Winter skin is a struggle for many. I think we all notice that we have drier skin in winter, but it becomes a problem for some people. This is where making an effort to support our skin barrier becomes important - from the inside and out!
Skin is an amazing thing that keeps the 60% of water inside of us there. Imagine that we are a huge volume of water just walking around! And our body has this complex job of making sure the right cells carry and move this water to the right places in the right way.
Our skin has the INCREDIBLE job of keeping it all in, as well as regulating when and how much exits to the outside. We can lose anything from half a litre of water just through skin diffusion each day, and up to 10L if we are doing a lot of exercise.
Winter exacerbates your skin drying out even if it is pouring with rain - literally the worst floods on record in some parts of Australia! This is because heating the cold air inside our homes drops the moisture saturation in the air, no matter how much rain there is outside. The warmer air inside can pull out moisture from your skin more easily and leave you with dry skin.
Extra work for your skin barrier
We all have an amazing natural barrier in our skin, protecting us from drying out - just like the oils in a leaf. We need to be able to clean and refresh our skin without stripping away the important oils and proteins that are there to protect us. Adapting our diets and skin care regime for winter can be a big help.
Yes you have filaggrin in your skin!
The skin barrier that keeps moisture in our skin is complex and includes oils and water-holding sugars and proteins. One very fascinating protein that is a vital part of our natural skin lubrication is filaggrin, made from essential amino acids that we have to get from our diet. The key amino acid that we need to eat to directly make filaggrin is L-histidine.
We need about 4.4g of histidine from our food to create our own natural, filaggrin skin lubrication from the inside, to regulate skin moisture and function. As an essential amino acid - one that we need to get from our diet - what we choose to eat will make a difference to our filaggrin.
Histidine is concentrated in proteins and therefore in meat products of course, but it is created in plants that are protein rich, like legumes. Our seaweed species is particularly rich in protein at up to 40% and is rich in the amino acid histidine in a similar way to legumes.
Make sure you get a diverse intake of protein-rich sources of histidine this winter, and try any of our products in the protein pack to boost your plant-based histidine sources.
Get some winter sun
Vitamin D stores can fizzle in winter, and this is an essential part of healthy skin, helping to maintain a good skin barrier, promote new skin cell growth and to support a healthy skin immunity. A morning dose of 10 mins of sun in that winter window with your morning coffee and a PhycoBite with boron, does a lot. Boron protects your vitamin D stores and is rich in our seaweed, so make it a ritual to enjoy.
If you prefer to make it simpler, then Boron is also present in our supplement range alongside other elements that are important for skin like calcium, as well as Omega-3.
Minimise washing and add support from the outside
It can be better to wash your skin properly with a gentle exfoliation once or twice per week, and then just minimise washing or splash your face with cool water in the morning to refresh. If you use makeup then you do need to remove that before bed with a gentle cleanser that minimises disruption of the deeper layers, but minimising washing is good in winter.
Coming from the freezing Nordic climate where it gets down to -30C, we know that a morning shower is not a good thing as the oils that protect us from the freezing winds are stripped. Keeping winter showers to a minimum with a thorough cleanse when you do shower can be a better strategy, and if you have exercised you might just rinse off quickly rather than lather in the soap. After washing it helps to back up your skin barrier with a good moisturiser, while your skin renews its own barrier system.
Create your own winter skin barrier
On top of diet, sun and good skin care, sleep and exercise can never be forgotten in how important they are for good skin. Keep it all together, but be a little bit more aware of that filaggrin in your skin and what you can do to support it.