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Did  you know that the “number” of your skin can determine how it ages?

What am I talking about?? Skin’s pH of course!

The pH level of anything is measured by a number.  The ideal number for skin is 4.5 – 5.5. This allows the skin to function optimally.  It will seal in hydration, while protecting your skin from free radicals, pollution and environmental irritants. Even though we cannot easily TEST or calibrate this number, the way our skin LOOKS & FEELS are huge indicators of the skin’s balance & well being.

Can the wrong pH really affect your skin?

YES! Here is a mini Chemistry 101 crash course! When skin is too acidic – or your number is too low –  lipids & natural ceramides just cannot be synthesized properly, which leads to the skin being compromised and not being able to protect the outer layer. This can start the aging cascade.

When the pH is too alkaline – or your number is too high – the skin starts to peel and is less protective; some skin types can also become vulnerable to eczema.

Lastly, when the skin barrier function is compromised, our ability to provide an antibacterial function is also left vulnerable. Dull looking skin, flaking, peeling skin, bright red cheeks & of course wrinkles can be signs of barrier compromise. Cold air tightens the skin pores and reduces blood circulation, therefore leaving the skin feeling parched and raw and sometimes even very tender or itchy. In addition to weather, certain foods, medication & perfumes can trigger reactions in the skin.

The chilly subzero temperatures might be great for snowshoeing and skiing but those temperatures can play havoc on your skin and can compromise your skin’s barrier function.

In extreme temperatures we need to protect & nurture our skin even more. This time of the year brings on even more extremes, as it’s freezing outside and often we are blasting the heat or sitting in front of a roaring fire to stay warm inside! Admit it, I know we all do it !!

Can you just imagine what impact this has on your skin, no wonder we need to pay a lot more attention to our winter skin care routine. According to a study published by the British Journal of dermatology, Greg Hilderbrand PhD, says that if the skin remains at a high alkaline level for an extended period of time, this can speed up the aging process a lot faster!

As I often say in my skincare practice to clients: when in doubt hydrate. I really believe that hydration is first line of defense to slow down the aging cascade. I often share with clients that their skin is like a sponge & if the water levels are low; then the skin is reactive & non responsive to other clinical skincare treatments.

Maintaining hydration & the protecting the skin is critical in the cold weather. In the winter months, a lot of skins deal with both dry and dehydration, even the typical oily skin.  Winter is a great time to address deep healing, repair, rejuvenation & pigmentation treatments, such as microdermabrasion, micro needling & chemical peels/deep enzymes. However, be sure that the structure of the skin is well hydrated before offering these Corrective treatments, or else clients will not get the results they want & often undue reactions can occur.

Choosing products that contain high levels of hyaluronic acid which can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, this helps all skins types & conditions. These can effectively boost your skin’s ability to hold onto greater levels of moisture {we certainly need all the help we can get in the harsh winter months}.

What areas of the body are the most impacted by harsh Winter weather?

Obviously the face and neck, but the decollete is a fragile area that is often forgotten about. Remind the client when treating their skin at home, they need to extend their treatment products all the way down the decollete  

Even the most luscious of lips can suffer from dehydration & cracking in the Winter. Keep them well nourished with lip balms/salves made with butters & natural oils. Avoid petroleum based ingredients that can often contribute to the problem.

As Spa Professionals, we need to bring awareness to the aging of the hands. With very little fatty tissue, hands can really show aging as much as the face. Our poor hands are so exposed in the harsh climate, between hand washing & the fluctuation in temperature inside & out, hands need constant moisturizing. For some clients, paraffin hand treatments can offer winter relief, perfect as an add on during a facial. Home care recommendations such as serums will give the skin a great deal of relief and will help to restore a sense of soothing calm & reduce the itch & raw feeling on the skin.

6 Tips To Reduce Winter Skin Stress

1. Stay hydrated. We tend to actually drink LESS water in the winter months, but adding hot lemon water to your daily routine is really refreshing & hydrating too. Eating foods high in water content can help hydrate your skin from the inside out. Try high water content fruits & vegetables such as cantaloupe, apples, oranges, kiwi, celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and carrots.

2. Take Your Vitamins! Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and zinc to support the healthy production of collagen and elastin or consume more fatty fish and flaxseed to give your skin the building blocks it needs to appear supple and smooth. Avoid consuming dark, fizzy soft drinks, as they can lead to the skin becoming highly acidic. Sugar is another culprit in speeding up Glycation {the breakdown of skin’s elasticity}.

3. Supplement! Remember taking an internal supplement rich in omega 3 can help to reduce inflammation. Supplementing your diet with a good quality fish oil, rich in Omega 3 can help with a whole alphabet of skin conditions, from acne to wrinkles. That’s because, as well as being great for our heart, brain and eye health, Omega 3 fatty acids play an essential role in both the structure and appearance of the skin. Nuts & seeds, such as almonds, walnuts & sunflower seeds are also a great source of omega 3’s.

4. Avoid long, hot baths and showers. Be sure to use rich body butters & oils in your body right after your bath/shower to seal in the hydration.

5. Invest in a humidifier for the bedroom.

6. Change Your Routine.  Everyone needs some seasonal home care changes!  Just like our diet, our skincare products need to be changed. 

  • Exfoliation is the foundation to healthy skin. When the skin is free of dry flaky cells, it better absorbs the nutrition from the skincare products.
  • Cleansers that foam up, especially bar soaps, should be avoided, as they can be more drying, suggest a milky option for the Winter months.
  • Nourishing masks are a great way to pump up the skin with hydration.  There are many options out there.
  • Finding the right facial oil formulation is an excellent way to hydrate in winter. Even oily skins can benefit.
  • Winter is a great time to use skin brighteners because the days are shorter and there is less daily sun exposure.  

Love the skin you’re in, you have to wear it for a long time.
This Winter, for healthy glowing skin, implement these tips to get the best skin you can!

Tazeem Jamal

Tazeem Jamal

Tazeem Jamal, is a highly respected & passionate spa industry professional. She has been in the industry for over 30 years as an award winning Master Esthetician, spa business coach, retail sales catalyst, writer and an international speaker. Her mission is to raise the bar & to inSPAire others to use their passion to build rocking businesses!  Read More…

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