There’s nothing quite like the great British weather – one minute it’s sunny, the next it’s chucking it down with rain, but now that the temperature has dropped again it’s time to think about the effects that this harsh weather has on our skin.
“Exposure to the Winter elements can cause a range of unwelcome skin concerns from dehydration, dryness and flaky patches through to sensitisation and extreme chapping. The primary triggers for this skin sensitisation is extremes of weather and climate, including cold and humidity changes.” explains Sally Penford, Education Manager UK and Eire for The International Dermal Institute.
“It’s important to understand the differences between dry and dehydrated skin, ” adds Elaine Bryant, Training Manager for YonKa UK. “Dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of moisture and dry skin is a lack of sebum or oil.” As temperatures drop, so does humidity, meaning that there is less moisture in the air. Add to this the drying-out effects of centeral heating and the skin’s natural barriers will prevent it from functioning properly, leading to tautness, sensitivity and flakiness.
Crystal Clear’s MD Sharon Hilditch, MBE, goes on to explain; ” During cold weather when temperatures and humidity are low, the skin is stripped of its natural lipid layer. The purpose of the natural lipid layer is to prevent the skin from drying out, a decrease in moisture from your skin can cause the inevitable tight, dry, flaky, peeling and generally uncomfortable skin conditions. Dry air from fires and other heating sources also suck the moisture out of the skin.
If the skin temperature falls during periods of cold weather, the surface blood vessels dilate (get wider) rather than constrict which can actually cause damage to surface capillaries in the skin leading to sore, red cheeks and nose. To help keep skin soft and supple, the aim is not to add moisture to skin, but to keep moisture in. The use of a humidifier in the home is very beneficial as they tend to moistusie the air, which is likely being dried out by central heating or fires.” adds Sharon.
Says Sally, “The first step to breaking the cycle of sensitisation is removing as many triggers from the contact-sphere as possible. Lifestyle choices which are under our control are an obvious place to start, such as drinking more water, avoiding great changes in temperature, hot baths, saunas and the like and making good product choices.”