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Winterize Your Skin with Science

October 23, 2018 Reviewed by Marta 0 Comments

How much do the seasons matter when it comes to skincare? Most of us step up the sunscreen in summer and some of us switch to a heavier moisturizer in winter, but that’s about it. Curious as to whether there is more too it, I have been researching the impact of winter on the skin. I found enough real science to help me understand how to best approach a winter skincare regimen.

Cold winter weather effects the skin in three important ways, significantly decreases occur in all the major lipids of the skin’s hydrolipidic film, which are fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterol. Researchers found that the stratum corneum lipid levels “were dramatically depleted in winter compared with spring and summer” (source).

The same study that the impact of winter is as good (or perhaps I should say bad) as aging. The relative levels of ceramide 1 linoleate in the skin were depleted in winter just as they are in aged skin.

Chilly blasts will increase the degree of fatty acid unsaturation, while decreasing levels of palmitic and palmitoleic acids. As a result the structure of the stratum corneum becomes less compact.

To put in laywoman’s terms, the skin therefore becomes drier, more sensitive, tight and uncomfortable. This is all about disruption of the skin barrier disruption as pro-inflammatory mediators are released, resulting in redness and even tissue lesions.

Another interesting reaction to the cold is the reduction of skin blood flow. During cold exposure, however, the permeability of capillary membranes in the skin is reduced, compromising the supply of nutrients and oxygen to skin cells.

So how to ensure your skin keeps its warm glow? Well, we can start by replenishing those depleted fatty acids. I love KERACELL’s new Liquid Gold Enriching Elixir ($160 in the shop), which is packed full of good things, but notably

Phospholipids are called “the second skin” because they hold their structure when applied. This is a good thing because they attract water and hold on to it, making it a great moisturizer. They also bring those fatty acids. They are featured in BRAD products, notably BRAD Biophotonic Sublime Youth Creator Radiance Concentrate ($125 in the shop) and BRAD Biophotonic Sublime Youth Creator Gel-Cream ($245 in the shop).

We also need to replenish ceramides. Transderma M ($175 in the shop) is a highly concentrated moisturizing and regenerating serum based on ceramides and lipids identical to those found in human skin, as well as the aforementioned phospholipids.
Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense SPF 50 ($42 in the shop) has ceramides in the form of sphingolipids and phospholipids. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturizer ($68) has a dual action of exfoliating and moisturizing with squalane, ceramides, and Chinese foxglove.

Squalane is known to be an effective moisturizer, but it is also a precursor to cholesterol in the skin. Winter zaps our skin’s cholesterol and so squalane should be a sought after ingredient for our winter regimens. It is the base for Transderma M ($175 in the shop) and is also featured in Your Best Face Defend ($130 in the shop).

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