The weather is getting colder and your skin suddenly feels dry. One layer of your regular moisturiser doesn’t feel as effective as it did in the warmer months. Well, you’re not alone. Many factors contribute to making our skin feel drier in winter (falling temperatures, indoor heating, hot showers and lower air humidity). Are you wondering how to get rid of dry winter skin? Learn why maintaining a healthy skin barrier is key to getting rid of dry winter skin.
It’s all about maintaining a healthy skin barrier
Skin barrier is simply another term for the outermost layer of our skin and is also known as the stratum corneum (SC). It protects the skin from bacteria, pollution, environmental changes and irritating chemicals.
Our skin barrier is a hydro-lipid film (think oil loving cells that prevent water from evaporating from your skin) composed of naturally occurring fats and oils, such as Linoleic acid (LA), cholesterol and ceramides. These naturally occurring oils act as a barrier that prevents irritants from entering the skin and they also prevent water from evaporating from the skin (a process known an trans-epidermal water loss).
What causes skin barrier damage?
Different factors can disrupt the skin barrier’s structure or function. Age, chronic skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, harsh cleansers, over exfoliating, low humidity and low temperatures can all lead to a loss in the natural oils of the skin. As a result, this causes a general decrease in skin barrier function and leaves the skin dehydrated, itchy, flaky, red and/or overly-sensitive. That’s why many of us experience dry skin during the colder months.
Want to improve your skin’s barrier function? Choose the right moisturiser!
Sounds simple – right?! A true moisturiser provides the skin with structural lipids (oils it needs to maintain its structure) which support and strengthen the damaged skin barrier, thereby enhancing its ability to retain water.
In other words, applying layers and layers of water-based moisturisers onto your skin is useless if lipids (oils) are not there to keep the water in the skin. That’s why using facial oils is a key step in every skincare regimen.
For deeply hydrated skin, apply a few drops of your favourite face oil onto freshly cleansed skin or even mixed into your day cream, your cleanser, or your night cream; it helps to lock in moisture, restore and protect your skin barrier effectively and on the long term.