Winter is here! And just as the seasons change, so does our skin throughout the year. A few months back I posted about seasonal skin and why it’s important to treat your skin according to the season. With winter upon us, I wanted to share my top tips for maintaining glowing, vibrant skin in the cooler months.
In winter, depending on where you live, the temperature and humidity drops anywhere from marginally to severely. If you’re inland and at higher altitude, it’s likely that the change in weather is quite extreme. For those of us in coastal regions, we get some extreme onshore winds that can be highly drying.
Moreover, in winter we tend to go between cold outdoor climatic conditions, and heated indoor environments. The sudden change in temperature can affect the capillaries and leave you looking flushed with pink cheeks. Sound familiar?
As well as the stress of sudden temperature changes as we move from inside to outside, lower temperatures also increase the risk of dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions. This is because our natural skin hydration function is affected by the cold.
Why does our skin become drier in winter?
The outer layer of skin, the epidermis, naturally produces a protective coat called Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF). This natural skin barrier function helps to keep skin hydrated, but in winter many of us become NMF deficient, particularly on our hands and on our face as the main areas exposed to the elements.
Low temperatures and humidity changes have a negative impact on the production of NMF, which is responsible for keeping the outer-most part of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, hydrated.
As a side note, NMF is also affected by chemicals in many mainstream moisturises and shampoos, which is why sometimes your moisturiser can be doing more damage than good by removing natural hydration (amongst other things). Sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the chemicals commonly used and we talked a little about its harmfulness in last month’s blog post.
Skin is the biggest organ of the body. It’s also the last to receive moisture as the body prioritises vital organs over skin. So although you may feel less thirsty in winter due to the temperature being cooler, for your skin’s sake, you actually need more hydration.
Cold weather and skin texture
Cold weather also affects skin texture. In a recent Danish study, an increase in Dermal Texture Index (DTI) was observed in study participants over winter when compared with summer. DTI is a measure of the texture of outer skin cells, or the corneocyte surface texture. Do you ever feel like your skin is ‘weathered’? This is due to an increase in DTI and changes in skin texture. But don’t worry, there are ways to reduce and mitigate this and maintain healthy glowing skin all through winter.
Three steps to winter-proof skin
There are three simple things that you can do to maintain your skin during winter:
- Exfoliation – to remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate the skin surface.
- Hydration – as your skin is exposed to more extreme weather conditions, it needs added moisture.
- Nutrition – just as we need nourishing foods to build our immune system in cooler months, our skin needs added nourishment as well.
Step 1: exfoliation
Skin is delicate, and some exfoliants are way too harsh for our skin! Exfoliating is a method of removing dead skin cells, but what you don’t want to do is remove alive and thriving cells at the same time. Moreover, many mainstream exfoliants contain harmful chemicals which leave the skin stripped and exposed.
Not only that, did you know that many exfoliants are harmful to the environment? Micro beads, which are used in many mainstream products, have devastating affects on ecosystem as they make their way into waterways and oceans and are ingested by marine animals. This is not good news since micro beads are dangerous and deadly.
A good exfoliant should draw on micro milled ingredients and will gently remove outer cells while stimulating growth of new cells. We use ancient ingredients including rice, argan and myrhh powders which polish the skin and even-out skin tone (mitigating the risk of increased DTI). These natural ingredients also increase circulation and stimulate cell renewal.
If you haven’t tried our Complexion Polish, it’s been voted Best Exfoliating Product in the Beauty Shortlist Awards (bragging rights, I’m pretty proud).
But I’m not the only one who thinks so…
Customer review: This complexion polish is by far the best one I have come across. It works well without being too harsh on my skin. I use 2 or 3 times a week, depending on how my skin feels, and have noticed an improvement in my skins appearance.
Step 2: hydration
Drinking extra water is a good start, but it’s not enough to maintain your most glowing complexion in winter months. As mentioned above, water will be prioritised to vital organs and your skin is the last to be hydrated. Your natural moisturing function is also compromised by the cold weather, so applying hydration directly to the outer layer of skin is really important.
Moreover, it’s important to hydrate with natural ingredients which are good for your skin and can penetrate the outer skin layer and provide nutrients that can be safely absorbed into the bloodstream.
Our blog post on prepping skin for Spring touched on the reasons why essential oils work best, and our favourite product is our Love Your Face Serum.
We’ve put together all our favourites for beautiful skin for winter in our Love Your Face Pack.
Step 3: nourish
Your skin is now primed and ready for extra nourishment. Often some areas such as our lips need a bit more nourishment and our Balm of Ages™ is perfect for this. As well as essential oils, it contains ingredients such as Arnica – a natural remedy for reducing redness and can be used to treat skin conditions like acne.
Customer review: I am in love with this balm – it has been a game changer for me. The minute I feel an eczema/allergy flare (and they can sometimes be severe), I ramp up my use of the balm and the reactions start to settle immediately. I use it along with the “love your face” products regularly and won’t leave home without it!
Stocking your bathroom cabinet for winter
For winter-proofing your skin, here’s a list of our most popular products you might like to try:
- Complexion Polish – especially designed to maintain smooth skin texture and even skin tone, increase circulation and cell activity plus stimulate collagen production.
- Love Your Body Polish – with Himalayan pink salt in a unique body polish to help remove spent cells and increase blood circulation – stimulating new life into your skin.
- Hydrate My Face – a multi-tasking toner, that instantly hydrates and plumps up tired skin.
- Love Your Face Serum – highly concentrated to deeply nourish, our serum absorbs instantly whilst still allowing your skin to breathe.
- Balm of Ages™ – for those drier areas needing extra hydration, our balm is a multi-remedial moisturiser that deeply nourishes, restores and protects skin.
- Cacao Revelation Mask – to even skin tone, stimulate blood circulation, soothe and refine complexion and it even helps to treat acne and problem skin.
So embrace the cold and enjoy winter!