How to avoid flaky winter skin...
As annoying as it is, dry skin happens to all of us, especially when it gets colder and the wind starts to bite. An important symptom is flakiness. Flaky skin occurs when the outer skin cells, which form the skin barrier, are excessively separated from each other. You usually see flaking around the nose or on your forehead. Even under the foundation, there usually seems to be no escaping it..
It is normal for flakes to gradually fall off over time, but if the barrier has been compromised by the environment (such as wind, cold weather, or hot water) or by skin care products or skin disease, then this separation - known as desquamation - becomes clear. And irritation often occurs.
Flaking (and dryness) is often caused by the environment, assuming you don't normally suffer from skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. Central heating and hot showers - much needed in winter - play a major role in this.
What can we do to prevent this and help heal the skin barrier for a radiant, smooth and even complexion?
Hydrate with the right ingredients
Flaky skin is dry skin, so focus on ingredients that increase the moisture content and hydration of the skin. First of all, look at Hyaluronic Acid, an amazing humectant and molecule that draws 1000 times its own weight in water into the skin. It is non-irritating, suitable for all skin types (including sensitive and oily skin) and works best with another moisturizer applied on top.
Ceramides are also a brilliant ingredient to include in your routine as they help to protect and regenerate your skin's natural barrier, mimicking and rebuilding the skin's building blocks while retaining moisture. Ceramides are the perfect partner for hyaluronic acid! Together, they help return dry skin to its hydrated, happy self.
Other ingredients we expertly look for to tackle flaky skin are shea butter , which has excellent occlusive (prevents moisture from leaving the skin), emollient and moisturizing properties; squalane oil , which causes little irritation and has rehydrating properties; and humectants glycerol and polyglutamic acid . But be aware: If your skin is itchy, sensitive, or red, see a dermatologist, as you may be suffering from a skin condition that may require prescription treatment.
Don't overdo it with skin care
The goal is to keep the skin barrier strong and robust - so stay away from harsh and stripping methods or ingredients. Try to avoid excessive cleaning during the colder months, as this can compromise the barrier and allow moisture out and external aggressors, such as pollution, in.
You want to avoid anything that is too astringent and peeling. Ingredients such as denatured alcohol will dry out. Also avoid surfactants like SLS, usually found in foaming cleansers. Other ingredients to be careful with include retinoids and salicylic acid, which can dry out and also cause sensitive skin over time. Also avoid cleaning with too hot water.
How to exfoliate dry skin gently and effectively?
As is often the case when treating skin problems, it is often difficult to strike a good balance. While it's important not to over-peel your skin, some degree of exfoliation is helpful in removing dead skin cells, as it also clears the way for moisturizing ingredients to penetrate the skin. It's best to focus on a consistent moisturizing and soothing routine initially. Liquid exfoliation can make skin look more radiant - But be careful, as it can irritate dry and inflamed skin.
One of the common mistakes people make is to assume that removing flakes through exfoliation is better than addressing the root cause, which is dry and dehydrated skin.
Do your morning and evening skin care differently
In the morning , you should focus on protecting the skin from the harmful winter environment. Use hyaluronic acid under your moisturizer, it will help draw water into the skin. Look for multi-tasking moisturizers that soften the skin and act as a barrier to prevent moisture from leaving - those with soothing ingredients, like niacinamide, are very good. Even though the days are shorter, a daily sunscreen is still important, especially if you have pigmentation problems.
In the evening it is time to repair damage to your skin. Use oil- or balm-based cleansers that are less likely to damage the skin barrier. Look for gentler retinoids, such as retinaldehydes, which are also more suitable for sensitive skin. You may want to use a retinoid sandwich technique: Apply a moisturizer first, then a retinoid, then some cream back to prevent further flakiness."
Embrace LED Light Therapy
To help heal, reduce redness, support the skin barrier and generally increase luminosity, an additional LED light therapy session with your beauty expert is a welcome boost!
A humidifier can help balance the skin
Since many of our skin problems in the winter are a result of central heating and the constant movement between cold outside and warm inside - where there is also a lack of humidity - a humidifier can really help. Humidifiers and desk diffusers add to the ambient humidity in the room, making them ideal for bedrooms or offices to counteract some of the effects of indoor heating in the colder months!