Sans Ceuticals founder Lucy Vincent shares with us the most nourishing tips on keeping skin hydrated and resilient all through the chilly months.
"In winter, as temperatures drop, so does the level of water vapour (humidity) in the air. Cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air – that’s why when you exhale into icy morning air, your warm breath instantly condenses into fog droplets.
Dry air also gradually sucks moisture from your warm skin. In skincare terms, this is known as Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). To make matters worse, when cold, dry air is heated inside, the relative humidity drops even further, speeding up the process of TEWL. Couple that with long baths and hot showers (which also draw out moisture and natural oils) and the result is skin that can feel dry, tight, and flaky all season long.
You’ll probably first notice your skin looking dehydrated when you wake up, because skin releases more moisture during sleep, plus you’ll have gone a number of hours without drinking water.
Left unattended, ongoing dryness can cause inflammation and irritation, while worsening eczema, allergies and psoriasis. However, with a few simple actions and the right active ingredients, your skin can stay resilient and supple through all seasons.
A well-performing barrier function is your skin’s key defence. The most critical component of the skin barrier is ceramides, which form the protective layer that prevents moisture loss.
During winter, ceramide production decreases in the skin's outer layer, allowing moisture to escape more easily. The natural ageing process also reduces ceramide production, and if you have dermatitis or eczema, you’re likely to have lower-than-average levels of ceramides in general.
You can increase your skin’s ceramide levels two ways – first, by applying creams that contain ceramides, and second, by raising your skin’s own ceramide production with niacinamide – a form of Vitamin B – that when used at the right level (see below) has been clinically proven to boost ceramide production in the stratum corneum.
You’ll also need to nourish your skin with a combination of humectants (ingredients that draw moisture into the skin) and occlusives (ingredients that form a protective barrier on the skin to reduce moisture loss).
• Restore what’s missing — chose moisturisers that feed your skin all-important ceramides to strengthen your skin’s barrier function
• Choose a moisturiser that contains 5% niacinamide, which has been clinically-proven to increase the production of ceramides within the stratum corneum [skin barrier].
• Use moisture retaining ingredients such as Mānuka honey, vitamin B5 and Sodium hyaluronate — a lower molecular weight version of hyaluronic acid that is small enough to penetrate the epidermal layer resulting in deeper hydration.
• Exfoliate weekly to remove dead skin build up and permit better penetration of active and nourishing ingredients
• Switch up your bathing routine from morning to evening as this helps retain more moisture deep within the dermal layers.
• Drink plenty of water to increase internal hydration as well as external.
• Use a humidifier in your home.
• Go outside with wet skin. In cold dry environments, the moisture in your skin evaporates more quickly so always ensure you step outside dry, snug and warm.
• Skip moisturising after your shower – it’s easy to spend extra minutes in the shower when it’s cold, but make sure you don’t go so long that you don’t have time to moisturise afterwards."
Journal written by Sans Ceuticals