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Healthy Winter Skin

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Article by Cara Phillips

How to keep your skin feeling great  this Winter


During winter, your skin really cops a beating – a decrease in air humidity and drying winds can really dry out your skin, leaving it feeling scaly and dehydrated. It is dehydrated skin that looks aged, with wrinkles much more defined – so it is important to look after your skin  and keep it hydrated, both on from the outside and from within.

Drinking lots of water and eat nourishing foods such as lots of fruit and vegetables will be a great start to help from the inside.   You body needs these nutrients to help form a healthy Corneum layer, as it uses the nutrients found from within your body to enable build healthy new skin. You need to understand how your skin works a little more to understand how to really look after it well.


The importance of the Epidermis

The epidermis is the outermost layer of your skin and is responsible for the look and health of the skin as well as the prevention of moisture loss, and providing the initial barrier to bacteria for our body.  It does such an important job for our body, so it well worth taking a little extra time and care to look after our skin with products that are going to assist and not potentially harm.


The epidermis is further divided into five layers.  From the surface of the skin down to the dermis, these layers are: Corneum layer; Lucidum layer; Granulosum layer; Mucosum layer and the Germinative layer. The epidermis is able to hold large amounts of water, with the highest amounts of water found in the lowest layer, the Germinative layer.  The amount of water stored in these cells lessens as you reach the surface, so it is easy to see how important it is to keep these lower cells as hydrated as possible.  The skin’s capacity to retain water decreases with age, therefore making you more susceptible to wrinkles as you get older.


In a young person, it takes approximately 28 days for a skin cell to travel from the Germinative to the Corneum layer of you Epidermis.  This process takes longer the older you are, with it taking approximately 37 days by the time you turn 50.  If it takes about 28 days or more for a skin cell to reach the surface of the skin, then we are naturally exfoliating about one layer of dead skin cells every day. 

Now that we understand a little more about the epidermal layers, we can look at the best ways to help our skin be it’s beautiful best – naturally.

Cleansing – Avoid the “squeaky clean” feel

The outermost  layer (Corneum layer) contain almost fluidless, containing about 10-15% of it’s original moisture. It is the function of this layer to prevent excessive dehydration.  Using harsh detergents as well as harsh climatic conditions can  result in decreased levels of the skins’ natural moisturising factor (NMF), leaving skin feeling dry and fragile.

It stands to reason that if you strip your skin or all of it’s natural oils through using harsh cleansers, then you will only have to work harder to put back the good oils.  So choose low-foaming cleansers or cream cleansers to take away the dirt and not strip you skin it’s natural oil.


To exfoliate or not to exfoliate

Our bodies naturally exfoliate about a layer of skin a day.  This can sometimes builds up due to various environmental and internal reasons.  You need to get rid of a build up dead skin, to enable your moisturiser to get to the layers where it is needed most.  It is important to use gentle exfoliants, so as not to remove more layers of the skin as appropriate for your skin. Excessive use of skin exfoliants can result in increased skin sensitivity and even increased oil production.

Exfoliating one or twice a week with an appropriate exfoliant is a good way of keeping skin at it’s optimum for receiving moisture.

On your body, use a gentle body scrub, or else by give your body a vigorous rub every morning in the shower with a loofah or bath cloth.  Not only will this help get rid of dead skin but it will boost blood flow to the area - so get to work on those hips and thighs!!   You will immediately feel the circulation improve to these areas so get into it!

Now that you have cleaned and prepared your skin - you need to feed it naturally.

Choosing a healthy moisturiser

It is so important to choose products for your skin that are not are going to potentially harm.  Choosing products that contain ingredients as close as possible to your skins natural oils are going to penetrate much quicker and easier.  Go for products that contain cold pressed natural oils (organic where possible) such as sweet almond oil, rosehip, macadamia and avocado oil are a great start.  These oils mimic your skins natural oils and will be absorbed easier and deeper into your skin.

Your skin tends to absorb much better and deeper when it is moist, so application of moisturisers after a warm shower work the best.  We tend to spend a lot of time looking after the skin on our face and often neglect our bodies.  The use of Body Oils are a great alternative to body creams. They provide a superior hydrating effect on your skin than most crèmes, they are high in nutrients, and tend to penetrate deeper than a lot of moisturisers.  Again, look for the use of natural cold-pressed (preferably organic) oils to help provide a superior hydration.

Understanding a little about how your skin’s upper layers work, can help us all choose products that are going to help us maintain healthy beautiful skin – naturally.


Cara Phillips

Director & Founder

Carmajé – pure botanical skincare

References –

Michalun, Natalie & Michalun, M Varinia - Milady’s Skin care & Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary. 2001. Delmar, Thomson Learning. P.7-26

12 Jul 2011

Last Update: 14 Jul 2011

Article/Information supplied by Cara Phillips

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.