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Research shows how winter affects our skin

Is a Solution for:
Broken Blood Vessels, Dry Skin, Redness, Rosacea
April 12, 2018 Reviewed by Marta 0 Comments

I have tended to dismiss ‘winterize your skin” as a clichéd magazine feature. But new research has made me think again.

 A British Journal of Dermatology study explains why many of us experience eczema, rosacea and dry skin in the winter.

In tests of skin on 80 adults, the levels of breakdown of filaggrin—a protein that helps maintain the skin’s barrier function—changed between winter and summer on the cheeks and hands. Changes were also seen regarding the texture of corneocytes, cells in the outermost part of the skin’s epidermis.

“This study shows clearly that the skin barrier is affected by climatic and seasonal changes. Both children and adults suffer from red cheeks in the winter in northern latitudes and some may even develop more permanent skin conditions such as atopic eczema and rosacea”, said senior author Dr. Jacob Thyssen, of the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. “By the use of high magnification we show that the skin cells suffer from shrinkage and therefore change their surface.”

The importance of filaggrin and its role in eczema has only recently been understood. Filaggrin is a protein that is vital for skin cells to mature properly into the tough, flat corneocytes that form the outermost protective layer of our skin. This skin is called the cornified cell envelope (CCE). Without filaggrin, the CCE does not form properly, the corneocytes dry out and the lipid layer is easily lost so that the skin becomes dry and cracked. Think of the cells as being like the bricks in a protective wall and the lipid layer as the mortar holding them together and keeping it waterproof.

Filaggrin also helps to form part of the natural moisturising substance of the skin and may be important in our immune defence mechanism of the skin. There is also research showing that filaggrin protects us from UV light, so sunscreen is also important.

As I emerge from winter, I am conscious of drier skin and more irritation prone skin as well redder cheeks and tiny broken veins. I’ll be switching up my regimen to avoid cleansers with abrasives or harsh surfactants – Ao Skincare’s Prepare Cleanser ($39.95)  is a good option. A moisture-locking lotion is essential such as Skinveda Amlaki Cocoin Milk Facial Lotion ($48 in the shop) and I am tackling those veins with Medik8’s Redness Corrector ($105 in the shop)

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