The weather in Brisbane in the last week has been variable to say the least. The first few days my skin felt as dry as old leather. Fortunately for me it didn’t look that way but it made me realise that the humidity has dropped and finally the cooler weather is on its way. Skin dryness or dehydration occurs when the water and oils that form part of the protective layer are out of balance as it is the balance of sebum (skin oil) and perspiration that keeps the skin healthy. This can happen for various reasons that I have outlined below:
1. Evaporation of moisture through the skin. Factors that promote moisture evaporation include dry air (ie lack of humidity in winter, heating or air-conditioning), wind, and prolonged water exposure (swimming in pools or long showers).
2. Damage to the waterproof barrier or disruption of the acid mantle leaving the skin open to issues such as dehydration, roughness, infection, redness and irritation. Synthetic foaming agents such as sodium laurel sulphate are a significant cause of acid mantle disruption.
Choose a richer moisturiser. Generally if you just choose the next richest moisturiser up from your current one. Alternatively, try using your night cream during the day. If it sinks in without a greasy feel, then it is suitable for day use. A few good recommendations include:
3. The inside stuff. What you put into your body also has an impact in skin hydration. Reducing factors that have a diuretic effect such as alcohol and coffee will increase cellular hydration. It is also important to have adequate good fats in the diet. Good fats such as essential fatty acids (EFA’s) ensure the cell membrane remains flexible. This allows the cell to excrete toxins and cellular waste products and hold onto nutrients and water. EFAs also help to keep skin flexible and hydrated and promoting skin healing. Deep Sea fish are among the best source of EFAs including tuna, salmon, anchovies and sardines. Other good sources of EFA’s include avocado, nuts & seeds, flaxoil and Evening Primrose Oil. Keep in mind…
4. Ageing. As we age the production of sebum and natural oils lessens effectively reducing the water holding capacity of our skin. This leads to drier skin. You can counter this by using an oil based serum. Apply the serum under your moisturiser during the day (only use half a pump) or instead of a night cream. Any serum you use should sink into the skin completely within 5 minutes. Our product picks are:
5. Stress increases the likelihood of heightened neuro-sensory reaction in the skin. In situations such as this wind, touch and cosmetic brushes can cause irritation or redness. Managing stress can be quite individual and often required internal nervous system support as well as de-stressing practices such as yoga, breathing exercises or meditation. If your skin becomes red or irritated easily, particularly in dry cold weather, choose products scent free products and nourishing oils
Skin type is predominantly a genetic trait and generally skin type doesn’t change much over your lifetime however, nutritional status, overall health, external factors such as sun damage and aging can cause changes in the integrity of skin making it important to reassess your skin’s needs ensuring you use the appropriate products. Using products that don’t suit your basic skin type can cause numerous skin issues.
There are four key skin types: oily, combination, normal and dry. In addition to the basic skin types, there are skin issues which include congestion, sensitivity and dehydration. You will only ever be one skin type but you may have a number of skin issues. These are not genetic and tend to be the result of diet and lifestyle choices or using skin care that doesn’t suit your skin type. The characteristics of each skin type and issue are listed below. Please remember however, that every skin type is different and if you feel that you don’t fit into any of these types or have any of these issues, contact our skin specialist, who will assist you with a personalized skin analysis and product prescription.
If you know your skin type, click here to view products suited to your skin
Oily Skin – producing too much oil
One of the common issues with oily skin is the use of creams that are too rich for the skin. The misconception is that a rich or heavy cream (by rich I mean including butters and waxes) will have a better moisturising effect. Regardless of the “richness” of a product, if it is chosen to correctly match the skin type, the moisture content and nutritional status of the skin will improve.
The other common misconception with oily skin is that not using a moisturiser at all will help reduce oiliness. Oily skins still need skin nutrition, moisture in the form of water and ingredients that will help to control sebum, the factor that creates “shine”. A good moisturiser for oily will do all of these things.
The benefit of oily skin is that those with oily skin will tend to age more gracefully than their drier-skinned counterparts.
Combination skin – the most common skin type
Many with combination skin tend to go for richer creams to help moisturise the drier sections of skin but this causes issues such as clogging and breakouts with the oily sections. A light but highly nourishing moisturiser combined with an eye cream is a better option than a rich cream. The other thing that is important is regular but gentle exfoliation to get rid of the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. On drier skin this is important to allow mositurisers to penetrate more easily. With the oily skin areas, it stops the buildup of dead skin cells in open pores.
Dry Skin – needs more oil
Dry skin lacks both sebum and moisture due to insufficient production by the sebaceous glands which reduces the cells ability to hold onto moisture. Usually dry skin is delicate with small or no obvious pores and quite fine textured. However, due to the lack of moisture and oil, it is likely to show obvious signs of aging sooner than other skin types such as wrinkles and fine lines. There may also be red or flaky patches evident.
First and foremost it is important with dry skin to prevent further drying out of the skin. To do this it is important to avoid alcohol based products as they worsen dryness. Daily moisturising is essential. It prevents moisture loss and supplies the skin with essential nutrients and oils to keep the cells well nourished. A healthy cell is more likely to hold onto moisture. Avoid foaming cleansers in general and particularly those containing sodium lauryl sulphate as they will disrupt the acid mantle and again reduce the moisture holding capacity of the skin.
Other tips include drinking enough water and eating plenty of essential fatty acids which are found in nuts & seeds, fish and flax oil.
Normal Skin - Neither oily nor dry
Dehydrated Skin – if your skin lacks radiance and feels “tight” it is likely that it is dehydrated. The appearance of fine lines due to loss of elasticity and flexibility are other key signs of dehydrated skin. Moisture evaporates readily through the skin, and if we don’t stop this occurrence our skin loses its ability to protect against the outside environment leading to even more moisture loss and in the long term, actual skin damage due to poor cellular integrity. Check for these signs:
Sensitive Skin - heightened skin sensitivity and adverse reactions to certain irritants characterizes sensitive skin. Common skin irritants include detergents, certain skin care ingredients particularly synthetics and petrochemical ingredients and environmental factors such as heat, sun exposure, cold and wind. There is a strong correlation between dry skin and sensitive skin. Those with thin or finely textured skin are more prone to skin sensitivity. Common characteristics of sensitivity include:
Congested Skin – skin congestion is characterised by blocked pores, dull skin, uneven skin, blackheads and whiteheads.Twitter It!
Every year I feel the change of season in my skin. It feels tighter, drier and any colour I achieved during summer starts to fade. The change of season has a big impact on the look and feel of our skin and no amount of makeup will make our skin look good if we haven’t done the prep work (or are genetically gifted) for the oncoming cold weather. Here is how to get prepared…
1. Start by changing your cleanser. If you are using a gel or foaming cleanser it will likely be too strong for the drier winter months. Use a cream cleanser such as La Mav Hydra Calm Cream Cleanser. For very dry, sensitive skin use Haven Scent Coconut Cream Cleanser or oil cleansing with Jojoba oil.
2. Scrub away dead skin cells. This allows the nutrients in your moisturiser or serum to penetrate more deeply as they don’t have to work through layers of dead skin cells. It also prevents your skin becoming clogged due to the richer ingredients used during the cooler months. Your skin will feel smoother and refreshed.
3. Use a Night Serum. Oils are so important for skin nutrition. They penetrate the skin more deeply carrying antioxidants and vitamins with them. Ensuring the cellular membrane of the skin cells is healthy allows nutrients and moisture to be retained within the cell and toxins to be effectively eliminated. Just what we want.
4. Keep your lips moist. Dry, chapped lips are a pain in winter. The wind and cold make it difficult for the thin skin of the lips to retain moisture. Give them a hand by applying lip balm regularly. Those containing beeswax will have greater moisture holding capacity that those based on oils alone.Twitter It!
I haven’t yet filmed the 3rd in the series on Dehydrated Skin…but will get there! However, I found an interesting article from Jenny of Coconut Magic with relation to dry & dehydrated skin. She writes “free radicals are toxic byproducts that can have the most harmful affect on your health, beauty and longevity. Especially found in heated, rancid and unsaturated oils, free radicals can damage proteins, fats, cell membranes, and vital DNA. They can also help accelerate the ageing process.”
It is so true that the type of fats we consume have an impact on our skin. I have discussed this many times with relation to the fatty membrane of skin skin cells. If the fats in the membrane are comprised predominantly of pro-inflammatory fats, then the skin cell is likely to experience greater damage from free radical production and cellular nutrition and hydration will be compromised. However, if you supply the skin with good fat sources, the fatty membrane will incorporate these and both inflammation and free radical damage will reduce. Cellular nutrition and hydration will also improve significantly.
Topically there are many beneficial oils that can help improve cellular health (for specifics read this article) however, the fats we eat will also have a huge impact. More from Jenny: Coconut oil is a saturated fat (it’s true – not all saturated fats are bad but that is a topic for another blog) that is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s). The MCFA’s in coconut oil possess incredible health giving properties. They provide natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, ant-viral and detox benefits. Coconut oil is cleansing, nourishing and helps with the body’s absorption of vitamin E and omega 3’s, which further enhances its beautifying effects.
Coconut oil reverses the free radical tissue-damaging process by displacing the rancid, pro-inflammatory oils from the tissues and providing fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and super nutrition factors directly to the damaged tissue.
In his book The Coconut Oil Miracle, Bruce Fife, ND, details: “Studies show that dry skin contains a higher content of unsaturated fatty acids (60%) compared to normal skin (49%). The best oil to use is one that doesn’t create free radicals. Saturated fat fits that requirement.”
For those with dry and dehydrated skin, the protection that good fat affords is critical for skin recovery. Taking up to 4 teaspoons of coconut oil per day it wont take very long to start seeing the major benefits that coconut oil will have on your health and the way that you look and feel.Twitter It!
One of the product formulators I admire, Lisa Phipps (creator of the Remedica range) recently wrote an article titled “Skin Care Truths”. I agree with so much of what Lisa has to say particularly about the use of skin nutritional oils and skin hydration. In this blog I have included some of Lisa’s comments about skin hydration and how to achieve well hydrated skin. Lisa writes:
Hydration means more than just drinking enough water.
While drinking plenty of water means assisting metabolic mechanisms such as optimum digestion, organ health and elimination of toxins, it is important to know that drinking buckets of water will not translate to plumped hydrated skin surface. When we want to obtain optimum hydration of the skin 3 things are necessary:
Examples of humectants range from 100% synthetics to synthetically modified naturals and 100% natural ingredients. Lecithin, glycerine, sodium lactate, sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) or some of my favourites. Water IS NOT a humectant. Water is an example of a natural chemical compound that when it evaporates it takes existing moisture with it. So when you apply a simple rose water or lavender water that is advertised as being a hydrating mist, unless the formula contains ingredients that when compounded assist in “occlusion”, retaining moisture or blocking loss of moisture they will have no real meaning to skin care other than temporary relief. Any topically applied Hydrating formula worth its money must be a combination of humectants and occlusives. Simply put, humectants function in water soluble environments such as a water base BUT occlusives function in oil soluble environments such as olive oil, jojoba, tamanu oil, baobab etc. Humectants attract water molecules from the atmosphere and bind that moisture to the skin however the occlusives retain or lock that moisture in so it is not then lost back to the surrounding air.
What is the difference between hydration and protection from dehydration?
Hydration means just that – hydrating the skin….attracting moisture from the atmosphere and binding that moisture to the skin. Protection against dehydration is the “occlusive” mechanism in place to support the skin from not loosing excess moisture. Natural products best used for protecting against dehydration are those formulated with higher lipid (oil), content. 100% oil products would of course offer the most protection against dehydration. The level of comfort to the skin and rate of absorption however would be determined by the individual formulation. Some oils are heavy and some oils are light. Rose hip is an example of heavy oil that is too dense and too nourishing for some skin. Baobab is an example of highly nourishing oil with a very fast absorption rate. This all comes down to personal preference.
When is the best time to concern oneself with protection against dehydration?
Well, of course as stated above, it is always important to incorporate “occlusives” in ones skin care but overall the easiest way to assist the skin in repair, nourishment and protection against dehydration is at night. We are vulnerable to dehydration while we sleep. Using an oil preparation while we sleep is an excellent and simple way to assist the skin in retaining moisture. As mentioned some oils are appropriate and some are not. It is important to always ask about the suitability of the oils in question for your skin type when purchasing.
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Yes its that time of year again – cool weather equals drier skin. The question that has been most asked is “what can I do about my dry skin?”. As always I like to give you a complete answer so I will outline below internal and lifestyle solutions as well as the topical products you can use to improve skin dryness and dehydration.
Firstly a short explaination about why your skin is feel dry and tight. Basically, with the cooler weather the humidity decreases and moisture evaporates out of your skin. This reduces the skin’s ability to protect from the external environment and so it reacts more readily to wind, cold weather and topical irritants. You may find that as well as feeling dry, your skin is also more sensitive during winter. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce moisture evaporation and increase skin protection and resiliance.
Sun, wind, cold air and hot water all increase water loss. You can reduce evaporation by making a few changes to your routine:
If you have any additional winter skin tips, please write in and let me know. I would love to hear about them.Twitter It!
Agghhhhh! My lips are dry again. The first sign of even cool weather and my lips seem to lose all moisture and crack up! Then of course the temptation is to chew them, or lick them to stop them from drying out – both of which just make the situation worse. So in an effort to avoid dry lips for the entirety of Winter, I have developed a “lip-care routine” which sounds silly but is helping. I have outlined what I do below but would love to hear about any tips you may have:
Apply lip balm before bed – particularly if you mouth breathe apply a natural lip balm rich in beeswax. Beeswax holds in moisture without having an occlusive effect unlike mineral oil based products. Even organic oil based lip balms aren’t ideal. They are great for a high gloss look but not for stopping immediate moisture loss. Some of our beeswax rich lip balms include Suvana Paw Paw & Honey Lip Balm, any of the Badger Lip Balms and Third Stone Botanicals Chocolate Lip Balm. The other good option is La Mav Soothing Lip Balm with Hyaluronic, an ingredients that attracts and holds moisture in skin cells.
Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol as they dehydrate your skin, lips, everything basically!
And all of this in an attempt to get a kiss no less! You may not need to do everything on the list but remember that all these tips apply to your skin in general. Keep in well moisturised and nourished and it won’t get dry or dehydrated during winter. Something I must remember! I am off to get a glass of water…and apply some lip balm!Twitter It!
Have you ever looked in the mirror the morning of a big event only to discover a huge pimple or noticed that your skin is unusually red and blotchy? Don’t stress, it will only make it worse! It could actually be the case that stress was the trigger for your breakout in the first place. Stress affects our lives in all ways, some motivational and positive, others subtle and more insidious. While not historically recognised as a contributing factor in skin conditions, there is now growing body of evidence to show that stress has potentially harmful effects on the skin. From acne to eczema research shows us that during times of acute stress, rashes and breakouts become worse, sometimes significantly so. It also points to the potential role of chronic low-grade stress as a causative factor in persistent skin conditions.
Stress can affect our appearance in a number of ways including increased perspiration, brittle nails, dry, thinning hair and sensitive more reactive skin. Where there is an existing skin condition, worsening can be seen in the following ways:
These effects are primarily caused by the impact of stress on skin permeability. In most chronic skin conditions there is an abnormality in the skin’s permeability barrier. The body responds by trying to repair the barrier and in the process initiates an inflammatory process in the deeper layers of the skin with the result of worsening skin symptoms. Even in people without existing skin conditions, stress has the ability to reduce skin permeability and increase dehydration and sensitivity. This may go some way to explaining why some people react to certain topical agent only some of the time; generally skin permeability is normal however during times of stress it is affected leaving skin more vulnerable to irritation.
When exposed to stress, hormonal and chemical levels increase. Hormones in the brain trigger the release of adrenalin and norepinephrine, creating the classic flight or fight response – our body’s are readying for an emergency, which most of the time doesn’t occur. Glucocorticoids are also released from the adrenal glands, and when stress is ongoing it leads to the decrease in skin barrier function. Interestingly, while a decreased barrier function often causes water loss, increased oil production can also occur due to the role of stress in the disruption of normal hormonal balance and an increase in substance P. So yes it is possible to have moisture dehydrated skin and be oily (usually through the T-zone) at the same time.
In addition to stress directly affecting skin permeability, chronic stress can also affect the functioning of the immune system. Stress down regulates the immune system making us more susceptible to infection. It also plays havoc with skin conditions that have immune involvement such as psoriasis, eczema, cold sores and shingles, most commonly causing worsening skin condition. Stressed individuals are also more likely to eat and sleep less healthily or be more likely to drink more alcohol further suppressing the immune system.
So how does stress reduction help with the treatment of skin conditions? Firstly, it helps by decreasing the release of
pro-inflammatory hormones, which results in less inflammation, redness and rash like symptoms. It also reduces blood vessel hyper-activity resulting in less frequent skin flushing, which is particularly important in rosacea. Time will see an improvement in skin permeability, which means greater hydration and less sensitivity. Oiliness will improve as hormones settle back to normal. This may take up to 3 months. Reducing stress will result overall in better condition both for those with existing skin disorders as well as those with normal skin.
Taking the time to incorporate some simple stress reducing techniques into your daily routine will help improve the condition of your skin:
happiness and wellbeing. In addition it increases circulation and therefore nutrition to your extremities, including your skin.
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