What happens to skin in Winter?
In season change such as winter, our skin undergoes major changes that will create noticeable effects for most people. This is due to the humidity falling very low, and when it falls under 10% this is when you are most likely to experience dryness and dehydration. Now the skin depends on water for all of its cellular processes. When there is not enough water in the skin it slows down cell renewal, healing and regeneration due to worsened circulation, and prevents the skin from detoxifying properly. Another thing that can happen is that the pores can become so tight from dehydration that they are more prone to clogging. The sebaceous glands in the skin are always secreting sebum (or oil) throughout the day. When the pores become dehydrated, that sebum gets stuck in the pores along with dirt, bacteria and debris which allows for blackheads, whiteheads and even pustules to form. In more dry skin types, your skin does not produce ENOUGH sebum, so the winter time will be a challenge due to this reason since the oil is protective from harsh winter air. Dry skin types are more prone to redness and sensitivity in the winter due to the skin being so frail already from a lack of oil. The lack of water in the air at the same time creates inflamed skin. This is why your approach to winter skin care is so important, along with getting enough water internally. So what can be done for skin in the winter? I have tried lots of things and I have seen it all when it comes to skin. These things I am about to mention are tried and true! Im going to share my top 4 things for winter skin as an aesthetician working in the spa industry for 18 years: 1. Run your humidifier at night. I love my table top humidifier by the brand, Crane.
Doing this will increase the humidity level in your skin for 40% of the time, since we are sleeping about that much in a 24 hour period. This will combat the effects of winter greatly. The nice thing is not only does it impact the skin on the outside of your body but it also improves the health of your whole respiratory system. You will find you will have less nasal irritation, throat irritation and your lungs will even be healthier (especially with all the sickness out there!). If you want to view this for purchase, here is a link from target: http://shorturl.at/zV018
It also has lights and sounds should you want that for additional ambiance. 2. Switch your homecare. This is an essential piece as New Englanders. If you normally use a sudsing cleanser that leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean, or an exfoliating cleanser with beads or even foaming, those tend to pull moisture OUT. For summertime this may be okay for you but during winter you may want to switch that to a cream cleanser-which will be much more moisturizing and will not pull your natural oils out as much. You also will want to change your serum and moisturizer to a heavier one. One that contains more hydrating vegetable and fruit extracts/oils that contain higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C and E so that the skin cells will be able to replicate faster to keep up with more cell death from more harsh conditions. 3. Exfoliate more... When more cell death is occurring due to lower moisture levels in the skin, skin cell renewal will not be able keep up which means you will have dull skin that is not luminous. In order to brighten your complexion and aid in skin cell renewal you will want to be exfoliating more often. If you normally exfoliate 2-3 times/week which is the average recommended amount, you may want to add a biweekly or monthly enzyme/peel to this as well (as long as you are not on any medications that increase cell turnover such as prescribed Retin-A, or products that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide which will already increase your cell turnover substantially). For those of you who don't know, an enzyme is a natural ingredient within a product that eats away dead skin cells such as papain from papaya or bromelian from pineapple. The enzyme mask will feel tingly and will give a warm cool sensation for 10 minutes and will leave your skin smooth, glowy and bright. Examples of peels are salicylic acid peels, glycolic acid peels and lactic acid peels. The different types are recommended for different skin care goals. To view a post I did this week all about the different Peels/Enzymes we offer click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmKIz0ppP0u/. 4. Drink more water! I always tell my nutrition clients to drink half their weight in oz of water and its the same for healthy skin. The foundation of our physical make up is water, as we are 65-70% water. Without enough, our cellular processes will slow down and become less efficient and effective. With less water our livers cannot work as well to produce bile for proper digestion and to detoxify unwanted toxins, hormones or other xenobiotics. With less water our cellular renewal slows down, and even our metabolism and excretion of waste slows down, skin included! Did you know your metabolism effects your skin? When your metabolism slows, your skin cells don't communicate as well, and they cannot produce essential components of the skin (like collagen or elastin) or fight UV damage as well. Its also important to note that for every 8 oz caffeinated beverage, 16 oz of water is needed to replace that. For anyone who is traveling this winter, 16 oz of water per hour of flight is recommended to combat the dry airplane air (10%-20% humidity). If the water is not replaced you will be more susceptible to inflammation, viruses and infections.