Winter Survival Guide 2023 : Protecting Your Skin Barrier from the Cold

Winter Survival Guide 2023 : Protecting Your Skin Barrier from the Cold

Ah, winter - the season of dry, flaky, and irritated skin with a perpetual feeling of chilly discomfort. But fortunately,  applying a few simple steps to protect your skin barrier from the harsh winter weather can help you emerge from hibernation, looking radiant and refreshed.


The Importance of Skin Barrier

The skin barrier is like a superhero, always there to protect you from all the harsh elements that the world throws your way. It's made up of an army of cells, oil, and sweat glands that work together to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. It's the first line of defense against dryness, irritation, and other skin conditions. Without it, your skin would be vulnerable to all sorts of nasties like toxins, pollutants, and bacteria. Unfortunately, the cold, dry air and harsh winds of winter can weaken the skin barrier, making it more vulnerable to damage. 



skin barrier diagram
Did you know your skin barrier has its own layer of protection?  It’s PROTEINS in your body.


Proteins and Their Role in Pro-aging: How to Keep Your Skin Strong and Youthful?

In addition to seasonal conditions,  aging plays a significant role in skin barriers. The skin barrier can become weakened and damaged over time, leading to a variety of skin problems. The skin naturally loses some of its elasticity and moisture, which can cause the skin barrier to become thinner and less effective at protecting the skin.

One of the main causes of age-related changes in the skin barrier is the decline in production of natural moisturizing factors (NMFs), which are substances that help to maintain the moisture balance in the skin. NMFs are produced by the skin cells, and their production decreases with age. As a result, the skin becomes drier and more prone to irritation and damage.

In addition to changes in NMF production, aging can also lead to a decline in other proteins, making the skin less elastic and more fragile, which can further damage the skin barrier.

  • Collagen: Collagen is a protein that provides structure and support to the skin. As we age, the production of collagen decreases, leading to wrinkles and a loss of elasticity in the skin.
  • Elastin: Like collagen, elastin is a protein that provides elasticity to the skin. As we age, the production of elastin decreases, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin.
  • Keratin: Keratin is a protein that is found in the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. It helps to protect the skin from damage and maintain its moisture balance. As we age, the production of keratin decreases, leading to dry, flaky skin.
  • MMPs: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are enzymes that break down collagen and elastin in the skin. As we age, the levels of MMPs increase, leading to a breakdown of the skin's support structure and contributing to the formation of wrinkles and sagging skin.

The iuno protocol has multiple actives in its formulations that specifically target these proteins and help strengthen your skin giving it the right nourishment it needs in every season.


Putting Out the Fire: How to Combat Winter Inflammation and Protect Your Skin Barrier

Inflammation in the skin barrier? More like inflamed-nation, am I right? Okay, maybe that joke was a little on the nose, but hear me out. Inflammation in the skin barrier can be a real pain, causing redness, swelling, and general misery.  Cold temperatures, wind, and dry air can exacerbate winter skin inflammation. These factors can weaken the skin barrier, making it more susceptible to irritation and damage.  But there's light at the end of the redness!  With a few simple steps, you too can reduce inflammation in your skin and reclaim your radiant, healthy glow. 

Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury or irritation. In the case of skin barrier health, inflammation can occur when the skin becomes damaged or irritated due to cold weather, dry air, or indoor heating. This inflammation can cause the skin to become red, swollen, and painful, and can lead to further damage to the skin barrier. However, inflammation is also a necessary part of the healing process, as it helps to signal the body to repair and regenerate damaged tissue. Therefore, while inflammation can be damaging to the skin barrier in the short term, it is also necessary for its long-term health and repair.


Key Diet Recommendations for a Stronger Skin Barrier

The role of diet in strengthening the skin barrier is often overlooked, but it's actually quite important! After all, the foods we eat play a major role in determining the health and appearance of our skin. For example, if you want to have strong, healthy skin, you should definitely avoid junk food. Not only does junk food lack the nutrients your skin needs to thrive, but it can also clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Instead, focus on eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.

But that's not all! In addition to eating a healthy diet, you should also make sure to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your skin moisturized and prevent it from becoming dry and flaky.

Pro tip : If you're feeling extra fancy, you can even add some cucumber slices to your water for an extra boost of hydration.

But can you do more? Yes! Incorporate the following micronutrients into your diet:

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage the skin's cells. It also plays a role in the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure and support to the skin.
  • Vitamin E is another antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from damage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce redness and irritation in the skin.
  • Zinc is a mineral that is involved in many different processes in the body, including wound healing and the production of collagen. It is also important for maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fatty acids important for maintaining the moisture balance in the skin, which is critical for maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier.

Overall, a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods can help to support healthy skin and enhance skin barrier function year round.


3 Key Lifestyle Recommendations for a Stronger Skin Barrier

  1. First, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize - your skin will thank you. 
  2. Then, avoid hot showers and opt for lukewarm water instead - trust me, your skin will thank you for this one too. 
  3. And finally, don't forget to protect your skin from the cold with a scarf, gloves, and a hat - not only will you look stylish, but your skin will thank you yet again. 

With these simple tips, you'll be well on your way to a skin barrier that's as strong as it is fabulous this winter and beyond. 

And hey, if all else fails, you can always just smother your face in avocado – it's good for your skin and it tastes delicious.


Author: Anu Thubagere, Ph.D., is a Bioengineer and Founder- CEO of iuno

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.