Category Archives: General Skin Topics

Oral and topical niacinamide for rosacea

Rosacea can be a challenging condition to live with. The unpredictable flushing, uncomfortable dryness, random pimples, and the frustrating sensitivity of the skin would make anyone desperate to find a cure.

 

While there is no treatment that can permanently correct rosacea, there are many treatments, skincare, and lifestyle measures that can help decrease flare-ups. One that is gaining popularity is a vitamin called niacinamide. With its high safety profile, economic accessibility, and ease of use, it has earned a place in many a rosacea patient’s routines.

 

What is niacinamide?

Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is none other than Vitamin B3. Specifically, it is the form of Vitamin B3 that is actively used by the body for various processes; the most basic of which is cellular metabolism. Each and every cell in our body requires NAD(H) and NADP(H) to use and harness energy. In fact, the “n” in the acronym stands for nicotinamide. Without these molecules, cells will not be able to function normally. These also have antioxidative properties that help repair damage to cells.

 

The entire body benefits from this vitamin, but let’s take a closer look at what it does for the skin. Studies suggest that niacinamide plays an important role in maintaining the skin barrier by upregulating the production of ceramides and collagen. Ceramides are lipids that prevent transepidermal water loss, helping keep the skin soft and supple. Meanwhile, collagen is a structural protein that provides for elasticity and tensile strength.

 

In addition, niacinamide has potent immunomodulatory properties. It inhibits the production of some cytokines, the chemical messengers that trigger inflammation. In fact, niacinamide has been used to successfully treat inflammatory dermatoses, including bullous pemphigoid and is sometimes used as part of acne treatments.

 

How does niacinamide help rosacea patients?

 

The skin of rosacea patients is much more sensitive than those of people who do not suffer from the condition. Flare-ups are triggered by anything from sunlight to windburn, spicy food to alcohol, cosmetics to strong emotions. The skin reacts disproportionately to the perceived threat, becoming red, blotchy, rough, and swollen. Unfortunately, angry skin is not great at protecting itself from further irritation, and so the cycle continues.

 

Niacinamide throws a wrench into this process by making the skin more resilient against threats. It does this by improving the structure of the epidermis to prevent moisture loss, improve tensile strength and suppleness. With niacinamide, the cells that make up the layers of the skin have the sufficient building blocks to produce NAD(H) and NADP(H), allowing them to do their jobs optimally. It also helps to modulate the overactive immune response associated with rosacea.

 

Topical use

With niacinamide’s many mechanisms of action for improving skin condition and texture, many products have begun to incorporate this vitamin into their formulas. Serums, moisturisers, foundations, creams–you name it.

 

However, if it is used as a supportive treatment for rosacea, you should pay attention to the concentration. Using a moisturiser containing 2% niacinamide was shown to decrease blotchiness, flakiness, and bumps in rosacea patients after 4 weeks of use. Other studies that focus on this vitamin’s effect on other skin conditions like acne, wrinkles, and pigmentation use products that have up to 10% niacinamide.

 

Discuss with your practitioner what product they would recommend for your condition. Always be sure to patch-test before applying on your whole face to see how your skin will react to it. Many rosacea patients love niacinamide and most skin types will tolerate it well, but each body is different. It’s better to err on the side of caution and check first, especially if you have sensitive, rosacea-prone skin.

 

Oral use

In the quest for the ultimate cure to rosacea, oral treatments have been considered. These include low-dose antibiotics and isotretinoin. Initial studies on oral niacinamide for rosacea show promise, though there is still much research needed to find out exactly how it works. Likely, its effect has something to do with the vitamin’s ability to inhibit the chemical triggers for vasodilation, provide energy for cellular repair, and modulate inflammation.  This translates to a decreased likelihood of flare-ups and improved ability of the skin to regenerate after irritation.

 

 

Purpose of this information

The information presented on this website and in this article is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose.  Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.

 

References

Draelos, Z. D., Ertel, K., & Berge, C. (2005). Niacinamide-containing facial moisturizer improves skin barrier and benefits subjects with rosacea. Cutis, 76(2), 135–141.

 

Fivenson D. P. (2006). The mechanisms of action of nicotinamide and zinc in inflammatory skin disease. Cutis, 77(1 Suppl), 5–10.

 

Levin, J., & Momin, S. B. (2010). How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 3(2), 22–41.

 

Matts, Paul & Oblong, John & Bissett, D.L.. (2002). A Review of the range of effects of niacinamide in human skin. Int Fed Soc Cosmet Chem Mag. 5. 285-289.

 

Niren N. M. (2006). Pharmacologic doses of nicotinamide in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions: a review. Cutis, 77(1 Suppl), 11–16.

 

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/nicotinamide

 

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/rosacea

 

 

 

Green Light Vascular Laser

Vascular Laser Therapy for Rosacea

Some sufferers of rosacea may have agonised in front of the mirror about the diffuse redness and prominent blood vessels on their face. Thankfully, advances in medicine and technology have resulted in numerous treatments that can help improve the appearance of red-blotchy skin.

 

Among the treatments stirring up a lot of buzz is the Excel V 532nm vascular laser therapy. If you’re considering this procedure, it’s important to get a general idea of what it is, how it works, and the factors that affect its efficacy and safety. Armed with this knowledge, you can make better decisions for your skin.

 

What is vascular laser therapy?

The term “laser” actually started out as an acronym for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation”. It sounds like a handful, but translated into layman’s terms, it basically refers to high-intensity light produced through excitation of specific molecules. The wavelength of the light that is produced depends on what molecules are used to create them. If the wavelength is between 400 to 700nm, you’ll be able to see it as within the spectrum of visible light. There are also lasers that produce wavelengths greater than 700nm, which fall into the range of infrared light.

 

Laser light is very different from the light coming from your lamp. It contains large amounts of energy contained in a very narrow beam, allowing it to change the objects it’s pointed towards. Because it’s so precise, you can target it at a specific spot on skin while minimising collateral damage.

 

How does it work?

The goal of vascular laser therapy is to destroy the small blood vessels that have dilated so much that they are visible through the skin. We know that blood that fills it contains oxygenated hemoglobin, and we also know that oxygenated hemoglobin strongly absorbs light at around the range of 418, 542, and 577nm.

 

Vascular laser therapy delivers a concentrated beam of light in an absorbable wavelength into a blood vessel. The light energy is converted into heat, and that causes the destruction of the offending blood vessel. The surrounding structures are not damaged because they do not absorb the wavelength of the laser light, they just reflect it. Plus, the beam of the laser is so narrow, it can target a small area.

 

This is great for people diagnosed with rosacea. It can greatly reduce telangiectasia (the visible red blood vessels) and overall redness within a few sessions, depending on the depth and size of the lesions. Many people report being satisfied with the relatively quick, long-lasting, and obvious improvement in their skin.

 

Considerations before opting for laser therapy

By this time, you might be ready to start looking for the nearest clinic that offers vascular laser therapy. But before you do that, there are things you have to consider finding out if this is the right procedure for you.

 

Firstly, laser therapy is generally considered supportive to medical therapy for rosacea. In other words, a few sessions will not magically make the skin condition go away. Following a good skincare regimen, avoiding triggers, and using any prescribed treatments are just as important to managing rosacea.

 

Laser therapy may also have different effects on different types of skin. This may cause a reaction to skin that burns easily or is sensitive to light and heat. Those with darker skin tones should be especially careful as not all laser are suitable in such cases.

 

It is important to note the change is not instantaneous. There may be discomfort, increased redness, and swelling on the face a few days after the procedure. Sessions are usually spaced a few weeks apart to allow the inflammation to settle down. There is also an increased risk of sun sensitivity, so be ready to slather on the sunscreen, wear a hat, and avoid the sun as much as you can.

 

But the most important factor to consider is where you plan to get vascular laser treatments done. Not all lasers are the same, not all laser clinics are the same, and not everyone should be operating a laser device.

Not all lasers are the same, not all laser clinics are the same, and not everyone should be operating a laser device.

Conclusion

Rosacea can be a difficult condition to live with, but there are therapies that can help improve the appearance of the skin. With proper medical advice and research, you can get the help you need to not just look better but feel better about yourself.

 

Purpose of this information

The information presented on this website and in this article is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose.  Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.

 

References

Carniol, P. J., Price, J., & Olive, A. (2005). Treatment of telangiectasias with the 532-nm and the 532/940-nm diode laser. Facial plastic surgery : FPS, 21(2), 117–119. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2005-872412

 

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/lasers-in-dermatology/

 

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/rosacea/treatment/lasers-lights

 

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/rosacea/

 

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/facial-red-vein-and-vascular-birthmark-treatments/

 

 

Learn more about Vascular Laser & Download our brochure here: Vascular Laser Excel V

 

Gentle Skincare in Rosacea

Gentle is the way in Rosacea Management

 

Rosacea is a skin condition that causes various types of sensitivity and inflammation of the skin. These hallmarks of inflammation need to be soothed and calmed, and to do that, one must practice gentle skincare.

Gentle skincare is all about minimising irritation that otherwise can cause the skin to flare up. It’s important to remember that this includes avoiding both chemical and mechanical irritants. It’s not just the products you use, but also how you apply them.

 

Here are some tips to help you practice gentle skincare.

 

Look at the ingredient list.

You can tell which products are more likely to irritate your skin by checking its formulation. Avoid those that have ingredients such as menthol, alcohol, camphor, fragrances and sodium lauryl sulfate. Now here is something that may shock you.  Avoid essential oils! Dermatologist Dr Chris Jalilian says to avoid ingredients that contain ‘botanicals’.  “These are more likely to do more harm than good”.  Go for products that are labelled as “mild”, “gentle”, “non-irritating”, or “for sensitive skin”. Run away from toners, even if it’s suggested that they may be OK to use in sensitive skin. Rosacea needs no toning!

 

You should apply these guidelines to anything that touches your face. For example, sodium lauryl sulfate is often found in shampoos and toothpaste. The residue from these products could cause redness in the forehead or around the mouth for example.

 

  “Avoid menthol, alcohol, camphor, fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfate and essential oils. These are more likely to do more harm than good”.

 

For more product suggestions, you can check out the rosacea products page of our partner pharmacy.

 

Consider the two staple ingredients for rosacea skincare, Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and Vitamin A (retinols). Our favourites are Propaira Skin Defence serum with 10% niacinamide and The Skincare Company’s Vitamin A which glides on the skin so elegantly.  As for a gentle moisturiser, our pick is La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Light Sensitive Moisturiser.

 

Do a patch test

Each person’s skin is different from the next. So what will work for one person may not necessarily work for you. To make sure that the product you are purchasing is right for your skin, do a patch test first. Place a small amount on your jawline or somewhere that is not so obvious. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes to see if it will cause a reaction. If it causes redness, itching, or dryness, best leave it on the shelf.

 

Cleanse twice a day

To complement your prescribed rosacea treatment, it is important to cleanse twice a day. It’s best to use products that have a slightly acidic or neutral pH to mimic the skin’s natural state.

 

“Blot your skin dry rather than rubbing and use a soft towel to dry your skin then allow your face to air dry for a further 5 to 10 minutes before you put on your creams”.

 

The goal is to remove oil and residue from the face as gently as possible. Avoid using washcloths or face brushes as they can be abrasive. Instead, use your fingertips and gently move it against your face in circular motions using a light touch. Wash away the cleanser with lukewarm water as temperature extremes can trigger rosacea. “Blot your skin dry rather than rubbing and use a soft towel to dry your skin” says Dr Chris Jalilian.  “Then allow your face to air dry for a further 5 to 10 minutes before you put on your creams”.

 

 

Moisturise regularly

People who suffer from rosacea have skin that is sensitive and easily damaged. Proper moisturisation helps repair that barrier and protect the skin, which results in improved skin appearance and increased comfort.

 

When you find a gentle, non-irritating moisturiser that works for you, apply it as often as you want. With clean hands, dab it gently onto your face and enjoy the relief from dryness.  You don’t need a lot of moisturiser to cover your face, just enough for a thin coat.

 

 

Apply sunscreen everyday

Sunscreen is one of the cornerstones of rosacea management. Use a broad-spectrum product with at least SPF 30+. Physical filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide may not be easy to blend into the face, but these are less likely to irritate the face, making them the active ingredients to look out for when shopping for sunscreen.

 

Make sure to apply every 2-3 hours during the day when outdoors, regardless of the weather or your location.

 

Conclusion

Combining gentle products with gentle application can significantly improve the effectiveness of medical rosacea treatments. But as with any skincare routine, consistency is key. Make it a habit to take care of your skin by cleansing, moisturising, and applying sunscreen, and you’re sure to see (and feel!) the results.

 

Purpose of this information

The information presented on this website and in this article is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose.  Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.

 

References

 

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/rosacea/triggers/tips

 

https://www.rosacea.org/patients/skin-care/facial-cleansing-for-rosacea

 

Levin, Jacquelyn & Miller, Richard. (2011). A Guide to the Ingredients and Potential Benefits of Over-the-Counter Cleansers and Moisturizers for Rosacea Patients. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. 4. 31-49.

 

Santoro, F., Lachmann, N. An Open-Label, Intra-Individual Study to Evaluate a Regimen of Three Cosmetic Products Combined with Medical Treatment of Rosacea: Cutaneous Tolerability and Effect on Hydration. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 9, 775–784 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-019-00331-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosacea Image

Dietary Do’s and Don’ts for Rosacea Patients

Dietary Do’s and Don’ts for Rosacea Patients

 

One of the key tenets of rosacea management is the avoidance of triggers. The majority of these involve being choosy about what you put on your skin, but it seems that there is value in also choosing what you put in your mouth.

A significant number of rosacea patients report intensified flare-ups after being exposed to certain types of food. These experiences have piqued the interest of researchers. They are now trying to understand the pathogenesis of flares in signs and symptoms of rosacea following ingestion of certain types of food. Following this through could lead to further breakthroughs in understanding and treatment of this condition.

Rosacea and the gut

Anecdotal evidence suggests a link between rosacea and issues in the gastrointestinal tract. Based on initial studies, gut microbiome disruptions appear to play a role in the pathogenesis of rosacea flare-ups.

Several scientific papers have reported higher prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infections (HPI) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in people with rosacea compared to people who don’t. This may mean that imbalances in the microbial environment of our digestive system play a role in rosacea.

Inflammatory bowel disease also appears to be associated with rosacea. The factors influencing the guts immune response may also be the same factors setting off flare-ups.

Dietary management for Rosacea patients 

Doctors and researchers have compiled information from thousands of rosacea patients over the years to find out which food most commonly causes their skin to flush. Though not all rosacea patients react the same way, you can use this list as a general guide on what to eat and what not to eat if you’re trying to avoid an episode.

  1. Don’t drink too much alcohol

    Celebrations often call for a bottle of champagne or a glass of wine, but rosacea patients best beware of the effects of alcohol on the skin.  When alcohol is processed inside our body, one by-product is acetaldehyde. This compound triggers the release of histamine, which in turn promotes a pro-inflammatory response. Combined with alcohol’s vasodilatory effect (ie opening of blood vessels), it’s no wonder drinking causes redness and increased body heat. This happens to people without rosacea, so you can just imagine its effect on those suffering from it.

  2. Avoid foods containing capsaicin

    Capsaicin is the compound from chili that gives the mouth that hot, tingly feeling. While many people enjoy a little spice in their meal, rosacea patients are better off without it. Capsaicin binds to a cell receptor called TRPV1, which leads to a cascade of neurovascular activities that promote blood vessel dilation and redness.

  3. Don’t consume piping hot food or drinks

    Sometimes it’s not the food itself, but the temperature it’s served at. Remember that increased body temperature can set off a blushing bonanza.  Many rosacea patients find that drinking hot coffee and tea can trigger an episode, so they opt for iced drinks instead.

  4. Don’t eat food that contains cinnamaldehyde

    Cinnamaldehye is a compound found in several kinds of food that people may not think to group together. Mustard oil, chocolate, tomatoes, cinnamon, and citrus fruits all have it. Like capsaicin, it binds to a cell receptor, specifically TRPA1, which promotes vasodilation and redness.

  5. Do eat sources containing prebiotics and probiotics

    Given that rosacea has been associated with the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, giving the beneficial bacteria a leg-up could help mitigate the effects long-term. Prebiotics are foods that promote the activity and regulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach. Fiber-rich foods are considered prebiotics, so consider increasing uptake of barley, green peas, lentils, dried dates, pasta, pistachios, and others.

    On the other hand, probiotics are foods that deliver beneficial bacteria to the GIT. Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso are some options.

    While the effect of prebiotics and probiotics on rosacea symptoms have not been demonstrated scientifically, some patients report an improvement in their condition. Aside from that, there are a lot of other health benefits to incorporating fiber and probiotics into your meals. But as always, seek specific advice from your doctor or dietician for a tailored eating plan.

  6. Consider supplements

    The skin barrier function of the skin can be compromised in patients suffering from rosacea.  To help with this, supplements like zinc and omega-3 fatty acids have been suggested to be beneficial. They may have anti-inflammatory properties that can keep the swelling and redness down. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for skin health and integrity, so if your not getting enough of this in your diet, consider supplementation.

Conclusion

Rosacea patients should make use of all avenues to keep their condition from flaring up. Knowing which foods to avoid and which foods to incorporate may help decrease the frequency and intensity of flare-ups in the long term.

Purpose of this information

The information presented on this website and in this article is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose.  Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.

References:

Buddenkotte, J., & Steinhoff, M. (2018). Recent advances in understanding and managing rosacea. F1000Research, 7, F1000 Faculty Rev-1885. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.16537.1

Weiss, E., & Katta, R. (2017). Diet and rosacea: the role of dietary change in the management of rosacea. Dermatology practical & conceptual, 7(4), 31–37. https://doi.org/10.5826/dpc.0704a08

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/cutaneous-adverse-effects-of-alcohol/3

Psoriasis on knees

The 101 on Psoriasis

Covering the basics of psoriasis

Itchy, painful, embarrassing, unsightly – these are just some words that sufferers use to describe the condition known as psoriasis. It may seem insignificant to some, but the impact psoriasis can have on one’s quality of life can be significant. From the physical marks, to the psychosocial effects, it can indeed be a difficult disorder to live with.

However, with a general understanding of psoriasis, effective medical treatments and appropriate lifestyle strategies, psoriasis can be effectively kept in-check. 

And you don’t need to be a sufferer of psoriasis to be taking some interest in the condition.  A little understanding from the general public on this condition can also go a long way to help sufferers deal with the condition.

In this article, we give you a bird’s eye view of this complex condition.

 

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disorder that causes skin lesions seen as well-defined, red and scaly patches on the skin.  People may think that the effects of psoriasis are limited to the body’s surface, but this is a disorder that can affect multiple systems. As such, psoriasis may come hand-in-hand with other medical complaints such as joint pains (which may be due to psoriatic arthritis), nail problems (called psoriatic nail disease) and in some cases, heart problems.   It is also worth mentioning that whilst many people are not bothered by their psoriasis, for some, it can impact on the quality of life.

 

What causes psoriasis?

We do not fully understand how psoriasis comes about, but it is likely to be multifactorial in nature. Genetics plays a role, as multiple cases within families are common. There appears to be genetic abnormalities common between people diagnosed with psoriasis, particularly with respect to genes that code for parts of the immune system. Researchers are still trying to find the connection between genetics, inflammatory reaction and unregulated production of skin cells that causes the visible lesions associated with the condition.  Psoriasis is not due to infection and is not contagious. 

The effect of environmental factors cannot be discounted. Many psoriasis patients report that their symptoms are exacerbated by cold, dry weather, smoking, weight gain, and stress. 

It is likely that the manifestation of psoriasis is a combination of both internal and external factors.

 

What does psoriasis look like?

Psoriasis lesions on the skin can present in different ways. Note that people may present with more than one type of psoriasis.

One way to classify psoriasis is by the appearance of the lesions. The most common form is chronic plaque psoriasis.  This presents as elevated red patches of inflamed skin with a silvery scale that can occur almost anywhere on the body. On the other hand, flexural or inverse psoriasis is seen as smooth, red, raw skin found in skin folds such as the armpits groin or other skin creases. Yet another form is guttate psoriasis, which appears as small, round, red spots mostly on the trunk and is often triggered by a throat infection.

Psoriasis can also be classified according to the affected body part. There is scalp psoriasis, nail psoriasis, and palmoplantar psoriasis (psoriasis of the palms and soles).

 

What is the treatment for psoriasis?

Treatment varies depending on the severity of symptoms. Mild cases can be treated with medicated lotions and creams that control inflammation, dryness, and excessive production of skin cells. Moderate to severe psoriasis may require treatment in the form UV light (narrow band UVB or phototherapy) or with medications.  Medication options are considered case-by-case and can be in the form of tablets or injections in specific cases.

Chronic psoriasis may require lifestyle changes. Using gentle skincare and avoiding triggers may be just as important as medical treatment in controlling the condition.  Weight loss (if overweight or obese), physical activity and a care for the mind as much as the body can be important additional measures to manage psoriasis.

 

Last thoughts

Psoriasis is very common.  Treatment may not always be required but should be pursued if there is an impact on one’s quality of life. Whether it is lifestyle changes, creams, phototherapy, tablets or specialised injections, there is almost always a a treatment option for psoriasis.  

 

The information presented on this website is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose.  Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.

Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

 

As the temperature drops and the nights grow longer, your skin may shift to a dry and flaky texture in winter. The low temperature and humidity of this season causes our skin to become more dry, resulting in poor barrier function of the skin, flares of eczema and dermatitis, increased sensitivity and itch, and more prominent appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (if that matters).  

But there are ways to counter the skin changes brought on by the cold. With these simple skin hacks, you can keep your skin supple and healthy despite the freeze.

 

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Counter the dry winter chill with a heavy-duty moisturiser. Shift from your airy, lightweight summer moisturiser to something with a thicker and creamier consistency. This will leave your skin feeling supple for longer, putting up a worthy fight against the cold and dry environment. 

Moisturisers in their chemical properties come as three types;

  1. Humectants which draw water to the skin
  2. Occlusives which prevent water escape from the skin, and
  3. Emollients which fill in the cracks between your skin.

Commercially available moisturisers come in different chemical makeup and good ones will have all three types ticked off.  The key is to try different moisturisers until you find one that you like best.  If you need a moisturiser that is just right for you in its texture and moisturising properties, this can be made for you in an affordable manner at some compounding pharmacies specialising in skin.

Consider a humidifier at home

If a humectant moisturiser is Batman, a humidifier would be Robin.

The hygroscopic (water absorbing) property of a moisturiser is maximised only when the air around you contains moisture. Winter air is dry, add to this the use of heaters indoors and you have a great set of conditions for dry air in your house, classroom or workplace. 

Consider adding a humidifier in the indoor spaces you spend the most time in, such as your bedroom or office. Use a product with humectant ingredients and give your skin relief from arid conditions. 

 

Avoid irritating ingredients

The biting cold is already a handful for our skin to manage, so let’s not give it any other reason to stress out. Irritating ingredients like alcohol in some serums, astringents in some creams, soaps and strong fragrances can push our already damage-prone skin over the edge.

Instead, go for products that are labelled as

  • “gentle”
  • “mild”,
  • “soap-free”,
  • “non-irritating” or;
  • “for sensitive skin”.

This will give your skin the TLC it deserves for protecting us against the elements.

 

Protect your skin from abrasive clothing

Chemical ingredients in skincare products aren’t the only things that cause our skin additional distress. Abrasive fabrics can rub against our skin, leading to friction that could irritate your skin.

Wear a layer or two of light, comfortable clothes, ideally made from cotton, that sit directly on your skin. Then pile on however many layers of heavy-duty winter clothing you need to stay warm.

And the same principle goes for mittens. Wearing glove liners made of silk or cotton under your wooly mittens can protect dry hands from further irritation.

 

Protect your skin from snow-reflected UV rays

An overcast winter day might make you think that you don’t need sunscreen, but the snow that falls down from it is definitely a reason to worry. Fresh snow can double a person’s UV exposure because it is just so good at reflecting the sun’s rays.

Thankfully, the winter chill has your body covered with heavy clothing that prevents UV rays from seeping in, but you have to protect every other part of your body left exposed–including your eyes!

Snow blindness, also known as photokeratitis, is basically getting your eyes sunburned. It is as painful as it sounds. To avoid this, wear UV-protective sunglasses or winter goggles with a UV rating.

 

Don’t turn up the heat too high

If the cold makes our skin dry and irritated, then turning up the heat will make it all better–right?

Wrong.

Our attempts to compensate for the low temperature by cranking it up could be doing more harm than good. 

A long, hot bath may sound luxurious, but your skin would much prefer a quick, lukewarm shower. Keeping your heater to a comfortable 20-22°C keeps you from shivering without shocking your skin.

 

Some last thoughts

As a dermatology practice, we see a rise in patients seeking assistance with eczema, hand dermatitis and psoriasis in the winter months.  With cold and low levels of humidity, we need to counter-act the drying effects of these conditions by avoiding irritants getting to our skin and being liberal and frequent with the use of moisturisers. 

Interestingly, what we see less of in winter is patients seeking skin checks for skin cancers.  The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ may explain this phenomena well, however skin cancers don’t just wait for warmer weather to appear.   Check your own skin regularly for any new or changing lesions and see your GP or dermatologist if you have a concern.

Look after your skin in all seasons of the year, at all times.

 

The information presented on this website is for general information and example purposes only, does not contain health advice specific for users and must not be relied on for that purpose.  Please see your GP, dermatologist or other health care professional for specific advice.