We bet you might’ve already noticed your skin changing as the weather’s cooled down. Your lips get drier; your skin does too and without enough moisture we can all get dehydrated – quick. Although never fear, because during winter all of these changes can be quite normal (but there are a few steps we can take to avoid our skin sitch getting worse.)
Zoe Devine, Skin Expert for Skinstitut says one of the main reasons our skin gets drier during winter is because of the loss of moisture in the atmosphere.
“Have you ever noticed that when you go on a holiday to a tropical location your skin is more plump and healthy looking? This is because the atmosphere in these tropical areas contains more moisture, which is drawn into the skin. Couple this with other habits we tend to increase during the cooler months such as turning up the heater and increasing the temperature in our showers, and it all contributes to a more dehydrated skin."
Although Zoe says we should also keep in mind that there’s a difference between dry and dehydrated skin. “Dry skin is the result of a lack of oil, whereas dehydrated skin is a lack of moisture (water)."
So how should we prepare our skin for the long, cold months ahead? We asked Zoe to share her expert advice with us below.
How can we minimise our skin getting drier than it should be during winter? Are there any things we should avoid?
We should avoid products and ingredients that will further weaken the barrier function such as alkaline soaps, harsh stripping alcohol based toners and hydroxy acids in high %. Basically, anything that leaves the skin feeling ‘squeaky clean’. While it’s super tempting to soak under a hot shower in winter, this is a major ‘no no’ for dehydrated skin too.
This also includes hot water running over the face while in the shower – just adjust the temperature to luke-warm when washing your face. If your skin is excessively dehydrated professional treatments should focus more on restoring moisture and nourishing the skin. Keep the higher intensity treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels for a later date.
Will drinking water help battle our dry skin?
Unfortunately water alone isn’t the magic cure when it comes to your skin’s hydration. Sufficient water intake is critical in maintaining healthy cell metabolism, but it will not correct existing superficial epidermal dehydration. Surface dehydration is a crippling enemy of the skin affecting up to 98% of us at various stages of our life and can be associated with skin issues such as scaly, taught skin, superficial lines and premature ageing.
The outer layers of the skin provide a natural barrier function, which consists of substances such as oils, cholesterol, fatty acids, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. The health of this natural barrier function is crucial to provide lubrication and protection to the surface of the skin. If this becomes damaged or impaired, dehydration results. While water helps to flush out toxins and plump lower layers of the skin, it will not do anything to cure dehydrated surface skin. This is because the natural protective layer of oils and lipids is weak and therefore cannot retain water.
Are there any foods you recommend us eating that might be able to help?
Eat plenty of foods that are rich in essential fatty acids, such as:
- Oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines etc)
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut and olive oil
Of course drinking plenty of water is beneficial for nourished skin and hydrated body. Limiting high intakes of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and energy drinks and soft drinks is ideal. Of course a 1 – 2 coffee’s per day is fine, however, when you’re about to order your third or fourth double latte it may be time to swap this for a herbal tea which will help hydrate your body instead.
What are your top three tips to properly keep our skin hydrated this winter?
- Invest in a good home care regime that strengthens the skins’ natural protective barrier and provides gentle nourishment helping to create soft, supple skin.
- Add a hydrating treatment mask to your weekly routine – my top pick is Skinstitut Hydrating Mask - $45.00. It plumps up and smooths fine lines plus nourishes and repairs any skin damage caused by dehydration (think of it as your tropical holiday in a bottle).
- Avoid excessively hot showers and try not to let the water run over your face too much. Also if you’re spending a huge amount of time in artificial heating you can also consider using a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.
Images: Pinterest, Skinstitut; Words: Yadira Galarza Cauchi
Tell us, do you have any tips for battling dry winter skin? Share below!