December 16th, 2015

Sensitive Winter Skin?

Winter is one of the harshest seasons on our skin, however, for those who have sensitive skin the cold months are even worse and it can be a horrible time. The cool winter air combined with central heating can lead to skin becoming dehydrated and even more sensitive.

Sensitivity tends to be related to thin and dry skin, where the barrier function is weaker and this means that changes in the environment are harder to compensate for. To keep skin looking healthy in the cold months follow these simple tips to get you through the winter and ease irritation.


Stay away from hot and hard water

Heat can open your pores and cause moisture loss that you can’t afford if your skin is sensitive. Heat itself can cause a histamine release, which makes skin itch and can cause an itch-scratch cycle than can be very hard to break. You should only cleanse your face or body with tepid to warm water in winter. Washing with warm water will keep skin from drying out, meaning you will not lose as much moisture.

Those with sensitive skin should also stay away from hard water, as it can cause redness with dry and itchy patches. Hard water contains high levels of minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium. You can often tell if you have hard water in your home, as it presents itself in the form of lime scale around taps and sinks. Depending on where you live, you can add a water softener for your whole house or individual ones to showerheads and taps.


Moisturise more

In winter, one of the best ways to keep sensitive skin hydrated is to moisturise more often. The drop in temperature reduces our skin’s moisture levels, making it flaky, itchy, dry, red and irritated. It is important to ensure those levels are kept up and skin has the proper balance of nutrients to repair itself and retain moisture.

Applying lotion once or twice a day can help combat dry skin and if you moisturise more frequently it will help keep skin hydrated and reduce skin irritation. The more times you moisturise the better, as your skin can only absorb so much at one time. Switching to a serum may also be more effective as they contain smaller molecules than typical moisturisers. Lotions and serums are both beneficial, but serums can penetrate skin more deeply and deliver concentrated nutrients to your skin’s cells.


Exfoliate Less

Whilst cleansing is good for your skin, excessive exfoliating can cause skin to become irritated and sore, especially if it does not agree with your skin. Over-exfoliating can damage healthy skin cells and make it even drier, so finding a routine that suits your skin’s needs is essential. Gentle exfoliating ingredients like papaya, pineapple, alpha hydroxyl acids and glycolic or lactic acids can be effective when they are used in moderation.


Eat foods that help reduce redness

Incorporating foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli that are packed with antioxidants into your diet can help hydrate skin internally and protect cells from environmental damage. Being aware of ingredients that can cause flare-ups can help avoid inflammation. You should lower the spice level in your diet, as spicy foods can be a trigger, so use seasonings, which are less active such as thyme, ginger and turmeric.


Water, water, water

Staying hydrated is essential to healthy skin and drinking lots of water is the simplest way to do so. The cold weather dries out sensitive skin even more as its natural defences are weakened. Remember to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day to ensure skin remains hydrated and if you increase your alcohol consumption over the Christmas holidays you should increase your water intake.

16 / 12 / 2015

This is What Skin Needs Natural Skincare blog. Here we share tips for skincare, skin conditions and health.