The tempratures are dropping, jack frost is nipping at your nose.... it's time to done some gloves and perhaps a wooly hat too! Winter weather can be harsh on the skin and combined with central heating, bitter winds, and other environmental factors the skin can become sensitised this time of year. Combine that with the beloved accessory of 2020 - the face mask and we have a recipe for super sensitised skin!
How can we keep your skin glowing, healthy and maskne free this winter? Well, it helps to know a little bit about why the skin becomes sensitised and then we'll discuss how to treat it. The harsh weather, added stress and masks can create redness, dryness, sensitivity and can also cause the skin to feel sore and sting when you apply products to your skin. With the cold winter climate, extra hand washing and antibacterial sanitiser this can also happen to the hands.
Why do the hands and face sting when a moisturiser is applied? An impaired barrier function of the skin causes the product to penetrate too quickly resulting in a stinging or itching sensation. The impaired barrier function can be improved with the right care and heals within a couple of days. We can't change the extrinsic factors at the moment, but we can help prevent and take extra care of our skin. The cold weather, hot water, indoor heating and soap based products can strip the skin of its essential moisture levels. The skin might look dull, feel tight, dry and flaky or feel itchy. This is caused from a lack of moisture and natural oils in at the skin that form the lipid barrier, when this is depleted it can weaken the skin's protective barrier. This can result in leaving the skin susceptible to redness, stinging and irritation.
"Sensitized skin from your environment is different from genetic sensitivity, or being born with sensitive skin. What do we mean by your environment? Think pollution, humidity, and sudden temperature changes in climates – like going from the cold, dry winds outdoors to dry heat indoors." explains the International Dermal Institute
Prevention is better than repair, but either way with the help of a professional, your skin can be brought back to health. Layering hydration will help to maintain the lipid barrier and protect the skin. It is also important to ensure you combine the following moisture retaining products with a twice daily double cleanse to remove the impurities, pollutants and makeup from the skin. A hydrating spritz can help boost moisture levels and ensure a more even absorption of moisturiser.
With the help of this trio of products the barrier function can repair itself reducing redness, sensitivity and dryness.
Calm Water Gel - the way I remember what order to apply this trio is that oil sits on top of water, so this light weight hydrating gel soothes sensitive skin with a Dual Hyaluronic Acid technology that penetrates the deeper skin and quenches the surface layers. Cactus Pear Extract helps soothe sensitivity with natural water-binding properties to help lock in moisture. In the summer months this is great as a hydrating serum or bedtime moisturiser, but in the winter, I would recommend layering it.
Barrier Defense Booster - By applying this oil it creates a natural protection film to reinforce the lipid barrier and protect against further irritation from the elements. It locks in moisture, soothes, and nourishes to restore balance to sensitive skins. Squalane naturally has anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing benefits while the soothing Oat Oil helps calm acne and eczema.
Barrier Repair- feels velvety to touch which is created by a silicone base that gives the skin a protective layer to help it repair itself and protect the integrity of the skin against further damage. As an added bonus, it also contains vitamins C and E to help stimulate collagen production and combat free radicals which damage the skin. This can be used on its own or under your daily spf and night creams. It is also light enough to use around the eye area as an all-in-one product. As as side note - I love this for air travel and its great on any bit of eczema or dry patches on the body or hands.
During the winter months, I recommend to my clients that they always go one layer heavier with their day and nighttime moisturisers to help maintain moisture levels in their skin. For some oily or super sensitive skins the Barrier Repair would be enough, but if your skin is dry then I would recommend putting an additional layer on top. During the day, always remember to wear sun protection - those UVA (ageing rays) are out 365 days a year! Then at night use a rich nourishing moisturiser during the colder months to help repair and restore the skin overnight.
Seven steps to help shed the red this winter:
- ensure your facial cleanser and body wash are neutrally ph balanced for the skin.
- shower in warm water not hot - it strips the skin of its natural lipid barrier
- use a humidifier to help bring moisture to your home or office
- check in with your dermatologist about swapping any skincare medication for alternative treatments
- consult your doctor about any nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances as they can also cause skin sensitivity and redness.
- try to get plenty of sleep and eat a balanced diet, if the body is run down it will be more susceptible to histamine reactions causing the skin to become red and irritated.
- avoid shocking the skin to prevent broken capillaries. When the skin is exposed to extremes of heat (freezing outside to extra warm inside) the little blood capillaries expand and contract too quickly causing them to break leaving little red lines along the nose and cheeks.
Just a few small changes to your every day routine can help keep your skin hydrated and glowing all season long. For example after cleansing with warm water (not hot) Dr Stein a dermatologist from Michigan's Henry Ford Hospital recommends to
"blot skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin," says Linda Stein Gold, MD
Living by the coast in the New Forest and having a dog, I'm outside in all types of weather at least twice a day, so I have had to learn the hard way on ways to protect my skin against the elements. In the winter, I use the trio of products when running along the coastal path, walking around the forest or exploring a city to help maintain a strong barrier function. I have been amazed at how my skin didn't sting or become raw and chapped with the bitter gale force winds, cold temperatures, central heating and log fires. These products are formulated to help hydrate, repair and protect the skin - a great asset to any skincare regime! If you would like any customised skincare advice, please get in touch email@example.com
Thank you for reading! - Diana x