This winter has been absolutely brutal for much of the country. Bone chilling cold mixed with horribly low humidity or just down right cold and wet. Either way this isn’t a good mix for our skin. But now we have Spring Break upon us and the days of exposed legs and arms is only weeks away. Nobody wants to be seen with dry patches of skin across our body or skin rashes because the skin is so irritated, dry, and dehydrated.
The number one rules of good skin health is oils. Several studies have shown an increase in water consumption does NOT equal more hydrated skin among those who aren’t severely dehydrated. For most, drinking a couple glasses of water will result in some pretty significant results because most us live our lives in a state of slightly dehydrated or in drought monitor terms abnormally dry. Sorry way too many reports on drought conditions in the US have been read this week. Now for those that do increase their intake (increase not change) to an additional 60+ fl oz. of water everyday, they’re really not going to be seeing any added benefits except additional trips to the toilet. Our body and skin takes in exactly what it needs and the rest is removed.
Internally we can do things like eat more antioxidants, which I’ll cover next, and in general eat more fruits and vegetables but these changes take months to see a difference. Similarly, increasing your consumption of fish oils also takes several weeks to see a difference and that’s more at the bottom layers of skin health and minimal changes will be noticed at the topmost or exposed layers of skin where flaking and dryness occurs.
For quicker repair of the skin it’s important to use products that contain ceramides, peptides, squalane, and vitamins E & C. Each of these independently act as a building block. The more building blocks, the more solid that foundation, the more complete and ‘solid’ your skin will be. Skin that’s at its healthiest is best able to handle stresses like pollution, fatigue, and short periods of dehydration.
Ceramides: These are the building blocks of the lipid layers. In skincare, regardless if its body or facial skin, lipids = moisture retention. Ceramides will help build up the skin’s natural lipids and lock that moisture in. Ceramides will also give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to skin recovery. Products like Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream or Paula Choice’s Resist Omega+ Complex Serum are also going to be especially helpful year round for those with dry skin on the face. Better still you can mix ceramides with AHAs and BHAs. For body I like to use CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream. I don’t like CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream on my face, for whatever reason this doesn’t work on my dry face but on my legs and arms, it’s beautiful.
Peptides: These are short chains of amino acids that act more like the dirt upon which you build your house. Peptides aide in various aspects of skincare such as repair and bring about an internal glow. Look for products with multiple peptides or amino acids; there is no single peptide that can help a skincare issue. Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster is probably the best on the market. Also look towards The Ordinary’s ‘The Buffet’.
Squalane: This has been a buzz word for sometime now and it’s importance in a skincare routine has finally come mainstream following the ability to derive squalane from plants. Squalane is the closest chemically to our natural moisturizer, sebum. Sebum gets a bad rap as being the end all be all of acne, which isn’t true. Those who produce too much sebum have oily skin and those who don’t produce enough have dry skin (like moi). Even if you have oily skin using a product with squalane isn’t going to make your skin even oilier resulting in more acne. Squalane can help to reverse acne scarring and help equalize oil production. For body care, Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Body Butter is amazing. For facial skincare look for a product that has squalane near the midpoint of the ingredients list.
Vitamins E and C: A natural antioxidant is going to act as the roof over your head in our building metaphor. Vitamins E and C also known as tocopherol and ascorbic acid is often used as a natural preservative in skincare and a wide variety of other industries including food. This helps prevent damage from stresses like UV that can zap moisture from your skin. These vitamins don’t replace sunscreen but act in conjunction with your sunscreen to absorb other sources of free radicals throughout the day and stabilize other skincare ingredients.
This is just a short list. If you have dehydrated skin (it feels tight after washing or when you wake up) using a facial water and skipping the morning cleanse in the morning for a micellar water may also help.
Hopefully these suggestions can help someone repair their winter stressed skin. If you like what you’re reading look to the right and subscribe for more helpful little hints, tips, tricks, and suggestions.