another essential for winter is an overnight serum. Night time is the prefect time to treat dry and sensitised skin as your skin does its internal housekeeping whilst we sleep and this is the time that it repairs and renews, it is also the point at which your skin is at its driest during the night.
If you apply a nourishing serum overnight, your skin can soak up the lovely ingredients without the worry of aggravating factors of the external environment during the day to content with, it is a great chance to repair the skins’ barrier.
Hydrating mask – Another option would be to use a nourishing mask twice a week, you could even apply this under your night time moisturiser and leave the mask on over night.
I would suggest an intense hydrating treatment to quench dehydrated skin using electrotherapy, Iontophoresis or Sonophoresis. Treatments can be 30 or 60 mins and once your skin has been rehydrated you will see an instant visible difference.
December is a very challenging time for our skin in general. Key factors include: less daylight, colder weather and less fruit and salads in our diet as we switch to hot meals usually stodgy foods and more caffeine in our diet. This will mean we may miss out on key vitamins. Its important to up your skincare to combat these challenges.