Winter is upon us. That frigid winter wind blows over your face, making your skin become dryer and more irritated. So, you take refuge in your warm protective cocoon of a house only to have your skin further dry out by the lack of humidity in the artificially warm air. All you want is to have plump, dewy soft skin in the middle of winter.
Here is how to get it and, at the same time, understand why what you apply to your skin is getting you the results you deserve. And why it will make a real difference.
“Winter Skin”: myth or reality?
First let’s talk about how your skin works to keep your body cool and how this system is flawed when it comes to keeping your skin moist and hydrated.
Skin is constantly losing water in the form of vapor (invisible steam). It is a way to keep your body cool - and that happens all year long. If you exert yourself (e.g., intense exercise), you start to perspire, which is really just turning up the cooling system, and instead of just water vapor, you also produce visible sweat.
In the winter, the air is dryer, and the lack of humidity in the air causes you to transpire (lose water vapor) faster. As the cold air rips across your skin, it also causes the skin cells to dry out and flake away faster than normal. This flaking leaves thinner epidermal areas on your skin. As the outermost layer of skin cells start to flake away, it allows even more water vapor to rush out of your skin. So, your goals are not to thin out the outer layer of your skin, and to keep it plump, moist, and hydrated by preventing water loss and getting water back into your skin.
Help your skin block the loss of water
There are two ways to keep your skin from losing too much water vapor:
First, you can slow the loss of water vapor by applying a product that leaves a thin film on your skin to block the loss of water.
Ingredients that slow water loss by physically blocking its escape are called occlusive agents. Occlusive is just a fancy way to say something that blocks. By blocking water loss, these ingredients also cause the skin to become moist and soft and are often called emollients. The protective barrier formed by the emollients also helps reduce the loss of the outer skin cells, preventing epidermal thinning and thereby decreasing the rate at which water is lost. Depending on the product, some emollients can be thick and difficult to get into the skin.
Emollients are primarily made of water and a type of lipid, like butter, oil, or fatty acids.
The second way to keep your skin from drying out is to use topical products with ingredients that trap water so it does not leave your skin.
By trapping water, the products hydrate your skin; the ingredients known to hydrate are called humectants. The water trapped by humectants comes from the air or deeper within the skin. Humectants do not care where they get the water from, so if your skin is already dry and the air around you is dry, they can pull more water from your skin, making it even dryer.
Helpful hint: lightly mist your skin before applying products with high percentages of just humectants such as hyaluronic acid. Especially since hyaluronic acid is known to pull in 1,000 times its weight in water, you need to make sure there is a water source.
OPULUS’s approach to keeping your skin healthy and hydrated in winter
A better approach is to use a combination product that has both occlusive ingredients and humectants. OPULUS Beauty Labs RHR (Restore Hydrate and Rejuvenate) opoule is a restorative single-dose night treatment product that contains both. A key emollient in RHR is allantoin, known for moisturizing the skin, which decreases flaking and itching. In addition to many other emollients in RHR, it also contains sodium hyaluronate, which is a water-loving (hydrophilic) humectant to help hydrate the skin. The RHR Opoule is transformed via the Activator, and it emerges as a warm sleep mask for optimal skin absorption.
Here’s a link to learn more about RHR and how it can help your skin during winter.
If you have questions about this article, leave a comment below!