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Beating The Winter Skin Blues

As Mother Nature goes into winter hibernation, ELSA KRÜGER tells us there is no better time to jump into action with skin treatments and emerge with a radiant complexion in spring.

Keeping your skin happy, healthy and hydrated during a change in seasons can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, advances in dermatology and aesthetic procedures offer effective treatments to manage your skin’s health. Topical medications, oral therapies, laser treatments and innovative procedures all offer relief from skin issues and ensure that when spring comes round again your skin is smoother, clearer and more radiant.

However, no treatment is one-size-fits-all. It is important to consult a qualified dermatologist or skincare professional to determine the most suitable treatment plan based on your individual needs and skin type.

As your body’s largest organ, your skin serves as a protective barrier against environmental elements. However, factors such as genetics, lifestyle and environmental stressors can lead to skin problems. Conditions like eczema, rosacea, acne and pigmentation can impact both physical appearance and emotional well-being.

These skin conditions can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and mental wellness.

A Damaged Barrier

It is crucial to keep skin in good health, as it is the first line of defence against harmful elements, preventing dehydration and infection while maintaining moisture balance. Damage to this barrier can lead to issues such as dryness, inflammation and sensitivity. Hyaluronic acid is a powerhouse of moisture that can keep skin hydrated in winter. With its amazing ability to attract and retain moisture, it is a must in any skincare routine, and even more so when the skin barrier has been damaged.

Treatment

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You cannot be too gentle in dealing with skin barrier damage. Cleanse gently (no soaps), moisturise with barrier-repairing ingredients like ceramides and fatty acids and avoid harsh chemicals or irritants. Topical treatments containing ingredients such as niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and peptides can help to repair and seal the skin. Protect it from further damage with sunscreen and avoid excessive exfoliation.

Aesthetic Procedure

Micro needling ensures that boosters like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide penetrate deep into the skin.

Products

  • Filorga Hydra-Hyal Serum plumps and hydrates the skin with five different hyaluronic acid molecules.
  • Dermalogica Stabilizing Repair Cream works as a potent barrier-repairing moisturiser.
  • SKNLogic B10 Booster, containing 10% concentrated niacinamide serum, is great for sensitive skin and helps to restore its function as a barrier.
  • Skin Republic Hyaluronic Boost Youthfoil face mask locks in moisture by delivering a burst of hydrating serum to visibly replenish and protect the skin’s appearance.

Eczema

Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterised by red, itchy patches. It often appears in childhood, but can affect individuals of any age. Dermatologists believe the cause of eczema involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Treatment

Keeping the skin well hydrated can help manage eczema symptoms by preventing dryness and reducing itching. Corticosteroid creams or ointments are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation and itching during flare-ups, and non-steroidal creams may be recommended for long-term management of eczema. In some cases, exposure to ultraviolet light under medical supervision can help improve symptoms.

Aesthetic Procedures

  • Laser therapy can help improve skin texture and reduce inflammation associated with eczema.
  • Cryotherapy freezes the affected skin with liquid nitrogen to reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Platelet-rich Plasma injections can stimulate skin regeneration and reduce inflammation in eczema-affected areas.

Products

  • Lipid-rich products calm the skin. Try Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2; it contains ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids.

Rosacea

Another chronic skin condition, rosacea, mainly affects the face, causing redness, visible blood vessels and sometimes small red bumps. It tends to develop gradually and may worsen over time if left untreated, and it can be painful.

Factors such as genetics, immune system abnormalities and environmental triggers play a role in its development.

Treatment

Prescription creams containing antibiotics, azelaic acid or metronidazole can help reduce redness and inflammation associated with rosacea. In some cases, oral antibiotics or isotretinoin may be prescribed to control symptoms.

Aesthetic Procedures

  • Radio-frequency micro needling is a minimally invasive treatment that combines micro needling with radio-frequency energy to stimulate the production of collagen and improve skin texture.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and vascular lasers can target the blood vessels responsible for redness and improve the skin’s overall appearance. Broad Band Light (BBL) laser treatment can also be effective, as it can be for acne.
  • Small doses of botulinum toxin can be injected into specific facial muscles to reduce the redness and flushing associated with rosacea.

Acne

This common skin condition is characterised by clogged pores, inflammation and the formation of pimples, blackheads and cysts. It often develops during adolescence due to hormonal changes, but can persist into adulthood. It is unsightly and can have a powerful, negative impact on an individual’s self-confidence. Adult acne is becoming more and more common and it’s not unusual for people to continue experiencing breakouts well into their 30s, 40s and even 50s. Factors like genetics, hormonal imbalances and certain medications can contribute to the development of acne.

Treatment

  • Over-the-counter and prescription creams containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or retinoids can help unclog pores and reduce acne-related inflammation.
  • Oral medications like antibiotics, hormonal contraceptives and isotretinoin may be prescribed for moderate to severe cases of acne.
  • Chemical exfoliation using alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help improve acne and reduce itsscars by promoting cell turnover.

Aesthetic Procedures

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) involves applying a photosensitising agent to the skin and then exposing it to a specific wavelength of light (normally blue light) to target and destroy acne-causing bacteria.

Fractional laser treatments can improve acne scars by stimulating the production of collagen and promoting skin remodelling. As mentioned for rosacea, Broad Band Light (BBL) laser treatment can also be used for acne, as well as freckles, dark spots, redness and certain types of sun damage.

Products

  • Lamelle Clarity Active Control Spot Treatment contains ingredients that calm inflammation, kill bacteria in the pores and remove any blockage. “For the occasional pimple we love salicylic acid, azelaic acid and niacinamide,” says Karen Bester, medical trainer at Lamelle Research Laboratories. “Add a retinoic acid ester to that if you have acne.”
  • SKNLogic Repair Mist with Vitamin B3 alleviates acne, eczema, rosacea and hyper sensitivity. Vitamin B3 is an antioxidant that helps to repair the skin’s lipid barrier, minimises redness and blotchiness, reduces the appearance of pores, regulates oil, treats hyper pigmentation, lessens fine lines and wrinkles and treats acne.
  • Oxy’s Vitamin C Serum, containing 10% vitamin C, salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid, reduces the appearance of acne and prevents breakouts. It helps fade blemish marks and even out skin tone for a brighter and smoother skin.

Pigmentation

Pigmentation disorders like hyper pigmentation (production of excess melanin) and hypo pigmentation (lack of melanin) can cause uneven skin tone and dark spots, affecting confidence and self-esteem, and can also make the skin look older than it is. They can be triggered by exposure to the sun, hormonal changes, inflammation or injury to the skin.

Treatment

Ingredients like hydroquinone, kojic acid, retinoids and vitamin C in topical creams can help lighten dark spots and even out skin tone. Medium to deep chemical peels containing ingredients like glycolic acid, trichloro-acetic acid (TCA) or salicylic acid can treat hyper pigmentation by promoting skin exfoliation and regeneration.

Aesthetic Procedures

  • Radio-frequency micro needling combines the benefits of micro needling and radio-frequency energy to improve skin texture and reduce pigmentation irregularities.
  • Cryosurgery can be used to target and destroy hyper pigmented areas of skin by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.
  • Various laser therapies can be effective in the treatment of pigmentation. Q-switched lasers and fractional lasers target melanin pigments in the skin and break them down, leading to a more even complexion. BBL laser, which we have already seen is helpful in the treatment of rosacea and acne, can also be used totreat pigmentation issues. The HALO laser is a type of fractional laser technology used for skin resurfacing and rejuvenation. This treatment is a good option if you want to improve skin texture issues and target the skin’s deeper layers. It is used to treat wrinkles, fine lines, sun damage, uneven skin tone and texture irregularities.

Products

  • pHformula TXN serum reduces highly pigmented spots, refines the skin’s tone, brightness and radiance, diminishes sallowness and minimises fine lines and wrinkles. By boosting the firmness of the skin, it improves its quality and texture, leading to a plump and hydrated appearance.
  • Neostrata Enlighten 15% Vitamin C + PHA Serum, with green tea extract, brightens skin tone.
  • NUXE Nuxuriance Ultra Alfa [3R] Anti Dark Spot Serum, with Vitamin C, reduces the appearance of dark spots.
  • GloPotion has a range of niacinamide, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serums that hydrate and brighten the skin.
  • SKNLogic Diminish Day, with bearberry extract as a key ingredient, reduces melanin and lightens spots and dark areas. Its pigment- regulating ingredients treat hyper pigmentation and uneven skin tone while protecting the skin from free radicals.

If you suffer from any of these difficult skin conditions, now is the time to consult your aesthetic practitioner or dermatologist to devise a plan of action for treatment that will result in clear, fresh skin.

Let’s make good use of the indoor-bound lifestyle in winter and emerge like transformed butterflies when spring arrives!