Combating the effects of the winter ‘chill’

As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops we are reminded that winter is upon us. Heat pumps and fires go on and winter ski passes are purchased in anticipation of this year’s snowy mountain fun.


This climatic change affects each individual quite differently, particularly in regards to the skin and how it performs during the cooler months. Some may find that much like the wardrobe requires alteration through this time so does the cosmetic regime especially for those who are exposed to quite drastic changes in temperature – coming in from icy winds and into toasty warm work places or homes. Certain skin types cope better in these situations such as a normal or oily skins but those with a compromised barrier function or lowered skin immunity often struggle to establish comfort and nourishment. 

The skin is the body’s shield, the first barrier between the body and the environment. Its role is to protect from internal water loss and from a variety of external aggressions such as UV, pollution and micro-organisms. This barrier is ensured primarily by the stratum corneum and a vital combination of lipids that form the intercellular cement that is required to control the passage of water through the skin and prevent unwanted free radicals and aggressions from entering and irritating.

Dry and sensitive skins usually have compromised protective functions. Physiologically, lipid secretions of these skin types do not function correctly due to either insufficient synthesis of lipids which may be genetically predisposed or a deterioration of these lipids due to environmental factors. In both cases, the barrier function is deficient, leading to excessive water loss and insufficient protection from climatic effects. If these skins are not appropriately treated, not only do they present as dry, uncomfortable, possibly sensitised and inflamed but they also age prematurely and become prone to diffused redness.

Winter weather affects skin condition in several ways – cold winter air lacks humidity and can dry the natural lipids present on and in the skin, this in turn will increase transepidermal water loss. Bitter cold wind exposure either for short or prolonged periods of time can also cause chapping and windburn. This can lead to dull, rough and even cracked skin that feels tight, sensitised, high in colour and generally uncomfortable. Coming indoors may seem to be the logical solution but  with increased heating systems during the winter months,  the air inside is drier too. 

There are two main elements to incorporate into a home care regime at this time of year to prevent the appearance and effects of a ‘winter skin’.


1. RECONSTITUTE the barrier function by restructuring the intercellular cement. Regulating the epidermal lipid flows will provide immediate and long term relief from barrier function issues. 


2. COMFORT provided through:

  • Immediate hydration (dry skin is dehydrated).
  • Nourishment (re-establish the HLF).
  • Formulation (textures of products/barrier creams). 
  • Anti-inflammatory agent (combats redness, stinging, itching).

The key then is to understand the condition of the skin, the conditions it is being subject to and the fundamental processes which have become compromised. From this information, the therapist can make an accurate diagnosis and plan on how to address these concerns. 

Utilise ingredients and technologies that offer not only immediate comfort to the skin but also target functions occurring in the skin such as barrier function, water and lipid flows, inflammation and the genes responsible for these characteristics. These gene expressions predispose certain skins to being more winter effected than others. 

Get down to a molecular level with product understanding, their ingredients and how they will re-educate the skin, nourish and heal it not only topically but from the inside out. 

Research and Development Facility SOREDEC uses a combination of gene science and cosmetology coupled with Sothys’ reputable Green Science practices to ensure that the results clients receive are not only environmentally friendly but within the realms of the most advanced skin care available on the market. With skin care lines specifically designed to target a lipid dry, water dry, sensitive and fragile capillary skin – there is a total solution for any winter effected skin both at work in a warm office and at play on the snowy slopes. 

Sourced article is from Gina Turner de Spa Cosmetics and SOREDEC (Society of Research and Development of Cosmetics) SOREDEC are a specialist R&D facility in the Southwest of France who formulate some of Europe’s leading professional skin care brand including Sothys.


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