Winter Skin Problems - Dry Sensitive Skin

Dr Philippa & Dr Nick Lowe

Cold winds and central heating can give dry and sensitive skin.

Do you have Sensitive Skin?

Causes of skin barrier damage includes environmental factors such as pollution, sun damage, and dry weather, over use of harsh skin care ingredients, soaps, detergents and over exfoliation.

There is often a weak skin barrier in people who have skin disease, such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. These get worse if the skin barrier is damaged.

In our clinic we estimate sensitive skin in about 50% of our patients. Some have these problems year round, but many have fluctuating skin dryness and sensitivity depending on external factors e.g. seasons etc. It is important also to look for allergic causes of skin sensitivity.

Skin dryness and sensitivity becomes worse as we age?

As we get older the skin barrier becomes weaker because our epidermal (outer) skin cells are less efficient at making the protective proteins and lipids that make the skin barrier. We become more prone to skin sensitivity and skin dryness.

The secret is prevention of further skin damage and repair of the damaged skin barrier with gentle moisturising lotions and emollient creams. Some skin soothing ingredients such as panthenol and niacinamide are helpful for sensitive skin suffers.