Last week the temperature here in Paris dropped to below freezing. It’s simple science, I’m sure you know, but temperatures so low mean all moisture in the air freezes, leaving the humidity at 0%. As I am sure those of you in cold climates know, this is bad news for skin. Every year at this time, I find myself re-calibrating my skincare routine to deal with seasonal problem issues.
But this year I actually went straight to an expert aesthetician to find out exactly what’s happening to our skin in winter and what we can do. She happens to be a good friend of mine. Natalie and I met on our first day of university here in Paris and she has since gone on to become an amazing aesthetician. She’s also had her fair share of Paris and New York City winters.
According to Natalie, winter skin is the issue on the agenda with all of her clients this time of year. She broke down the science behind dryness, redness, and breakouts in winter by explaining to me barrier function. Barrier function or (lipid bilayer) is the layer of skin that prevents water loss by trapping water molecules for hydration. When skin gets too dry in winter, this protective barrier can be damaged and as a result skin becomes inflamed, dry, and hypersensitive to outside environmental toxins which make you sunburn easier, breakout, or prematurely age. Yikes! So what can we do? Here are her expert tips in her own words..
- Lifestyle — I over-emphasize staying hydrated during winter to clients. We tend to drink hot, caffeinated, sugary, beverages during the holidays and throughout the winter to stay warm, but in turn these will dehydrate your skin. Drink lots of water. Add a splash of lemon to keep your pH balanced, and add some berries if you feel like a treat. They’re great food for skin.
- Cleansing — Alternate cleansers in winter to avoid over drying skin. Rotate your normal gel cleansers with a resting cleanser that is a gentle or cream formula. It’s also important to exfoliate 2-3 times a week in winter to rid of dry, dead skin. Another great winter home remedy is oil cleansing once or twice a week to pull out impurities, remove makeup, and refine texture. Oils like almond, jojoba, and sunflower oil (but never coconut oil) can be massaged around the skin for several minutes and removed with a warm wet washcloth.
- Hydrating & Moisturizing — Skin can have proper moisture but still be dehydrated; for this I strongly recommend using a product with hyaluronic acid before applying moisturizer. Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant that our skin produces naturally for hydration, but is also responsible for wound healing.
Natalie White, New York based aesthetician
Based on Natalie’s expert insights, which products would I recommend to fend off winter skin woes? For starters, a cream cleanser has been doing wonders for me. My personal favorite is actually a combination of both of Natalie’s cleansing tips, the Crème Douceur Cream-to-Oil Massage Cleanser is just what skin needs right now. Remember, don’t shy away from cleansers like this if you have breakouts. Proper moisture will actually prevent them by preventing excess sebum production that clogs pores. It also helps heal any broken skin from current breakouts. Secondly, the Hydra Zen range is a go-to for helping skin stay hydrated as well as moisturized (two separate things, remember!) with that Hyaluronic Acid Natalie mentioned. The Night Masque is amazing for overnight hydration that you can follow up with in the morning with your regular moisturizer. With these and Natalie’s other tips in practice, we might be able to kick winter skin issues off the calendar entirely before the season even officially arrives!