Season Changes to your Skin

As the #winter #season approaches so does the onset of a number of #skin #changes which for many of us can lead to a range of #uncomfortable #skin #issues.

In winter icy #cold #winds and sub-zero temperatures #strip #vital #lipids from the #skin resulting in #dryness, #flakiness and a #lacklustre #dull #appearance. The #inside #environment can be arid with little #moisture in the air as we crank up the #central #heating. This can leave skin feeling tight with more fine lines. #Temperature #fluctuations, as we move from #freezing #cold #outside to #warm and #toasty #inside can lead to #sensitivities and #impairments of the skins natural barrier function. Skin can become #red and #flushed as the body adjusts to these temperature differences. The #lips are particularly prone to dryness in the winter months, with flaking and #chapping leaving them #sore and #sensitive. Skin can also be particularly susceptible to #UV #damage in winter even though it may not be hot outside. UV rays will still have a #detrimental effect on the skin by generating free radicals that lead to #pigmentation and #premature #ageing. #Snow reflects the UV rays and can increase the UV exposure by twice as much. 

The skin is the #largest #organ of the #body, defending us from the #environment we live in. Whether living in a hot country with blazing sunlight, or in cold harsh climates with lots of snow, the skin works tirelessly to protect us.

During the summer months in the UK we can experience higher temperatures; which can increase #sebaceous #gland #activity, making our skin #oilier and increasing the chances of #breakouts. Higher humidity levels can stimulate the sudoriferous glands, leading to increased perspiration and less clothing being worn which exposes the skin to harmful UV rays.

When the #season #changes, so do temperature levels which #drop #quickly. We may notice skin feeling less oily with tightness due to #less #moisture in the air, fluctuations of temperature will become the norm with low outside temperatures and high temperatures inside. Whilst our skin will adapt to its conditions it likes consistency and dislikes sudden changes which make it work overtime to ensure levels are maintained.

One of the main issues #winter #skin faces is #dehydration. Dehydration occurs when the water content is lost from the cells of the outermost layer of the skin which holds over 10% water content in a healthy epidermis.

The skin's outermost layer acts as a barrier to our body, when functioning correctly it maintains levels of moisture. When the #skin #lacks the #moisture it needs and becomes #dehydrated it quickly develops tiny cracks and fissures in the barrier allowing for further water to evaporate through these cracks, something known as Trans Epidermal Water Loss, these cracks create direct pathways for irritants to penetrate into the skin leading to #irritation and #aggravation.

Whilst increasing consumption of water will always benefit us, the skin is the last organ to receive the benefits and so the use of correct #topically #applied #products is #essential.

If the home environment is especially dry consider investing in a #humidifier or simple bowls of water placed near radiators to add moisture to the air, simply tricks like this can be very beneficial for our skin.

Temperature fluctuations can also lead to impairment of the skins natural barrier function. Skin can become red and flushed as the body adjusts to the temperature difference.

#Cold #weather encourages us to turn up the #temperature in the shower or immerse ourselves in hot bath water, whilst this may offer us some warming relief, the increased water temperature can break down vital skin lipids; think about when washing greasy dinner plates, hot water run on the surface breaks down the oil and grease and so hot water on the skin has the same effect, disrupting the barrier function leading to increased sensitivity and water loss.

Whilst many of us think applying #solar #protection ends as summer time fades, we need to ensure this is used all year round. Damaging UV is prevalent in all hours of daylight, whether dull, cloudy or raining it bombards us with rays which cause skin damage and the onset of premature ageing. Whilst we don’t experience too much #snow in the UK, #sun #damage is at one of its highest levels in the winter due to the sheer reflectiveness of the snow, in fact, fresh snow reflects even more UV radiation than water. You may have seen parodies of people on skiing trips with ‘goggle tan’ - tanned faces with a defined white untanned skin in the shape of skiing goggles, whilst this may look humorous it is a very real reality and exposure to snowy conditions can lead to both a tan as well as sun damage. Ensuring an SPF of at least 25 or higher, reapplied regularly will offer protection; those embarking on skiing trips should look to reapply every two hours.

One of the main concerns during the winter season is those #tight #chapped #lips and #dry #cracked #hands. Our lips are exposed to elements constantly and are very susceptible to drying as they comprise of just 3-5 layers and don’t produce sebum to keep them lubricated. Cold weather and central heating strips any moisture from these delicate skin layers very easily leading to tightness, cracking, flaking and general discomfort. Using lip balms rich in #beeswax, #shea #butter and #honey will infuse #nourishment and #emollience to lock in that essential moisture and creates a buffer against the temperature fluctuations which cause the dryness.

We must also take care of our #hands during the winter months, this is essential to #reduce over #drying and #uncomfortable #cracking.  Avoid highly #foaming #washes which can strip away vital lipids, in place opt for #conditioning #hand #washes or a #creamy #cleanser to maintain #moisture #levels and #nourish at the same time. Limiting the amount of times our hands are washed will also help to maintain moisture levels, if regular washing is unavoidable follow with the application of a hand moisturiser to rescue them from potential dryness. Ensure hand wash and hand moisturiser are kept together as a duo to remind you to moisturise after every wash.

Wearing gloves in low temperatures will reduce dryness and offer a warming barrier to the elements, if gloves are not practical or disliked then ensuring hand moisturiser is applied will seal in moisture and act as an invisible glove. A #hand #moisturiser with added SPF will be better still to protect the backs of the hands from damaging UV and premature ageing.

During winter you may need to #adjust your #skincare #wardrobe; just how we wear different clothes for the cold season, so must we look to changing the products we use. #Subtle #changes like switching a moisture lotion for a cream will add increased emollience; opting for a creamy cleanser in place of a foaming cleanser will reduce drying in the skin or by adding a #serum or #mask to your existing routine will add the #nourishment your #skin #needs at this time of year. #Exfoliation can play a key benefit to winter skin and #reduce the #dry dull look which affect the complexion. Using a gentle exfoliant will digest the top most #dead #skin #cells and allow serums and moisturisers to absorb more readily to nourish and hydrate. Alternatively using a facial scrub will assist with the sloughing away of dead skin cells without over abrasion.

Here's to great winter skin!


Sadiah x

*credit Eve Taylor

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