December 21, 2021 4 min read
It's easy to get lost in the sea of online information about skincare to the thousands product options on the shelves. It can be so overwhelming that we might throw in the towel trying to understand how we can take good care of our skin. It still should be a simple task to achieve such a thing, despite dealing with the more challenging winter months. During this time, our skin can be exposed to more stressors than usual such as jumping to extremes in temperatures (cold air outdoors to the heated air indoors), the overall drier air, our yearning to take steamy hot showers to compensate for the freezing cold weather outside after a long day, and even carrying the heavier burden of less sunlight on our mental state. All these can painfully contribute to skin dehydration, unwanted flare ups and overall irritation and inflammation.
To position ourselves for success in protecting our skin, we might have to look back at different elements of our routines or regimens that might have played tricks on us without noticing. And to do that, we also need to leave some of our “comfort zone habits” behind. For example, fighting the urge to take hot showers and instead switching to cold water showers (check out The Jarring Beauty of The Cold for more details on benefits) will only make your skin thank you later. It is indeed a well known fact by experts that hot water can obstruct and dissolve our lipid skin barrier, making it more vulnerable to dryness and worsens further the transepidermal water loss that is already triggered by some of the seasonal environmental factors we have no control over. Another thing to keep an eye on would be to focus your cleanser or soap usage on more visibly soiled areas and body folds than on the rest of your body. There is ultimately no need for thorough washes or over-exfoliation on areas like the legs or forearms, which typically accumulate the least bacteria, and rinsing everything from top to bottom will spread your soap everywhere anyways.
Likewise, revisiting your habits to make them optimal for the season, we can also take a step further and assess how fitting your personal care and hygiene products are for winter time. What are the ingredients you want to see in your regimen, what ingredients you should avoid and what do you want your products to do for you, now that we have determined what can be triggering your skin to flare up. In this case, the main idea is to maintain hydration to the highest levels and layering it, so you may want to shy away as much as possible from harsh surfactants such as sulfates or foaming agents like DEAs MEAs or TEAs. All these kinds of ingredients can further exacerbate irritation, breakouts, and weaken that precious moisture barrier we are trying to keep at all cost on our skin. The next step would then be to add a layer of lotion or any sort of moisturizer for some extra protection. You may then want to be on the lookout for natural and safe humectant (draws water from air to the skin) and occlusive (forms a protective layer that seals water in) alternatives like glycerin, aloe vera, sodium PCA, or occlusives like argan, jojoba, beeswax, etc.
Diet and what we put in our body tend to be a widely neglected influential factor of skin health, and we forget that skin acts most of the time as a messenger of what's going on in our body. This is why we need to work in close symbiosis with it and pay attention to our nutrition. In order to fight back the winter demons, monitoring thoughtfully some of our nutrient intakes is paramount. On top of your required 2 liters of water a day, make sure to get an increased weekly amount of fatty acids/healthy fats and omega-3 in avocados, nuts, legumes, fatty fish, chia seeds, plant oils helps maintain greatly your lipid barrier and in the regulation of sebum production. Vitamins and minerals are also a huge contributors to skin strength prevention and healing. Vitamin A, C, E and zinc are great examples of nutrients you want in your team for the season. Vitamin A and C are essential molecules to collagen synthesis. Vitamin E are the most important antioxidants for our body. Zinc works hand in hand with vitamin and fatty acids to heal skin damage and regulate inflammation and irritation.
The same principles should be followed for either the skin on the face or the one on the body. The only nuance that needs to be considered is the fact that the face is much more sensitive, meaning the key point is all about gentleness. Keep water temperatures slightly more towards lukewarm than on the body, use products that are formulated specifically for the face, avoid intense scrubbing and use an increased level of awareness on the abrasiveness of ingredients. All these fundamentals are respected when using Wise products, which means more energy to be focused on how to use them, and shaping your routine to your own lifestyle and needs!
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