How to maintain skin’s health during seasonal changes, especially in the winter months?

In order to handle seasonal changes, especially going into cold, windy, and dry winter weather, it’s important to maintain the skin at its optimum health from the inside out and vice versa.

Let’s start with the internal factors that have to be in check for proper skin function as well as health, and to resist external stressors.

  1. Water, water, water is a must! Water activates skin enzymes that promote desquamation or natural shedding of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Thus, without adequate water levels in the body, chemical reactions, systems, and enzymes slow down, and the skin with other systems starts to suffer, resulting in dry, flaky and rough skin texture. Help your skin to eliminate dead skin cells naturally. You can be sure you are receiving optimum amount of water when your urine is clear and odorless.
  2. Consume Essential Fatty Acids (omega 3) on a daily basis! The health and well-being of all cell membranes is dependent on those fats. Hence, they are not only essential for the skin’s health but literally for the entire body. They also contribute to the formation of healthy bi-layers in the epidermis, good quality oil secretion and become part of acid mantle (skin’s first barrier defense system). When the last one is healthy, it can resist pathogens and bacteria. If it’s compromised due to essential fatty acid deficiency, the skin starts to suffer, leading to water loss from the skin, irritation and eventually may contribute to inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, etc. EFA also have anti-inflammatory benefits and are essential in proper cell to cell communication.

In conclusion adequate water intake along with EFA (omega 3, 6 fats) is a must to keep skin’s surface happy at all times from inside out!

Now let’s look into external factors that can impact skin’s condition for better or worse.

 

  1. Appropriate cleanser maintains healthy foundation. If your skin feels tight and turns red after cleansing, you are using inappropriate cleanser which strips your protective barrier with natural oils. Pre-cleansing oils are wonderful to maintain healthy acid mantle while gently unclogging the pores, removing dead skin cells, and environmental toxins.
  2. Avoid hot baths. Hot water breaks down the protective surface lipid barrier in the skin, causing trans-epidermal water loss which leads to irritation, dryness, and itching sensation. Compromised acid mantle can eventually contribute to inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and rosacea. On the face and hands use only cool or lukewarm water!
  3. Do you exfoliate daily? If so, back off! Excessive exfoliation can compromise skin’s first barrier defense system (acid mantle) and reduce natural oils that keep skin hydrated and protected.
  4. If you still don’t have humidifier, get one! Our skin cells pull the moisture from the air and if there is no moisture or very low humidity, skin will become drier. Skin condition worsens even more when dry air is combined with hot indoor heating systems. Keep your humidifiers working in the winter months. My favorite one is the one with the digital indicator which shows current humidity level in the room.
  5. Use a hydrating, calming, and repairing mask after enjoying outdoor winter sports. Cold temperature and wind can easily irritate the skin, so give your skin some TLC by using soothing mask on regular basis. Try home-made mask from mashed banana or avocado with cucumber and plain yogurt or kefir, or try Environ’s Hydrating & Exfoliant Mask for dry skin type, and Sebumasque for oily/problematic skin type.
  6. In the winter time you may need to switch to heavier moisturizer. Look for such ingredients as jojoba oil, avocado oil, olive oil, pro-vitamin B5, and humectants such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and urea. Avoid using those products that contain fragrance, dyes and alcohol as they are the biggest skin irritants. Environ’s Super Moisturizer, based on jojoba oil, pro-vitamin B5 is an excellent to resist New England’s cold and windy winter weather.
  7. When enjoying your winter outdoor sports, refrain from coffee intake. As we all know, coffee is dehydrating!
  8. Use broad-spectrum SPF even on cloudy, winter days! UVA rays are active throughout the entire year. They penetrate deep into the skin and cause DNA damage to dermal layers! Choose your sunscreen with zinc oxide which provides the best possible and safest protection of all sunscreens.

 

Related Posts