Over the years various themes have sprung up in my practice. One that particularly stands out is between the months of October to March, I begin to see a sudden upsurge of people seeking help who are unhappy with the look of their skin.

Common statements include:

“I suddenly feel like my skin has aged overnight”

Or

“My skin has gone really tight, red and sensitive”

Below are 5 common reasons why this happens and simple steps you can take to rectify it.

Extreme temperature fluctuations.

The skin’s a very clever organ and one of its important roles is to help regulate body temperature. When it senses a drop in temperature our blood vessels constrict, our hair stands on end and goose bumps appear to keep in the heat. Likewise when it’s hot our blood vessels dilate and we sweat to regulate the heat. In winter we’re constantly going from hot to cold and vice versa. Picture how hard the skin has to work! Constantly on overdrive, adjusting to keep us in balance.

What you can do

Whilst there’s nothing you can do to change the outside temperature you can equip yourself to protect from the harsh elements (Discussed further in no 2) Wearing a scarf outside to add further facial protection can help, as can keeping the indoor heating temperature moderate.

Most importantly when you wash your face, make sure the water temperature is luke warm. If the water is too hot or too cold it can confuse the skin further, making it work even harder and become more unbalanced.

Incorrect products for the time of year.

Just as nature adapts to the changes in seasons, so does our skin. The products we use to support our skin in summer can actually be unsupportive in the winter months.

For example a lightweight SPF 50 applied during the day may be too drying and not nourishing enough in the winter.

What you can do

The biggest advice I can share is don’t seek advice from high street beauty counters. Staff are often in a sales role, trained in that specific brand of products only. This often means they are limited with what tools they have to work with.

Do your research and find a practitioner to solely look after your skin and build a relationship with them. A good practitioner should be able to assess your skins varying needs throughout the year and treat accordingly.

In my practice I’ll often perform a full skin analysis, even with my regular clients throughout the year. I may switch a daily protectant or active night product by season, or I may introduce something else to add further support to the skin if needed. My actual facial treatments will even be altered depending on the time of year.

Incorrect washing

Using harsh facial washes or wipes and over washing the face is a big no! Cleaning the skin once a day at night is ample. Over washing or using harsh products can destroy the natural protective barrier of the skin, the very thing you need to keep it looking its best.

What you can do

Choose a gentle cleanser, one that is free from surfactants, emulsifiers, alcohol and fragrances. Use with a non abrasive soft smooth flannel or flat wet cotton pad. The job of a facial cleanser should be to remove dirt without disrupting and harming the skin and remember to use luke warm water only.

Lack of nutrients

When the temperature drops we often crave more stodge. Foods that are high in refined carbs or rich in starch and sodium. It’s tempting to opt for the warm feel of a cappuccino over a cold juice in the morning, or to skip the salad bowl in favour of a slice of pizza.

The party season sees further temptation with alcohol, sweets, cakes and biscuits. Sugar is very ageing for the skin due to its glycating effects. Adding alcohol in to the mix can result in puffy, lined and dehydrated skin.

What you can do

Whilst there’s absolutely nothing wrong with listening to how you feel and having a bit of what you fancy, I’d just encourage you to be more aware of how you’ve nourished your body throughout the day. Try adding in some of the good stuff. For instance If you like hot drinks, maybe switch the odd coffee for a fruit tea, or substitute the juice for a warming fresh vegetable soup. You could add in salad or veg as a side serving with the slice of pizza or pasta. If you’re drinking socially you could rehydrate with a glass of water in between. Just subtle changes can make a huge difference overall.

Vitamin deficiencies.

It’s well documented that as a nation we’re pretty much all Vitamin D deficient. We simply don’t get adequate amounts of sunlight to exposed body parts regularly enough to keep our levels within a normal range. Much of our work and home life revolves around the indoors and in winter we cover up when we venture outdoors, due to the cold.

Vitamin deficiencies are linked to a whole host of health problems including mood disorders, disease and skin issues.

Lack of nutrient dense foods can also be a contributing factor in other common Vitamin deficiencies.

What you can do

It’s easy to get your blood vitamin levels checked. You can do this via the GP or privately.

I often run full vitamin blood checks with my clients who don’t want to ask their GP but want to get to the bottom of several issues.

Add in a good quality multi vitamin, one that contains Vitamin D3 or if you’re just concerned with Vitamin D you can pick up a good quality D3 supplement from any regular supermarket or pharmacy.

Get outdoors as often as you can. Nature heals and sunlight is a perfect example. When the warmer months come let your skin be exposed to the sun for short periods. Sun isn’t dangerous, its what keeps us alive! It’s if we overdo things and burn that causes the problems.

Be mindful of what you eat. Remember nature has this funny way of giving us everything we need 🙂

Don’t despair spring and summer will be here before you know it!

Lots of love

Gemma

xx

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