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Caring for Winter Skin

 

For those of you who are living in colder climates you’re probably preparing your home, automobile and wardrobe for winter. Did you know you should prepare your skin for the winter as well?   Your skin care regimen should include ingredients that will add moisture and protect skin.  Why?

As temperatures lower, the humidity drops as well leaving little moisture in the air. These lower temperatures strip the skin of its natural oils and the protective outer layer of skin becomes comprised. Add a severe wind chill factor and the thin layer of warm air just above the skin is removed. The stronger the wind, the more heat is lost from your entire body leaving you feeling considerably colder.

What happens to our skin? A European skin type, especially one that is alipidic, the dryness intensifies.   Add strong winds and the presence of a wind chill factor the skin becomes flaky,  chapped, cracks and shows red patches especially on the cheeks.

Higher Fitzpatrick skins generally displays transdermal water loss (TEWL).  During the winter months, these skins become increasingly drier, itchy, displays “cracks” in the stratum corneum, a rough texture and uneven skin tones.  This acute dryness may cause an additional irritating condition, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, caused by the constant scratching of their moisture deficit skin.

Here are some quick remedies for:

DRY, CHAPPED, ITCHY WINTER SKIN

Restoring moisture is important. Add water base products to your skin care regime especially a serum. Serums have a higher concentration of active ingredients. My favorite moisture capturing serum is a hyaluronic acid. It traps moisture from the air and delivers it into the skin. When skin retains moisture, there will be a significant improvement in the appearance of rough, dry skin.

DULL, ASHY SKIN

Consider using a vitamin C serum instead of a hyaluronic acid serum. A vitamin C serum will not only add moisture but brighten and nurture skin that’s become irritated from the cold winds.

Once the skin is hydrated, it is important to use oil-based products to seal the moisture into the deeper layers of the skin.

♦ Squalane is a great choice. This ingredient is found naturally in our sebum. The source of    squalene used in skin care products is found in olives.

♦ Ceramides formulated in moisturizers are fatty acids that help to protect the lipid by-layers, assisting in the retention of moisture.

♦ Vitamin E has healing properties and protects the skin from oxidative stress and soothes inflamed skin.

There are many more ingredients to consider including oils from Avocados, Grapeseeds, Sweet Almonds, and Shea and Mango butters to name a few.

ADDITIONAL PROTECTION:

When the weather report announces a wind chill factor and sub-zero temperatures, before going outside apply a thin layer of a petrolatum-based product. The barrier of protection from this ingredient prevents the skin from becoming vulnerable to the inclement weather.

CHEMICAL PEELS:

It is best to minimize exfoliating services during freezing temperatures, especially an acids with a low pH.  A low pH and the alcohol used in the formula as a vehicle increases penetration. In the case of glycolic, it has the smallest molecular structure of all alpha hydroxy acids.  The small molecular structure and the alcohol as a vehicle delivers glycolic rapidly into outer layer of the skin.  This action may cause “crusting” of dry, irritated, winter skin.

A better approach is to choose a fruit enzyme, such as bromelain (pineapple) and papain (papaya).    These natural enzymes are known to help speed up the skin’s normal renewal process. Additional benefits of using enzymes are they reduce skin irritation and inflammation.

FINAL NOTE:

For a smooth glowing complexion, replace your skin care regimen with products known to hydrate, moisturize, soften and soothe skin.

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