With the entry into December, we can almost officially confirm the arrival of winter. Outside temperatures have dropped, cold winds are blowing all the time, and at home, we have radiators open to maximum. All these external factors can affect the condition, appearance and behaviour of our skin. The skin is much drier especially in the winter months, looks paler, can peel off and shows signs of hypersensitivity such as tightening, itching, redness. Many people wander in thedark because they do not know how to properly nourish the skin. Nourishing your skin in winter months may seem complicated, but it’s not.
The biggest enemy of our skin is central heating
Yes, it’s a hell, because we can’t just stop heating, but we have to solve the problem in a different way. Heating the rooms causes dehumidification of the air. In rooms where we heat, the air is quite dry. This causes water to evaporate from our skin into the surrounding area. Let’s refresh some high school knowledge of chemistry and biology and remember diffusion. Diffusion works by passing molecules from a higher concentration region to a lower concentration region. Water from our skin works similarly. When the humidity is high enough in the surroundings, the water flows into the skin. However, when the relative humidity of the environment is lower than that of the skin, we begin to lose water from the skin. The result is dehydrated skin that looks pale but may also show signs of hypersensitivity.
How to prevent skin dehydration?
First of all, care must be taken to bring some moisture into the environment in which we live. The easiest way to do this is to buy a diffuser or place water tanks on the radiators. It is very necessary to ensure a high enough fluid intake. If we don’t drink enough liquids, the skin cannot get new supplies of water out of nowhere. If we have ticked off enough fluid intake and moisturizing the rooms, we can go to proper facial care. Many people make a big mistake in the winter, applying only large amounts of oil to their face or body, while their skin remains dehydrated.
How should I properly nourish my skin during the winter months?
In the winter, we have to pay special attention to the ingredients in our cosmetics, as some of them can have a drying effect, which of course we do not want.
Also in winter the skin needs to be properly cleansed, and it is desirable to use very gentle cleansers. I highly recommend using cleansing gels as the foams can dry out the skin due to the addition of foaming agents. Cleansing gels should contain gentle surfactants. It is desirable to avoid all cleansing products containing soaps and alcohols. Soaps are formed by alkalizing the bases, usually using KOH, which has a very high pH. Prolonged use of soaps in face cleansing can lead to a rise in pH on the skin, resulting in impaired barrier function and increased loss of water from the skin. Alcohols should be avoided as they completely degrease the skin, making it even drier.
Perhaps a toner is not the best choice in winter skincare
The purpose of toners is to act astringently. Adstríngent (also adstríngens) or contractile is a substance that reduces the permeability of the mucosal or skin surface and capillaries. In simpler terms, it causes the pores to close after cleansing and restore the pH on the surface of the skin. In winter, however, the function of the sebaceous glands weakens. The sebaceous glands contract and consequently the pores shrink. For this reason, a small amount of sebum is excreted on the skin surface. Reduced amounts of sebum may be associated with the appearance of dry skin and impaired skin barrier function, because it is precisely the lipids in sebum that allow the skin not to lose excessive amounts of water. The use of toners in the winter can further reduce pores and thus reduce the excretion of sebum on the skin surface.
Moisture, moisture, moisture
Space heating causes water to be lost from the skin. The lost water must be replaced somehow and you will not do it by drowning in oil. You can only immerse yourself in the oil after applying a moisturizer. The skin is most easily moisturized using water-based serums. Moisturizing serums should contain good moisturizers such as urea, amino acids, glycerol or hyaluronic acid. Of all the moisturizers in the winter, I recommend glycerol the most, for one reason. Most humidifiers, at low relative humidity, bind moisture from the skin and release it to the environment instead of binding moisture to themselves and giving it to the skin. Glycerol is a golden exception that, even at very low relative humidity, binds moisture from the environment and gives it to the skin.
Winter time means actives time
It is only after moisturizing the skin that the following nourishing products are applied, but it is necessary to apply the products as soon as possible to lock the moisture into the skin. Namely, as water evaporates from our skin, so do the moisturizers applied to the surface of our water. If they evaporate, it means that they have virtually no effect.
Even in the winter months, it is necessary to protect the skin with antioxidant active ingredients, as cold and wind can also cause the formation of radicals in the skin. The activity of the radicals is neutralized by the use of vitamins C, E, blueberry/acai berry extracts. Due to the lower UV index, stronger active ingredients such as retinoids or hydroxy acids can be used during the winter months. Apply these ingredients after moisturizing the skin, then continue applying the cream.
Only after moisturizing apply the oils
Most people tend to reach for heavier creams in the winter because they feel like each product is ” not enough ”. This feeling is often attributed only to lack of moisture, so before reaching for heavier cream than usual, first check if you moisturize the skin properly. During the winter months, I am especially careful that my cream contains ingredients that are needed to restore the barrier, as less sebum is excreted on the surface of the skin, which implies a lower barrier protection. Skin lipids can also be damaged due to low temperatures.
The ingredients I want in my cream include ceramides, phospholipids, cholesterol, squalane. If your current cream is ”not enough” for your winter care, you can elegantly handle this by adding oil. Usually, a drop or two of oil in the cream meets our skin’s lipid needs. Especially for winter care, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, borage oil and evening primerose oil are suitable because they have the correct fatty acid ratios and thus provide the skin with support and protection.