In Part I of this blog series, we discussed ways you can fortify your winter skin from the inside out, by choosing to include healing foods and nutritional supplements that nourish and protect the epidermis, like balanced Omega fatty acids, complete multi-vitamins and minerals, and a wide spectrum of daily antioxidant support. In this post, we will explore the beautiful array of topical tools available from our skincare boutique. There are so many exquisite clean beauty options to choose from, there is no need to suffer through another winter with dry, irritated skin.
First, a little bit of skin school. Let’s discuss a critical component of healthy, functioning skin which is often misunderstood: the acid mantle. This term simply refers to the pH of the surface of the epidermis. If the skin is balanced and healthy, it should be around 5.5. Anything lower than 7 on the pH scale is considered acidic, and so it is with our skin surface. Healthy sweat and sebum secretions naturally have a slightly acidic pH, and it is necessary this pH is maintained in order for enzymes to work properly, cells to turn over at the appropriate rate, hydration to be retained, and antimicrobial defenses to function at optimal levels.
If the pH of the epidermal surface is disturbed and not reestablished, your skin may feel tight, itchy, or rough after washing. It may look red and irritated. Products you may have used regularly in the past suddenly seem to exacerbate the problem, and your skin becomes highly reactive to anything and everything. That is because it’s first line of defense has been destroyed. Precious hydration is rapidly being lost to the environment at the same time all sorts of invaders (pollutants, bacteria) are entering.
People with naturally oily skin are less susceptible to acid mantle disturbance due to their enhanced production of naturally acidic sebum. However, those with less natural sebum production are more at risk, so a dry skin type with very little to no sebum production would therefore be the most vulnerable to acid mantle disturbances and the damage that can result thereafter.
This is all to say that it is vital that the acid mantle is maintained and protected if the skin is to remain hydrated and functioning optimally, especially when the environment turns cold and dry. One of the most common ways we disrupt our acid mantle is via the cleanser we use. The winter cleanser you choose should effectively remove pollution, dirt, and make-up, without dramatically raising the pH of the epidermis or stripping away all your natural oils.
Here are my winter cleanser recommendations for all skin types that are both effective and gentle:
- Oily Skin - try switching to Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream to deeply cleanse and exfoliate without any surfactants. Your skin will be left radiant and soft, with sebum production balanced.
- Normal Skin - Communion Botanicals’ Neroli and Pink Clay Illume Cleansing Cream gently detoxifies with clay and castor oil, while chamomile, plantain, and calendula soothe. The gorgeous pale rose colour and intoxicating orange blossom aroma make it such a pleasure to use. Remove with a soft warm cloth for best results.
- Dry Skin - Indulge in Eminence Organics’ Coconut Milk Cleanser and quench your dry skin with a blend of nutritious and hydrating coconut milk, coconut oil, and calendula oil. Removes all makeup and smells like a tropical vacation.
- Sensitive Skin - Osea’s Ocean Cleansing Milk is perfect for any of the above skin types that are also prone to redness, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis. It effectively removes all makeup without irritation, and leaves even the most delicate skin types clean, balanced and calm.