Winter Skin Problems
The skin is the human body’s largest organ; the outermost layer of that organ, the Stratum corneum, is in direct contact with the environment.
Thinking about the skin in the context of an organ, it’s easier to comprehend its fragile nature and its critical role in preventing the body from releasing fluids and electrolytes and protecting it from pathogen invasion.
While the Stratum corneum relies on underlying strata (stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum), tissues (connective and adipose), structures and appendages for its integrity, it can be damaged by the nature of the environment it is exposed to.
Why is our skin dry in winter?
Cold temperatures, cold wind and drying indoor temperatures initiate winter skin damage.
It can be worsened by restrictive clothing and irritating fabrics like wool, hot showers, baths, bedding and electric blankets. These factors can reduce normal healthy functions of the Stratum corneum, which may weaken the skins protective barrier and contribute to increased moisture loss.
The skin can appear red, irritated, and flaky, and it may feel tight, uncomfortable, and itchy. Fine lines can develop, the skin can appear fine and lack radiance. Existing inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea can worsen. In extreme instances, the skin may crack and/or blister, bleed, subsequently rendering the body susceptible to secondary infections from bacterial invasion.
These are our top 10 best winter skincare tips
- Avoid long hot showers and baths
- Wear layers and choose natural non-irritating fabrics like cotton and linen
- Do not use face washers and cloths that cause friction
- Don’t use soap; opt for pH balanced cleansers, creams, and milk-based skin care products
- Choose moisturisers rich in humectants that draw moisture to the skin, such as ceramides, glycerin, aloe vera juice and hyaluronic acid
- Oil-based ingredients like Squalane, rosehip oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil can help prevent trans-epidermal moisture loss when the barrier of the skin is impaired
- Always use a moisturiser, especially after showering or bathing and apply moisturiser or balm to the lips
- If the skin is dry, limit BHA use during winter. Beta Hydroxy Acid (like Salicylic acid) are oil-soluble and can dissolve oils. This ingredient is best left to those with oily and congested skin
- Eat foods rich in essential fatty acids such as avocados, nuts and salmon
- Limit touching and scratching flaky, open skin wounds
Top 5 best skincare products for winter
While winter doesn’t usually require a complete regime change, it is helpful to make a few simple pivots to keep skin healthy and prevent dry skin flare-ups. These are our recommendations from Aesthetics Rx when you are wondering what to use on a dry face and keep skin glowing all winter long.
We always recommend double cleansing no matter what the season. During winter, it can be helpful to switch to the creamier cleanser as the second cleanse because it will improve the lipid phase (composed of Ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids) of the hydrolipidic film – the skins natural barrier. First Cleanse: Revitalising Foaming Cleanser – rich in humectants that attract moisture to the epidermis and gentle enough to remove makeup.Second Cleanse: AHA Cream Cleanser –contains water-binding plant sugars and ingredients that reduce inflammatory markers in the skin, plus a creamy texture that attracts soothing lipids that can reinforce a weakened barrier. Using this cleanser for the second cleanse will leave the skin feeling very comfortable, with no sensation of tightness.
Serums: All of the Aesthetics Rx serums contain Hyaluronic acid which keeps the skin well hydrated, but we do have a couple of bonus ingredients in two of our serums that keep skin protected during winter. B Serum – contains Hyaluronic acid and Sodium PCA, two skin-identical ingredients that are part of the skins natural moisturising factor and bind moisture within the epidermis. Niacinamide B3 and Panthenol B5 are moisturising, anti-inflammatory and healing B group vitamins which are particularly beneficial for dry winter skin. Use this serum both morning and night under moisturiser. A Serum – contains a Ceramide lipid concentrate, which restores the protective barrier of the skin. It enhances moisturisation, leading to less sensitised and better-protected skin. Ceramides also help improve the density of the skin, useful when using Retinol, which may thin the surface of the skin. This serum also contains Squalane derived from plants. It is a natural emollient that eases dry patches. We recommend scaling back to the regular A Serum with 0.2% Retinol during winter, but remember to maintain daily Sunscreen use, even during winter. If the client has not used Retinol previously, always phase the product into the regime slowly.
Exfoliation: Fruit Enzyme Mask – If the skin is fragile during winter, switch from a mechanical or chemical exfoliant to a gentler enzymatic version like this product. It contains a powerful combination of proteolytic fruit enzymes and botanical extracts, which gently erase dull, dead skin cells, minimise fine lines, and remove other impurities. These enzymes are the unsung heroes of exfoliation, working to degrade the protein bonds of intercellular cohesion, instantly unveiling renewed, softer, and brighter skin without stressing the surface. This gentle method of exfoliation, without disruption to the skin’s natural pH and moisture content, is beneficial for sensitive skin and offers anti-inflammatory benefits.
Moisturising is vital during winter, and all Aesthetics Rx versions are the best moisturisers! However, we do have a secret weapon for skin that becomes more delicate in winter. This protective product is perfect for reinforcing a compromised skin barrier, preventing the domino effect of dehydration deep in the skin. It can also be used on dry, chapped lips in winter.H20 Balm – This product could be used as a protective shield during the day for dehydrated winter skin or as an overnight mask a couple of times a week for most skin during winter. It is a soft, fragrance-free balm formulated to help protect, heal & regenerate the skin. It helps keep skin comfortable and well hydrated. Aloe Vera Juice is in polysaccharides to assist with scar healing, repair & restoration and attract moisture to the skin’s surface. Panthenol (Vitamin B5) is an effective moisturiser of the Stratum corneum because it attracts water into the upper layer of the skin, leaving it hydrated and softer. Arnica Extract reduces inflamed skin. Alpha Bisabolol, naturally derived from Chamomile, restores suppleness and prevents flaking. Rosehip Oil is naturally rich in essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9), the perfect treatment for dry skin. Rice Bran Oil and Squalane restore oils to replenish, repair and restore the feeling of comfort.
Best skincare ingredients for winter
Here are our top 5 ingredients for dry skin in winter:
- Humectants: Ceramides, Glycerin, Aloe vera juice and Hyaluronic acid
- Vitamins: Niacinamide Vitamin B3; Panthenol Vitamin B5
- Botanical Oils: Rice Bran Oil, Squalane, Alpha Bisabolol, Rosehip Oil, Omega 3, 6 & 9
- Sunscreen: It’s not just for summer!
- Enzymes for exfoliation: Papain & Bromelain