What happens to our skin as the temperature changes, and what can be done to combat the negative effects?
Cold, low-humidity weather
The drier the air, the more moisture it sucks from your skin, so you're more likely to experience dryness and flakiness during the colder months of the year, especially if you're prone to eczema or other dry skin conditions.
If you’re to beat the effects of the chilly season, you need to ensure adequate barrier repair and protection to prevent moisture loss and sensitivity. This means choosing a product that isn’t necessarily ‘thicker’, just well formulated with ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and urea.
Harsh heat causes an increase in perspiration, and in some cases can also cause low humidity, which leads to water evaporating from our skin. This can cause cracking, flaking, irritation and dullness.
If your skin’s continuously irritated by the heat, a secondary concern comes into play, and that’s inflammation. Aside from being a primary source of premature ageing, chronic inflammation along with irritation and sensitivity is a perfect recipe for pigmentation formation.
So, when it’s very hot, keep the following in mind:
1) Always use a good facial SPF, such as Heliocare, that contains protective ingredients like antioxidants to prevent sun damage and decrease inflammation.
2) Maintain hydration, both by drinking water and also by preventing moisture loss via your skin. You can take care of the latter by using of well-formulated hydrating products that protect your skin’s barrier function, such as LamelleCorrectives Hydrating HA Serum Plus, SkinCeuticals B5 Hydrating Gel.
3) Do your best to keep your skin functioning optimally by investing in skincare products containing antioxidants. Ensure your night time skincare routine makes use of products containing repairing and regenerating ingredients like vitamin A (retinol), growth factors and anti-ageing peptides.
4) You can also go for monthly facial treatments to ensure your skin enjoys a proper exfoliation, such as Microderm; Transdermal Mesotherapy; Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT); Laser Genesis as well as a boost of the appropriate actives.
Sudden temperature changes
Going from the cold outdoors into heated buildings, or moving from the hot outdoors into an air-conditioned environment can also take its toll on your skin. Sudden temperature changes can cause the rapid dilation and contraction of the fine capillaries in the skin. This wouldn’t usually be cause for concern but, if it’s happening constantly, it can lead to broken or permanently dilated capillaries (also known as telangiectasias), skin sensitivity and redness.
Though it may be difficult, try to avoid the extremes by not cranking the air conditioner or heater to full blast so that the temperature inside versus out isn’t as extreme. You can also invest in a good barrier cream to help protect your skin as well as products with anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant ingredients, such as the Neostrata Redness Neutralising Serum that are helpful in controlling redness and sensitivity.
Hot baths and showers
Hard as this may be, try to resist the temptation to take long, hot baths or showers as they can weaken your skin’s protective barrier, in the same way that seasonal weather extremes do, causing dryness and sensitivity. They can also cause capillaries to dilate and remain that way, which leads to redness. The simple solution? Enjoy baths and showers that are comfortably warm, not piping hot.