Winter is close, which means it's time to step up your beauty regime. The elements can be extremely drying and damaging for the skin. And with so much time spent indoors with the central heating cranked up high, winter can quite literally suck the life right out of your skin! A little dramatic, I know, but it's important to pay attention to your skins' seasonal needs and adjust your beauty regime accordingly.
As the temperatures drop, and the air gets drier, our skin can become dehydrated. When the skin loses its moisture barrier this weakens its ability to protect itself. This is why your summer beauty regime —when humidity is higher, just won't cut it during the cold winter months.
1. READ YOUR SKINCARE INGREDIENT LABELS
Some skincare products are marketed in rather deceiving ways. Making all kinds of wonderful skin-enhancing promises. But, if you have to google most of the ingredients on the label, the chances are, it probably won't do what it says on the jar! Some of these ingredients can be irritating, drying and downright damaging for our skin (and health). Especially if you suffer from eczema related skin issues, which can be made all the more worse during the cold, winter months. This is when the skin needs a little extra TLC!
Bad Skincare Ingredients To Avoid
Are used as a preservative is many skincare products. They are estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptors. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology detected parabens in breast tumor tissue. Look for ingredients with the following prefixes;
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Alcohols are widely used in skincare products to keep them stable and to help other ingredients to penetrate the skin. Some of these alcohols can be incredibly drying and irritating because they deteriorate the skins protective barrier, leaving skin dehydrated and vulnerable to environmental damage. Alcohols can also stimulate oil production which could lead to breakouts in oily-prone skin.
In skincare there are good alcohols and bad alcohols. Good alcohols, also known as fatty alcohols have emollient properties, giving products a silky texture and keeping ingredients stable. These alcohols are generally classified as no to low hazard/toxicity and are mostly found in creams, lotions, ointments, hair conditioner, balms, butters etc.
Examples of good alcohols in skincare include;
Examples of bad alcohols in skincare include;
DENATURED ALCOHOL (ALCOHOL DENAT.)
Alcohols like SD and DENATURED immediately harm the skin, starting a chain reaction of damage that continues long after it has evaporated. A study published in 2003 found that with regular exposure to alcohol-based products skin is no longer able to keep water and cleansing agents from penetrating into it, thus further eroding its surface layers. It's best to avoid these alcohols in skincare products at all times, especially when the winter elements are already against us!
BHA / BHT
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic antioxidantstwo used to presevative cosmetics, skincare and foods.
BHA is considered a likely carcinogen (cancer-causing-agent). And is added to cosmetics like lipstick and eyeshadow that contain fats and oils. In studies, animals exposed to BHA developed stomach and liver damage and complications with their thyroid and reproductive organs. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption studies revealed strong evidence that BHA is a human endocrine disruptor.
BHT is a toluene-based ingredient used to preserve food and cosmetics. Often labelled as E321 on food packaging. BHT was not found to cause cancer but did cause liver and kidney damage, as well as other toxic effects.
HEALTH CONCERNS: CANCER, ORGAN-SYSTEM TOXICITY, ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION, DEVELOPMENTAL + REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY, IRRITATION.
When purchasing cosmetics always read labels carefully. Even when buying organic/natural brands
PARFUM / FRAGRANCE
The term "parfum" was originally created to protect perfumery scent formulations. Which were considered a closely guarded trade secret. These days however, it has become a labeling "loophole" where manufacturers can hide a multitude of potentially harmful and irritating ingredients. Current UK cosmetic legislation allows over 200 different, possibly toxic and carcinogenic, ingredients to be listed under "parfum". You will see this listed in lots of skincare products, cosmetics and household cleaners.
PARFUM/FRAGRANCE CAN CAUSE SKIN IRRITATION AND ALLERGIC REACTIONS IN ECZEMA SUFFERS
COLOURS & DYES
Colorants are used in many beauty products especially makeup. You have probably seen CI 42090, CI 73360, etc at the end of ingredient lists. Or, on US-based products, FD&C YELLOW 5 or YELLOW 5 LAKE. Most are colors considered 'low hazard' by The EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. Certifications mean that colorants are rigorously tested, but potential effects they may have with prolonged exposure are not known. For example, coal-tar-based dyes such as FD&C Blue 1 (CI 42090), most commonly found in toothpaste, and FD&C Green 3 (CI 42053), commonly found in mouthwash, have been found to be carcinogenic in animal studies when injected under the skin.
ALTHOUGH COLORS IN SKINCARE MAKE FOR GREAT INSTAGRAM PHOTOS, THEY ARE A POTENTIAL HEALTH CONCERN.
2. EXFOLIATE - EXFOLIATE - EXFOLIATE
During the winter months, skin can feel rough and dry, leading to a dull, lackluster complexion. Unfortunately central heating plays a huge role in this! When air is heated up it sucks the moisture out of the skin. Long periods of time spent indoors with the heating on high, leaves the skin feeling dry, rough and tight. Regular exfoliation is key to a glowing complexion.
Using skincare products that contain Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) is my number one tip for a glowing complexion. These acids get to work at the epidermal layers of the skin, dissolving the cement-like glue that holds dead skin cells together. They slough off dull, rough skin, increase cellular renewal and even stimulate collagen. Thus leading to plump, glowing skin!
I use a cleanser daily that contains glycolic acid, one of the AHAs and also use a peel once a week
Homemade sugar scrubs are also a wonderful, gentle way to revive a dull complexion. Cane sugar has a high glycolic acid content. If you haven't already, download my Sugar Scrub Recipe ebook. You can mix brown sugar with different ingredients and oils to suit your skin. AHA's have always been my favourite form of exfoliation, no other type gets my skin quite so soft. And making your own by blending raw cane sugar with organic plant oils (that suit your skin type) can be a nice hydration boost too. The skin should not feel stripped after scrubbing.. it should feel and LOOK nourished and glowing!
TRY AN AIR HUMIDIFIER OR A CUP OF WATER BESIDE RADIATORS TO REPLACE MOISTURE IN THE AIR. READ THE LABELS WHEN PURCHASING YOUR EXFOLIATORS TO AVOID DRYING INGREDIENTS LIKE SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLF) AND ALCOHOLS.
3. NIGHT CREAM
Beauty sleep is actually a real thing because while you sleep cell mitosis is happening. Cell mitosis is a fancy name for skin cell regeneration or cell division, when a healthy skin cell divides, making two new, genetically identical cells. During this renewal process is when our skin needs nutrients the most. Bedtime is when we get maximum impact from your active, anti-aging ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, peptides etc.
Bedtime is a time for renewal
The skin's oil production peaks at midday. So, while you are sleeping, when your skin does not have a protective layer of natural oils, you lose water. Losing water from the skin is called trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), it happens at the end of the day and during the night. It's important to replenish the water loss with nourishing moisturizers at bedtime, especially if you tend to have the heating on high! This is why a good (non-toxic) night cream is so important during the winter months.
I hope these winter skincare tips can help to keep your skin hydrated, supple and glowing this winter!