Environmental effects on the skin
At this time of the year, with the days getting shorter and weather getting colder, our skin can start to feel the effects of change. As humidity is low both inside and outside, our face and body can sometimes start to feel dry and dehydrated, which can often be uncomfortable or even sore.
When it gets cold there is nothing we want to do more than turn up the heating, light the fire and get cosy. The problem is, when we increase hot air, we decrease the moisture in our skin, and for many people, it is the inside warmth that causes dry skin, rather than the outside cold.
The cold weather can break down the skin’s natural moisture barrier, exposing the delicate skin to the elements, which can lead to an inflammatory response. This reaction contributes not only to the drying out of the skin, but can also exacerbate conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.
The best way we can care for our skin is to go back to basics with our products. Try switching to a cream cleanser rather than a foaming gel and moisturise your body immediately after bathing or showering. By changing our usual light facial moisturiser for a thicker, more rich formula, we can compensate for the increased levels of moisture loss.
Moisturisers not only replace lost moisture but will also act as a protective barrier against the harsh temperature changes. Whilst it may seem obvious, increasing your water intake, or even just ensuring you are drinking at least 2 litres a day will help hydrate the skin from the inside out.
Other options such as a placing a humidifier or a bowl of water in the house to slowly evaporate will add moisture back into the air and prevent the skin drying out completely.
Protection from the sun
Just because the sun may be making fewer appearances, this does not mean we should stop using SPF every day, and if you do not do this already, perhaps now is a good time to start! Whilst the UVB rays (those responsible for burning the skin) struggle to penetrate through clouds, meaning you’re less likely to get sun burnt, the UVA rays (those causing premature ageing) are just as powerful regardless of clouds and no matter the season.
Other silent but violent skin aggressors include the very things we encounter every day – laptops, phones, and artificial lights. The blue light radiating from these devices, known as HEVL (high energy visible light) is constantly penetrating the deep layers of the skin, damaging our collagen and elastic production, and therefore leading to premature ageing and hyperpigmentation. The best way to counteract the damaging effects of UVA, UVB and HEV light is to apply a good quality SPF every day. Although many face creams and makeup products have SPF built into their formulation, SPF is most effective when used as a stand-alone broad-spectrum product and should be used every day in the morning, and reapplied regularly and also if you swim or exercise.
I am sure we are all aware of the benefits of Vitamin D for supporting good immune system function, helping bones stay strong, with the added benefits of boosting our mood. However, many become deficient in Vitamin D throughout the winter months. During the sunny seasons, we should get all the vitamin D we need from the sun (remember to wear SPF!) but as the winter draws in, we may need to take supplements to ensure we sustain good levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D not only supports healthy brain, teeth, lungs and heart, but is also integral for skin cell growth and repair, helping to rebuild the skins immune system in order to prevent premature ageing. It is also a powerful antioxidant against oxidative stress, a phenomenon when free radicals (unstable molecules which cause cell damage) overwhelm the body’s natural repair process. Vitamin D helps to stabilise any inflammation, reduce cell damage, and thus slows down the ageing process. Vitamin D supplements can be easily purchased from healthcare stores and can come integrated in a multivitamin supplement.
If you are struggling with premature ageing, hyperpigmentation or any other skin concern we can help identify the issue and provide ongoing support with access to the very best care, the latest research and the most effective treatments.