The Post / 25 March 2019, 1:00pm / Kamani Ramlakan
OUR choice of clothes is determined by the weather. We diligently follow the weather trends before we pack for a holiday or when we choose our clothes daily.
We often forget about our skin, which is not covered and also requires care according to seasonal changes.
How many of you are guilty of maintaining the same skin regime annually?
Our largest organ, the skin, functions to regulate the body temperature.
Environmental changes, or extrinsic (external) factors, contribute to skin conditions.
The normal skin temperature is about 33°C.
Seasonal weather changes, wind, humidity, diet and ultraviolet (UV) light cause changes in skin conditions.
Some pointers to keep in mind -
South African seasons are:
Autumn - March1 to May31;
Winter - June 1 to August 31;
Spring - September1 to November 30; and
Summer - December1 to February28.
Autumn: This is the best time to rejuvenate and repair your skin by correcting any summer damage and prepping it for winter.
Tips: * Hydrate: summer can cause dehydration, so ensure your skin is well moisturised before winter.
* Exfoliate: this helps you shed dead skin cells. It also helps to boost circulation and stimulate the production of new skin. Be sure not to over exfoliate and strip the skin’s natural protective barrier.
Winter: Cold air tightens the pores of the skin and reduces blood circulation. This reduces the naturally occurring oil known as sebum, which acts as a protective layer. With lower humidity in the air during winter, the cumulative effect is that the skin starts to dry out.
Tips: * Wind can strip the moisture from exposed skin, leaving it feeling dry, rough and tightened. In extreme cases, the skin may crack or peel. Apply a hydrating moisturiser and exfoliate twice a week. A cream cleanser and a cream mask are also ideal to maintain healthy skin during this time.
* Apply sunscreen: even though the weather is cooler, it is critical that you don’t stop applying sunblock. The sun is damaging, no matter what the season.
* Cleanse morning and evenings: wind carries dust and pollution. Dust in the air clogs the pores and may increase the bacteria levels which lead to acne and spots.
* Prevent unhealthy habits: people exercise less, drink less water and increase their intake of caffeine during winter. This leads to dehydration and dull skin.
* Avoid long, hot showers: hot water washes away the skin’s protective oils in the acid mantel, leaving it dry, tight and itchy. It also causes inflammation which speeds up ageing.
* Inflammation: skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea are increased. This is associated with dry, flaky skin caused by the body’s allergy and inflammatory responses. Get red light therapy to reduce inflammation. Omega 3 and 6 oils have been found to play a role in reducing inflammation.
* Increase circulation with facial treatments.
Spring: As we get rid of the old during spring cleaning, the same applies to the skin routine.
Tips: * After winter, the skin requires exfoliation and sun protection.
* As the temperature rises, lightweight products including serums with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are extremely beneficial. This antioxidant helps fight free radicals, which protects the skin from premature ageing and hyperpigmentation.
Summer: During the summer, some people may get itchy rashes. This could be PLE (polymorphic light eruption or sun allergy), a reaction to UV light, or miliaria (prickly heat), which is caused when sweat is trapped under the skin. High humidity means a lot of moisture in the air. That causes the pores of the skin to open and make them susceptible to gathering dirt and oil, and allergen skin break-outs, eczema and allergic reactions.
Tips: * Reduce sun exposure from 10am-2pm.
* Apply sunblock frequently.
* Have regular baths or showers.
* Limit overexposure to air-conditioning and central heating because this can dry out the skin.
Healthy skin is a journey. Take the time to identify what external factors are contributing to your skin concerns and make adjustments to seasonal changes.
* Ramlakan is an internationally qualified and trained beauty therapist and the founder of NB Skin Science skincare. You can visit her in Malvern or Musgrave. Facebook and Instagram @nbskinscience or visit www.nbskinscience.com