Winter hand protection begins in the fall
Your body is incredibly skilled at seasonal transitions— Queues it gets from shortening or lengthening days, what foods you are consuming, changes in temperatures and humidity are all signifiers it uses to regulate everything from your digestion to the condition of your skin.
As winter approaches, your skin is already starting to ramp up sebum production (which is a good thing!). So it’s super important to take care now, in early fall, while this is all taking place.
The paradox of hand-washing
During the fall and winter months, hand-washing reduces germs that spread disease.
Unfortunately this ‘good for you’ habit can actually de-stabilize your skin’s own protective barrier. Each time you wash with warm or hot water and soap, you strip your skin of the important lipid barrier it creates to protect you.
If you’re washing your hands many times a day and using hand sanitizer, you’re going to irritate your hands and they’ll get red, dry, flaky. In fact, too frequent hand washing can damage the lipid barrier and make it easier for pathogens to enter the body.
Some simple things that can keep your natural sebum intact:
Limit harsh soaps for hand washing and doing dishes
Limit long hot showers
Use gloves for frequent shampooing
After cleansing, use oils that mimic your skin’s sebum. We formulate with a balance of oils that feature jojoba— a seed oil that behaves the most like your skin’s own natural defences. Lighter oils are great to layer during the fall season while your skin is still stable.
If you notice a few days where your skin ‘falls behind’ and begins to get dry, using a thicker occlusive will help to seal in the body’s moisture while it catches up. But be careful– Using occlusives (and commercial moisturizers) too regularly can have negative effects. These products begin to perform the moisture barrier job so well that your skin stops doing it effectively on its own.
As you become more in tune with how your skin supports ‘winter you’— you’ll be more prepared each fall to help ease into this important transition. Maybe a great excuse to form new fall self care habits that sync up with your apple-picking, sweater-wearing and pumpkin-spicing!