Friday, January 11, 2008

Beauty Talk: Winter Skin Care Products - Choosing a Moisturizer for Winter


In the previous Beauty Talk I looked into choosing a cleanser for winter. The most important tip for choosing a cleanser is to go with a mild and gentle option ( read more). Now it is time to look into selecting the right moisturizing product for winter.

As mentioned in the winter skin care post, during the cold season -in those parts of the world where the weather does get cold- our skin changes and skin type can shift. Of course, it is not necessarily that your skin type will change. However if you start to experience one or several of the following symptoms: skin tightness, burning sensation, irritation, itchiness, redness, flaking skin, appearance of dry lines, break outs – it means your skin type must have changed and your skin care products do not satisfy your skin’s needs. Some of the symptoms like irritation, redness and itchiness can also mean your skin has developed sensitivity.

What exactly is happening to the skin and why does skin type shift in winter?

Our skin simply reacts to the changes in its environment. In winter our skin reacts to the following environment conditions:
  • Low/minus temperatures outdoors
  • cold/ freezing winds
  • dry/warm air indoors (due to the heating system)
  • sudden transitions between cold outdoors and warm/dry indoors

    The above listed conditions cause (and are not limited to) the following reactions:
  • worse blood circulation in the skin
  • decrease in production of sebum and lipids
  • widened capillaries

    Finally, the following skin symptoms set in:
  • dull, pale complexion
  • dehydration
  • dry lines
  • skin flaking
  • irritation, redness and sensitivity
  • cuperose = broken capillaries

    *Worse blood circulation results in less nutrients and oxygen getting to our skin which, in its turn, causes all healthy skin processes to slow down and results in dull, pale, grey complexion.
    * Sebum and lipids are both responsible for lubricating the skin, creating and keeping up the protective barrier on top of it. This protective barrier keeps it sheltered from the environmental aggressors and helps skin to keep moisture locked in the top skin layers.
    ** When skin’s protective barrier is weakened it is more susceptible to free radicals and irritants which results in its sensitivity.
    ** In addition, skin cannot keep its hydration in balance and starts to lose moisture. It sort of “evaporates” from the skin. This results in its dehydration, burning sensation, dry lines, flaking etc.

    To prevent and treat the symptoms, you need to deal with the main reasons.


    Skin Care Strategies for Winter
  • Improve nutrients intake and oxygen flow.
    - keep to a healthy vitamin charged diet and take a quality vitamin supplement
    - give yourself a face massage and at-home facials regularly (massage: every other day or even every day when applying your daily moisturizer, at-home facial: 1-2 times a week)
    - exercise on a regular basis as it effectively stimulates blood circulation
    - use skin care products which contain Vitamins and ingredients stimulating blood circulation: Ginseng, Manganese, Magnesium, multivitamins A, C, E etc.

  • Respond to skin’s needs as soon as possible by:
    - improving hydration
    - restoring and keeping balanced skin’s protective barrier
    For your skin care routine to be effective, these two have to go together!

    Let’s look into more details on how you can adjust your skin care products and regimen.

    I have already mentioned such ingredients in skin care products as
    humectants – attract moisture to the skin (e.g.: Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Hylauronic Acid, Honey Extract)
    emollients – soften, lubricate, moisturize skin. Emollients build protective film on top of the skin to prevent dehydration. (e.g.: Cyclomethicone, Glyceryl Stearates, Lanolin, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter)
    occlusives are other important ingredient for winter moisturizers. They create a thicker and stronger film on skin’s surface to help protect it from the environment and to prevent loss of moisture. (Beeswax, Dimethicone, Mineral Oil, Paraffin, Petroleum)

    Skin care products based on just humectants are not enough for winter skin care regimen. You need not only moisturize your skin but also help it to restore its protective barrier to keep this moisture. Normal, Mixed and Oily skin types should go with a combination of humectants and light emollients. Dry, Very Dry and Normal-to-Dry should go for products with occlusive ingredients in addition to humectants.


  • Winter Skin Care: Moisturizers

    Quick Tip: When researching for this post I came across several recommendations for a quick winter skincare adjustment: just switch your night skin care product to the day one and vice versa. This recommendation is based on the fact that night products are richer than day ones. It actually can be a way out if you cannot invest into another set of products for the upcoming 3 months. But remember day products often have SPF which you do need in winter during the day as well. In addition, at night skin goes through a regeneration processes which will not benefit from additional unnecessary SPF chemicals on its surface. (good, if they do stay only on the surface!)

    I looked up some moisturizing products that help to restore skin’s protective barrier and create a “controlled microclimate” for your skin.

    So, here is what you can consider for winter skin care:
  • Avene “Hydrance Optimale” SPF 25 (Normal to Dry Skin Types) provides long-lasting hydration, sun protection and anti-oxidant protection (Vitamin E). *Recommended for winter season by In Style, Germany, Nov. 07
  • Repairwear Lift SPF 15 Firming Day Cream (Available for different skin types) has been quite recently launched by Clinique and is said to have a “climate control” feature. It helps skin to keep its moisture level balanced no matter what changes occur in terms of the temperature and humidity level in the environment. The ingredient that helps the skin to adapt is called Extensin. In addition the product contains creatine, olive extract , Vitamin E, wheat protein and some other ingredients to keep skin moisturized, smooth the lines and restore skin’s elasticity. * Recommended for winter by Glamour, Germany, Nov. 07.
  • Sisley’s All Day All Year (All Skin Types) is formulated so that you can wear it any season and it promises to keep your skin balanced and moisturized in the course of 8 hours guaranteed. This product also has sun protection properties. See a full review on All Day All Year.
  • Sisley’s Moisturizer with Cucumber (All Skin Types) increases moisture level in the skin by 30% in just half an hour. Builds a light protective film on skin’s surface. Contains Cucumber extract (rich in amino acids), mineral oil (occlusive), wheat protein. It described by Sisley as “Non-greasy”, but I have to say that I tried it out, and it is a bit too heavy for my medium oily T-zone. But I think it will be perfect for normal, dry and very dry skin types.
  • Nutrisource from Biotherm (Dry Skin) contains apricot kernel and macadamia oils which soften and condition the skin, jojoba oil which is an excellent emollient, ceramides (types of sphingolipids) which contribute to skin’s moisturization and keeping up its protective barrier. * Recommended by Young, Germany, January 2008.
  • Clarins’ HydraQuench Line: The range includes products for various skin types from Very Dry to Oily. Contains some amazing ingredients: Katafray extract to restore “cohesion of the corneal layer”, Inca Peanut oil to build up the protective hydrolipidic film and the super-humectant Hyaluronic acid to increase hydration etc. This line is also called “ MoistureQuenching” in the UK. But when I looked up ingredients, they seemed different (however, still very good to keep skin hydrated and prevent loss of moisture!). It looks like HydraQuench is a new line that came out first in the US .
  • Hydra Complete Multi-Level Moisture Cream from Estee Lauder. (available for Dry Skin Type as a cream and for Mixed, Oily Types as a Lotion). This product is developed to create “controlled environment--a virtual biosphere” for the skin. This way it not only hydrates and helps the skin to keep the moisture. The ingredients that help to achieve this effect are derivative of Vitamin B5, Brazilian Muru Muru butter (powerful emollient), Indian Kokum butter (emollient and Helps regenerate skin cells), Cactus Flower (effective antioxidant and emollient) etc.
  • Climate Control by Dermalogica creates controlled “microclimate” for your skin and helps to rebuild its balance. Contains Shea Butter and Silicones (emollient), Oat Extract and Vitamin E (antioxidants), Lavender Extract (balances and has antiseptic properties) etc. Also check out Dermalogica’s Barrier Repair. which has similar properties and sounds like a perfect choice for dehydrated sensitive skin.
  • Lancome Nutrix Royal (Dry and Very Dry Skin) especially developed to help rebuild the hydro-lipid barrier of dry skin, keep it balanced and moisturized. It contains vitamin CG and hazelnut extracts which promote synthesis of lipids, shea butter (emollient) and beeswax (occlusive).

    A minus for most of the products mentioned above is that they do not have SPF protection. I really don’t understand when a day-time moisturizer does not provide sun protection. However, the fact is you will have to either use foundation with SPF or use sun protecting product on top of your day moisturizer. Each brand mentioned above has a choice of sun screens. If you are not spending too much time outside in the snowy weather SPF of 15-25 should be enough.

    Coming soon: I will look into additional solutions for Dehydrated, Dry and Very Dry Skin Types and a separate post will be dedicated to skin care product for those suffering from an increased sensitivity… just like me…


    Read more on Winter Skin Care
    - Cleansing Products for Winter
    - Post on general Winter Skin Care Tips
    - More detailed “Skin Care in Winter” Article
    - More on Skin Care Ingredients
    - Click for more information on skin care products for winter.
    - Feel like shopping? You can buy skin care products for winter online right away.

  • 3 comments:

    Easy Shopping Tips said...

    Good and informative.

    mineral makeup said...

    Very nice tips for winter..the winter winds do make the skin very dry and lack of luster so extra care and correct choice of products is very important.

    Andrea @ Luxury Skin Care said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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