What Does Central Heating Do To Your Skin?

central heating with pink wall

With the turn in temperature comes a dial-up of central heating in our workplaces, homes and social settings. As cosy as it feels, it’s not doing our skin any favours, with increased dehydration and dryness on the horizon.

But instead of simply enduring lacklustre skin, clinical aesthetician and co-founder of Mortar & Milk Pamela Marshall along with consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk, reveal that there are preventative measures you can take, as well as the ingredients to prioritise in your routine to help ward off the effects of central heating amidst a winter chill.

What are the effects of central heating on our skin?

As Marshall explains, central heating, much like air conditioning in the summer, draws moisture from the skin which causes the outer stratum corneum to become dry and irritated. “The change from central heating to being out in the cold, going from work to home, will also affect our capillary network, causing the capillaries to become dilated.” Dry skin can then exacerbate acne, rosacea and eczema, she adds.

While increased dryness is particularly prominent across our lips and hands, keep a close eye on your cheeks as according to Marshall, the apples of our cheeks and nose tend to become more sensitised and flushed, and the skin often becomes dry and irritated too.

What preventative steps can you take to keep help avoid irritation?

While we’re all well-versed in the age-old solution to maintaining hydration levels by drinking water, you can also take extra measures to ensure skin health throughout the temperamental temperatures inside and outside.

In environments like your home, where you can control the central heating, Dr Kluk recommends using a timer so your heating comes on for a couple of hours in the evening and switches off again until morning. Not only will this help with your bills, but it won’t aggravate your skin with excessive heat. If you’re in a particularly cold place and prefer to keep your heating on overnight, turn the thermostat down and aim for a temperature around 20 degrees Celsius, says Dr Kluk to minimise its impact on the skin.

“Avoid marathon sessions in the bath or shower and keep the water lukewarm,” says Dr Kluk, who advises something as simple as trapping humidity in the bathroom while you wash by keeping the door shut. To minimise the loss of moisture from your skin, pat your face and body dry with a soft towel and apply moisturiser while it’s still a little damp.

It’s also important to steer clear of known irritants in skin care products; fragrance being one of the worst offenders. Stick to unscented shower gels, and avoid foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) in your products too. Dr Kluk recommends an emollient soap as a substitute instead.

What ingredients should you introduce to your skincare?

As for the steps to take within your skincare routine, there are a handful of ingredients that will aid recovery of damage done by central heating and increase hydration levels.

Firstly, polyhydroxy acids (PHA’s) are the best at deeply hydrating the skin beyond the stratum corneum, as well as reducing inflammation says Marshall, who makes sure her patients in her clinic use it topically all year round too.

“Look to other known humectants too, such as glycerin, urea, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid,” says Dr Kluk, which will attract water to your skin and help boost hydration. “Occlusive ingredients such as lanolin or petrolatum will also create a seal to reduce transepidermal water loss,” she adds, commonly found in lip balms and will help keep dry, chapped lips at bay.

Don’t forget to consider your diet too. According to Marshall, taking omegas and essential fatty acids are essential as our inner skin is both hydrophilic and lipophilic, and needs water hydration as much as lipid hydration. And of course, continue to keep drinking water regularly.

Is It Time We Took Skin Issues More Seriously?

skin issues

Even if you count yourself lucky and rarely have to worry red patches on your cheeks or an ever-growing sun spot above your left brow, we’ve all woken up with a corker of a blemish that captures the gaze of anyone you encounter for the next three days. Those who have waged a war against skin issues, including rosacea and acne will be only too aware of the mental impact these can have over time. 

This week, the British Skin Foundation shared a survey that revealed that nine in 10 dermatologists believe that not enough importance is placed on the psychological impact skin conditions can have on us. “This survey demonstrates that dermatologists recognise some patients experience psychological distress associated with their skin condition,” says Dr Andrew Thompson, Reader in Clinical Psychology and Practitioner Clinical Psychologist, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

“It also indicates that whilst dermatology is making great advances in treating the medical aspects of skin disease, perhaps not enough is being done to address the accompanying psychological effects,” says Dr Thompson. In a world where we can disguise skin concerns with make-up or add a filter to a selfie some might assume that battling with a skin concern is less of an issue than it used to be. However, in the last few months, two writers have shared their experiences with rosacea and psoriasis and how they have impacted their confidence and mental health.

While Rose Gallagher might appear to be confident on her Instagram stories, she revealed that her rosacea still affects her mental health: “It still impacts how attractive I feel in myself, especially when it flares up.” On the other hand, Sophie Cullen struggled to have her psoriasis diagnosed.

This is not uncommon as Consultant Psychologist Dr Alexandra Mizara explains, “Skin patients often experience that they are not listened to or understood by their healthcare providers. The occasions that they are listened to and understood are rare and extraordinary.”

So, how can you seek out support, or help someone you know? “If you suffer with a skin condition that has impacted adversely on your life, talk openly about it to your doctor and ask them to refer you to see a psychologist,” says Dr Mizara. If you don’t get far with this, it is also worth seeking out skin disease wellbeing services in your area or talk-based therapies to help tackle any low mood or anxiety. Dr Mizara also recommends looking up charities and support groups.

For those looking for a natural remedy to help ease their skin issues, Clear Skin Complex by Viridian contains probiotics, zinc, selenium and burdock root to help soothe a range of conditions, including acne, eczema and psoriasis. While it won’t fix these concerns overnight, it does help support your body and ease inflammatory skin conditions. Shabir has written extensively about the supplement, here.

My Life With Rosacea And What I’ve Learnt So Far

my-life-with-rosacea-and-what-ive-learnt-so-far

My naturally rosy complexion is so normal to me that I’d never considered it a problem. Waking up to an angry, bumpy breakout or stepping out of a hot shower with a bright red face was just normal. It’s what I did every day and I’d never given it a second thought.

But I’ve been on a strange journey over the past year or so. I started sharing my rosacea online with make-up free photos and was amazed at the volume of messages I got (and still get!) from women saying “your skin looks like mine”, relieved that they can relate to me. I was also surprised by the amount of people who have messaged to say how brave I am for sharing something as trivial as a photo of my face before applying any make-up.

BUPA research suggests that 1 in 10 of us in the UK are living with rosacea. Yet, we’re constantly bombarded with perfect images on social media. Hence why my bare skin has become quite the controversial subject matter.

Last month I visited Dr. Stefanie Williams at Eudelo in South London and she diagnosed me with two different types of rosacea. There are four variations, which cause redness and flushing in the skin. My diagnosis is two-fold: one equates to bumpy skin flushes, and the other, a firm degree of redness even in a calm state. The main thing to note about rosacea is that a level of acceptance is needed; you’re always going to have it. However, there are steps you can take to managing it, and identifying what causes it to go bananas.

Initially, there is a lot of work you can do around identifying triggers within your lifestyle. When you document your skin alongside your habits, you’ll start to notice patterns. For me, spicy foods, sugary foods, wine, stress and extreme temperatures (hot or cold) are total redness triggers. But life is too short to cut the indulgences out, so really it’s about being clever.

Personally, I’ll avoid venturing out into the freezing cold for a bottle of wine and some chocolate cake the night before a special occasion. Lex from Talonted Lex blog has created a number of resources that you can download to effectively track and analyse your rosacea patterns.

Then there are the changes you can make to your beauty regime. For me, the first rule was the hardest: flannels are the devil. Any kind of abrasion to your skin can initiate the redness equivalent of World War Three, so removing make-up and cleansing your skin need to be simple and gentle – ideally with a cream cleanser like Cetaphil and your hands. Massage the formula into your skin gently to remove make-up and SPF, which you should be wearing every single day in as high a factor as possible. Your entire routine should ideally be fragrance-free and fuss-free.

Moving onto your make-up, nailing your coverage is key. For me, the ultimate remedy is the IT Cosmetics CC Cream, which gives a completely flawless finish but looks like you’re barely wearing anything because it has a dewy sheen. The right brush when applying will also do the work for you – work it in with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, taking circular motions all over and then patting product on to build cover in those extra-angry areas.

I’m on a journey with my skin and am still learning new tricks. It still impacts how attractive I feel in myself, especially when it flares up. When it comes to sharing make-up free photos with like-minded women in the name of challenging the perception of what we see as normal, I’m all for it. But sitting make-up free in front of a guy I am dating? At this point in time, it is something that is never going to happen.

For now managing my triggers and taking pride in my make-up is a confidence boost, and in time I hope I will grow to love what is an everyday part of my appearance.

Follow Rose’s journey on Instagram @mixedgemsbeauty. For more help and advice with dealing with rosacea, read Shabir’s guide: Rosacea Uncovered.

Everything You Need to Know About LED Light Therapy

One yellow light bulb standing out against 5 other pink light bulbs

Light-emitting diode therapy (or LED for short) is nothing new. Having long been used in professional treatments, the benefits of LED for acne-prone, rosacea-ridden, discoloured, dull and ageing skin come with regular use. While this might deliver great results, it has previously been a costly and time-consuming approach in the pursuit for healthy skin.

And thus, the emergence of at-home skincare devices, led by LED treatments in the form of targeted on-the-spot gadgets and full face masks, are becoming popular for consumers who want to maintain the results of in-clinic treatments and the efficacy of carefully curated skincare routines. According to global market researcher Mintel, 41% of beauty consumers use skincare devices to prolong the effects of professional treatments. With better access to information, technological advancements and more transparency from brands, high-performance products are no longer exclusively available in costly facials and specialist clinics. Plus, LED light treatments are the most pain-free facial you can have, with no tingling, side effects or downtime needed. What more could you want?

Here are all your questions about LED light therapy answered:

What are the benefits of LED for the skin?

“LED light emits therapeutic wavelengths of light energy to energise cells,” explains Laura Ferguson and Hannah Measures, co-founders of The Light Salon. In doing so, the light energy stimulates the production of collagen, elastin and antioxidants while improving blood and lymphatic circulation. It’s a treatment that is suitable for all skin types and is designed to be used after cleansing and exfoliating, followed by your serums and moisturiser.

How many different types of LED lights are there and what is the difference between them?

“Different light spectrum penetrates the skin in different depths and has different effects. Red and blue LED light therapy combat numerous issues, including but not limited to, dullness, fine lines and wrinkles, inflammation, redness and swelling. They replenish dermal and epidermal cells, stimulate the natural production of collagen and elastin and speed up the recovery process,” explains Dr Dennis Gross, dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Dermatology.

Near-infrared light is another option, suiting inflamed skin best as it stimulates the skin’s healing and regeneration process by delivering nutrients and oxygen to problem areas, leaving you with strengthened and brightened skin. If acne is a concern, Ferguson and Measures recommend red light as it has an antiseptic effect on blemishes and reduces inflammation and painful swelling within the spot to help speed up the healing of the area. Impressively, when used together near-infrared and red light are clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

What’s the difference between an LED treatment in a clinic and an at home device?

At-home devices don’t have the power of the professional machines used in LED light therapy treatments, but Ferguson and Measures explain that if you use an LED light mask three times a week over a four week period, it delivers the equivalent cumulative dose of light as one salon treatment, if you went once a week for the same period. “Results are instant and long-term and because LED light therapy works on a cellular level, so you leave with a glow, which becomes more pronounced with each treatment. Think of it in terms of a workout – going once is better than not going at all, but if you make an effort to stick to regular sessions, you’ll get great cumulative benefits.”

How To Find The Right Liquid Exfoliator For Your Skin

Garden of Wisdom

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two years, you will have noticed a sharp increase in the amount of acid-based skincare products hitting the shelves. While scrubs might have been the tried and tested method of sloughing away dead skin a few years back, now it is all about the liquid exfoliator. So much so, Pinterest has seen a 58% increase in searches for liquid exfoliators. Read More…

Azelaic Acid: Why You Should Be Using It

Azelaic Acid

Yes, there has been a lot of chatter about acids over the past year or so, and yes, there always seems to be a new one that you should be using. But, Azelaic Acid genuinely should be on your radar regardless of your skin type or concern because it has an impressive skill set and helps to soothe and smooth skin. Read More…