This whole lockdown period has been quite a revelation! I’d love to say that I have read through my massive list of books, taken up some kind of martial art and learned how to knit – but sadly amongst being a teacher, a cook, a cleaner, an IT tech team and a family therapist – funnily enough I haven’t got around to it yet! However, what I have tried very hard to do – albeit when the kids are sleeping, and post large glass of Rose, is take a bit more care of my skin, nails and hair. In the process of trying harder, I have read a lot about the skin and been rather surprised by just how little I actually did know!
So now for some of those interesting facts!
Did you know that when we are born our bodies are composed of over 75% water! By the time we die this drops to 0% – so basically as we get older we simply dry up!!
It’s a mind blowing fact and one that has sent scientists into many a tail spin over the years trying to work out what effect this process has on the largest of the bodies organs – the skin.
Also, being pale and fair and in my 40’s I’ve also recently found out that I have thin skin! Yes really! And not in the metaphorical sense – quite literally the skin barrier layers of my English rose complexion are in fact thinner than others – which apparently is not a good thing! We are prone to redness, more irritation and rashes – and this is mostly due to its inability to filter out the pollution, UV light and infections.
Along side fair and pale skin lots of people that suffer with Eczema or Psoriasis suffer with skin barrier issues. Many are given a steroid cream to alleviate the symptoms, which in turn compromises the skin barrier and actually makes it even thinner which, yes you’ve guessed it, causes more irritation and redness.
So is there any good news? Well as it turns out yes there is! Whilst the skin barrier is prone to dehydration, which in turn can have an effect on the texture of the skin, it can also be reversed with the use of nifty products targeted at the barrier itself. Now comes the science bit! Well ok – I’m not a scientist so let’s just talk about the types of products that you might want to consider and why.
Fundamentally, it’s all about hydration! The main aim of most products on the market is to leave your skin feeling silky smooth. There are lots of ways to achieve the ‘just left the spa feeling’ but sadly most are packed full of water, which the skin simply cannot absorb and chemicals that are ultimately more harmful to the skin. They synthetically produce a cling film type finish, which is sadly not very long lasting and does more long term harm than good.
Choosing products that mimic the body’s natural response and maintain hydration, combined with a healthy, active and well-hydrated life style is key. So cutting down on coffee and alcohol, exercising more and reducing stressors are a good start but what else is achievable and realistically how much am I likely to improve my skin barrier with products and what are my choices?
There are a lot of options out there! From the ‘next generation’ products made from stem cell technology that promise to halt the aging process to the chemical peels that strip the skin to reveal another layer.
There’s also a range of products with ceramides and hyularonic acid. They claim to absorb water and surround each skin cell with lipids, making the cell more able to hang onto water.
Whilst there can be no promise of a reversal of damage to the skin barrier you can certainly work hard to maintain it and improve what you have. Organic and waterless products do just that, offering skincare that penetrates into the skin barrier rather than sitting on it’s surface or drying out before anything meaningful happens! With anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories like vitamins A, C and E they harness the power of nature to deliver a revitalised feeling that’s more than surface deep without the introduction of chemicals.
Ultimately, forget thinking about your skin in terms of oily, dry, combination and start thinking about your skin in a more holistic fashion and consider all of the contributing factors. Whichever route you take be sure to do your homework, whilst organic and natural products are less evasive some do contain essential oils, which can react negatively to some skin types, as well as to marine life.
So whilst we all slowly start to think about life post lock down maybe we will all hold onto some of the positives, slow down our day to day lives a little and not let a lack of time be a barrier to great skin!