Have you noticed your skin seems extra itchy at the moment? Particularly the legs?
Then read on…..
It’s that time of year again. Winter.
Cold winds, those reverse cycle air conditioners blasting out the heat, you’re inside, then outside, hot and cold, hot and cold.
It’s scenarios like this which plays havoc with your skin.
As a beauty therapist I see it a lot.
Sometimes you need to change up your skin care routine to match the elements.
Many people complain of itchy, dry skin over the cooler months, and skin hydration becomes even more important when facing these harsher weather conditions.
So let’s take a closer look at the skin – the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis). It is what makes our skin impermeable, and protects the deeper skin tissue and the body from bacterial invasion and other environmental aggressors.
The stratum corneum is made up of flattened, dead skin cells.
For the stratum corneum to properly protect the body, it must be elastic and flexible, which is only possible when the skin is properly hydrated.
Normal, healthy skin is 20–35% water. Each day, it loses around 500ml of water through transepidermal water loss (TEWL). But, when humidity drops, like it does in winter, there’s a dramatic increase in water loss as the dry air pulls moisture from the skin. When the skin’s water content drops below 10%, it begins drying and brings discomfort in the form of redness, itchiness and flakiness. With less water in the skin, lipid levels fall, setting in motion a vicious cycle that can be hard to resolve.
Add to the mix ongoing or prolonged exposure to irritants, such as certain soaps and even water (especially hot), and you have a far worse situation. This exposure causes the skin’s acid mantle (our skins barrier) to disintegrate, which further increases the rate of water loss in the skin and decreases lipid levels. The result is even drier skin that may crack and even become infected.
With less water and fewer lipids to lubricate and protect, the skin no longer sheds its dead cells properly, resulting in excessive build up of dead skin cells on the surface, giving it an ashy, rough looking appearance. It also results in an overall breakdown of skin health and the skin can no longer heal itself properly. In order to try and fix that discomfort caused by these conditions, there are a variety of options to get your skin back to its optimal health.
MOISTURISERS – the first objective is to minimise any discomfort.
Lotions and moisturisers can help repair the skins barrier and bring temporary relief.
Dry winter skin is best treated with a moisturizer that is rich in humectants.
Humectants attract water from the skin and store it in the stratum corneum (top layer of skin) they tend to be heavier and are often marketed as night moisturizers.
Regardless of the label, dry skin will benefit from their use throughout the day.
It is essential to reapply moisturizer every few hours when fighting dry skin. Another option is to add in an extra toner full of humectants throughout the day.
Some humectants to look out for are:
For the face: Eve Taylors Ultra Soothing Moisture Cream is great for dry, sensitive, barrier impaired skin, or Eves stronger cosmeceutical range and the Advanced Ultra Rich Intensive Repair Cream.
And let’s not forget the lips! Lips can become sore and chapped over winter, use of an exfoliant such as the From Earth Vanilla & Cinnamon Lip Scrub and Eve Taylors Seal & Protect Lip Balm will have those lips at their plump and kissable best in no time!
For the body: Eve Taylors Rescue & Repair Moisturiser contains vitamin D3 to nourish and protect, hyaluronic acid for ultimate hydration and chamomile to calm, soothe and condition. Body moisturisers are best applied straight after showering for maximum product efficiency and penetration.
EXFOLIATION- although exfoliation is something that should be done all year round’ anyway, it’s especially important for those with dry skin. Remembering that the low water content and reduced lipid levels associated with dry skin interrupt the normal desquamation (shedding of dead skin cells) process.
For the face: regular use (2 or 3 times per week) of an effective chemical exfoliant (which is an exfoliant made of things like fruit acids to melt away dead skin cells without having to manually scrub or brush) such as Eve Taylors Active Complex, or use of the Eve Taylor Micro Fine Exfoliant, will encourage the proper shedding of dead skin cells. Not only will this result in skin that looks better, but it will also improve the skin’s overall health.
For the body: regular body brushing with a body brush (such as a Bode Care Brush) or use of a scrub or mousse 2-3 times per week such as Aroma Skin’s Calendula, Orange & Vanilla salt scrub which also contains oils to help protect and nourish or Eve Taylors Exfoliating Body Mousse.
SERUMS & MASQUES – these are also additional options that can help retain hydrate and lock in moisture.
I highly recommend Eve Taylors Hylauronic Acid Serum for use under your moisturiser morning and night. As I touched on earlier, it is a powerful humectant that will assist with ultra hydration of your skin.
The Eve Taylor Soothing Masque contains Aloe to soften soothe and hydrate, Glycerin for hydration and Green Tea to soothe, heal and calm and should be used a few times per week.
And then there are your stock standard traditional remedies such as:
- Take fewer and/or shorter showers and baths, and reduce water temperatures. This is an essential step for those with dry skin, as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and can make problems like eczema and dry skin worse but should be followed by those with healthy skin, as well.
- Avoid the use of harsh soaps and detergents, as well as the frequent use of hand sanitizers. These ingredients destroy the skin’s acid mantle (that protective barrier), thus increases the rate of your skins water loss. Instead, alcohol-free hand sanitizer and soaps full of glycerin such as hot and cold process soaps are recommended.
- Use a cool-mist humidifier in the home and office to maintain proper humidity levels. This will help skin maintain hydration by slowing the rate of your skins water loss.
I hope this helps on your road to healthy winter skin without the itch, but if these things are not enough to get your skin looking your best, be sure to visit your local beauty therapist / ethestician to get you on the road to recovery.
Love the skin you’re in! – Neen xx