It’s our bodies’ largest organ and this time of year it really takes a real battering. Cold outside temperatures lower the ambient humidity and to add insult to injury, we dry it out further with central heating, wood burners and air conditioning. Skin is a key feature of our bodies’ first physical defence barriers, designed to be water-tight with closely bonded cells and an oily layer on the surface, the acid mantle, designed to keep moisture locked in. However, as we age, our skin loses moisture more readily from its uppermost layers and secretions from the oil glands, plentiful in youth, naturally diminish.
Harsh detergents such as sulphates, almost ubiquitous in cleansing products, break this down further and the skin can become irritated, itchy and inflamed. Dry skin also tends to appear older, as it loses its lustre, absorbing light rather than reflecting it. But there are ways to combat our skin’s winter blues….
My top 10 tips to keep your skin hydrated:
1. Drink. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially with the onslaught of the party season and the diuretic effects of alcohol. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-carbonated fluids, preferably without sugar (it promotes skin ageing) or artificial additives.
2. Sweat. Aerobic exercise incites that post work-out rosy glow resulting from increased blood flow to the skin, delivering the nutrients which help it to repair and regenerate. Exciting news – it’s been proven to reverse the microscopic changes associated with ageing in only a few weeks! A real incentive to get those trainers on and head out despite the sleet!
3. Ditch the sulphates. Check before you buy shampoos, shower gels and hand wash products. Sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) or potassium or ammonium equivalents (PLS/ALS) are usually the second ingredient after water. Even products for babies and sensitive skin often contain them, despite their well-recognised irritant effects. Alcohol gels are even worse. Where possible, wash with an emollient cream or lotion. You won’t get the lather but your skin will look and feel so much better.
4. Not too hot. Bathe with warm, not hot water and preferably only once daily and don’t stay under water any longer than necessary.
5. Spare the brush. Only exfoliate your body in areas such as elbows, knees and feet where dry skin accumulates and can crack.
6. Moisturise. Products containing anti-inflammatory oat extracts and oils such as almond, olive and coconut are soothing and help to restore the acid mantle. For the face, neck and décolletage, look out for products containing Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, panthenol (Vitamin B5), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and ceramides. If you can afford to, invest in really good skincare products such as the iS Clinical range.
7. Go Non-Bio. The enzymes in biological washing detergents can be irritant to skin. Non-bio detergents are not only much gentler but may also be better for the environment too.
8. Everybody needs sunscreen. Even in the winter. Factor 50 every day – it helps slow down the skin ageing that contributes to dry skin (not to mention skin cancer) but don’t forget your daily dose of vitamin D3 1000u.
9. Feed your skin. Skin needs basic building blocks to maintain its health. Vitamins A, C and E, Zinc, Omega-3, Lycopene and Selenium are all really important and can be found in oily fish nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, avocados, tomatoes and brightly coloured fruit, especially berries and citrus. Soy, dark chocolate, green tea and red wine (in moderation) are also beneficial.
10. Supercharge. Consider an uber-hydrating skin-boosting facial. The Calecim Stem Cell Plasma facial delivers growth factors and hyaluronic acid directly into the skin without the need for injections – no downtime and immediate results. For a deeper treatment, targeting pigmentation and fine lines, now is the ideal time to try a chemical peel to stimulate collagen, reduce fine lines and pigmentation.
Our skin needs extra TLC in the winter months and it’s absolutely possible to keep it glowing and fabulous though the party season and beyond.
Love, Julia x
For more advice or for a consultation please visit drjuliasen.co.uk, email or call 07548 964367.