How to improve winter dry skin?
The rate at which natural desquamation or exfoliation takes place depends on internal factors such as health, age, and amount of water in the body, as well as on external factors such as protective covering, temperature, and weather conditions. Excess keratinization or build up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin can be caused due to the lack of water in the body and in the air. That’s why almost everyones skin feels much dryer in the winter months with the cold weather and lower humidity. Cold air is more dense than warm air, which leaves little room for water vapor. Notice that in the summer everyone’s skin feels more moist!
Excess keratinization can occur on all skin types such as lipid dry, oily and reactive skin types. Especially in the winter, gentle exfoliation plays an important role. When skin is dry, we tend to use havier creams to compensate for the dryness. However dry skin means you have a buildup of dead skin cells. Thus it doesn’t make sense to re-hydrate dead, dry skin cells. Instead, use gentle exfoliating techniques to remove build up of dead skin cells, and then moisturize the new skin cells, resulting in a hydrated and supple skin. Gentle however is a key! Most people use too harsh mechanical exfoliants (with beads) which in most cases irritate the skin.
Excess keratinization or build up of dead skin cells is often seen in oily skin conditions as well. Desquamation or natural exfoliation can be slowed, as oil acts as a glue that holds dead skin cells to the surface. This can eventually contribute to clogged follicles.
During a Comprehensive Health History Consultation I often find that many of my clients with the problematic skin that have excess keratinization, congested open and closed comedones (black and white heads), as well as pastules and papules (pimples) drink very little water, sometimes as little as only 1-4 cups of water a day! Which is clearly too little and can definitely lead to impaired lymphatic system and a build up of dead skin cells.
Drinking about 2 liters of water a day is absolutely essential to avtivate essential processes and enzymes in the body. Don’t forget that we are made of more then 70% of water!
To gently yet effectively exfoliate the skin, use AHAs such as lactic or glycolic acid in the winter month (concentration and pH depends on your current skin condition); BHA like salicylic acid is more appropriate for oily skin type; lactic acid is also more appropriate for those with the sun damage as it inhibits melanin production. To improve and maintain overall skin health and assist in natural exfoliation, stimulate blood flow, micro circulation and lymphatic system by exercising and walking outdoors in the fresh air. Adequite hours of sleep play tremendous role in overall health. To increase moisture levels inside of the room in the winter time use humidifiers.