Dry, Itchy Skin in Winter: What’s Causing it and How to Repair Your Skin’s Protective Barrier

What’s causing your dry, sensitive and itchy skin in winter? We all know our skins need a little bit of extra TLC in the colder months. Our skins become more sensitised and prone to drying out, flaking and often feeling itchy – sometimes even becoming red, inflamed and, in severe cases, prone to cracking.

But why and what’s really happening inside your skin when the temperature drops outside?

 

WHY WINTER EXACERBATES DRYNESS AND SENSITIVITY

Winter and autumn are a bad recipe for dry and itchy skin. That’s because cold air causes a slow down in the blood circulation and the production of your skin’s natural oils, leading to dryness. This is made worse by a drop in humidity during the cold months. The drier air literally saps what little moisture remains in your skin, dramatically ramping up the dryness factor.

To make matters worse, almost everything we do to get a little bit of reprieve from the icy weather only adds to the problem.

Aircons and heating dry out the air even more, accelerating your skin dryness. The sudden temperature changes of going from the cold outdoors to toasty indoors expand and retract the tiny veins in your skin, causing and redness. Hot baths and showers strip away the skin’s protective moisture barrier (more on that one later), leaving you even more exposed.

 

IS IT BARRIER DAMAGE?

So, what gives? The truth is that dryness is usually not isolated or random. If your skin feels dehydrated and sensitive, or if you have itchy skin, it almost always points to damage in the skin’s protective moisture barrier. In fact, we did a post just the other day citing dry and itchy skin as one of the main symptoms of a damaged skin barrier.

Knowing that it’s probably barrier damage, let’s take a closer look inside your skin and how it functions to find a proper solution to dryness and winter itching.

 

THE SKIN’S PROTECTIVE MOISTURE BARRIER

Your skin barrier is your body’s first line of defence against all external factors: impurities and toxins, bacteria, harsh temperatures – everything you come into contact with day to day. And it’s made up of skin cells called corneocytes in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of cells in your skin), suspended in and connected together by waxy natural oils called lipids, more particularly ceramides (known as the lipid bilayer).

You might have heard the “brick wall” analogy for describing the skin barrier before. Like a wall, your corneocytes (the bricks) together with the ceramides in the lipid bilayer (the mortar that holds the bricks together) form a protective barrier that keeps the bad stuff out and locks the moisture inside your skin. That’s why we say it’s so vital to have a healthy, functioning skin barrier.

If anything damages either the bricks or the mortar in this analogy, the wall crumbles. It’s the same with your skin. If cold air inhibits the production of natural oils (ceramides) and the temperature changes and hot showers strip that layer away, your corneocytes are left exposed (like bricks without mortar) and your skin’s moisture continuously escapes your body through the “gaps” that are left in your skin’s moisture barrier. And this leaves the skin feeling dry, tight and sensitive – giving the feeling of itchy skin in winter.

 

WHY APPLYING MOISTURISER DOESN’T ACTUALLY WORK

Ever find yourself continuously applying and reapplying moisturiser when your skin feels dry and sensitive? That’s because the moisture only works for a short while. With barrier damage, moisture starts escaping your skin almost immediately after you’ve applied it.

Yes, replenishing the lost moisture is important, but it’s not a long-term solution. What you need to get real relief from dry and itchy winter skin is to restore the skin barrier first. And that means replacing the specialised ceramides in your stratum corneum.

 

LAMELLE SERRA REPAIRS BY REPLENISHING LOST CERAMIDES

 

Lamelle Research Laboratories’ Serra is different from all other winter skin products in that it’s an entire range that’s specifically designed to restore the skin barrier while hydrating, soothing and bringing relief from dryness, itching and irritation.

The secret is patented ceramide-P, a specially designed new type of ceramide that’s made in a laboratory to be 100% compatible with your skin. So that your body recognises it and employs it to rebuild your skin barrier. The ceramide-P in Serra acts by mimicking your lipid bilayer, filling in the gaps between your corneocytes, creating a temporary new skin barrier structure that protects you from what’s outside, locking moisture in and allowing your body to naturally start repairing your skin’s protective barrier over time.

Serra contains no fragrances, colourants, preservatives or parabens, and significantly improves dryness, itching, sensitivity and atopic dermatitis while calming and soothing your skin’s inflammatory responses. And the range includes two creams, a cleanser, mask and advanced new body lotion to offer a complete barrier-restoring solution.

If you suffer from dry, sensitive and itchy skin, speak to your doctor or therapist today about including Serra in your home-care routine.

You might also be interested in these professional treatments for dry and sensitive skin.

 

Plus, see how Dermaheal prevents ageing by reintroducing youthful skin elements your body hasn’t seen since childhood. And see what every man needs to know about daily skincare.

 

Still want more? Read up on our Serra Product Range

Serra Range