Shani Darden and Dyson scientists weigh in on how to manage dry skin during the Polar Vortex
Dyson Associate Principal Scientist Naomi Simpson and celebrity aesthetician Shani Darden weigh in on how to mitigate the effects of dry weather by using the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool and other unique skin care products.
The 2021 Polar Vortex will bring negative temperatures with the potential to have an equally negative impact on people’s skin. Dry weather can cause flare ups of existing skin conditions like Psoriasis and make it uncomfortable to wear masks or makeup. Dyson Associate Principal Scientist Naomi Simpson and celebrity aesthetician Shani Darden explain how our skin changes with the seasons and offer tips for how to manage dry skin
How should we expect our skin to change during the winter months, especially with factors such as the upcoming Polar Vortex and spending more time at home?
Shani: In the cold winter months, humidity levels are often lower. The dry air can cause your skin to feel parched and appear dull. It can exacerbate skin issues like Eczema.
Naomi: When exposed to cold and dry air, your skin loses water which in turn can compromise the skin barrier. In extreme cases, or where people have underlying skin conditions (such as Eczema or Psoriasis), this can cause a flare up and even lead to skin cracking. When this happens, the crack creates a route for potential allergens or pollutants to seep in and cause even further inflammation.
What are your watch-outs and things to consider when caring for our skin during this time?
Shani: One thing I always recommend during winter is to make sure you’re still exfoliating your skin. If you’re not removing the dead skin on the surface, your hydrating and treatment products won’t be able to properly absorb. Another thing to keep in mind is that if your skin is dry and irritated, it’s best to hold on active ingredients and focus on your hydrating, nourishing products instead to allow your skin time to heal. Look for ingredients like ceramides, peptides and hyaluronic acid which can help to repair the barrier, hydrate and plump up the skin.
Naomi: Right. And to build on that, our skin care products could also be going to waste if you’re not regulating the air inside your home by using an air purifier, humidifier or both. Especially during dry winter seasons when we’re cooped up inside more than ever, indoor air quality has a massive impact on skin. Skin care products are effective and very useful, but something to consider is that many of these products aim to solve a problem that’s already occurring. If you take preventative measures to protect your environment, you can ideally avoid getting to that super dry skin problem in the first place.
Are there ways we can prep our homes with skin care in mind and the dry weather coming our way?
Shani: Sleeping with the Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool in your bedroom can help to keep the air at the ideal humidity level so the dry air isn’t causing your skin to become more parched.
Naomi: Beyond just winter, we actually spend about 90% of our lifetime indoors, and there’s all sorts of air pollution going on inside that we don’t really think about. For example, every time we cook, the oven gives off fumes. Air pollution really is a massive issue that impacts everyone on every level, so Shani’s right that Pure Humidify+Cool really can help alleviate some of those environmental factors we’re facing. It captures 99.97% of air pollutants as small as 0.3 microns in your home and uses a UV-C light to kill waterborne bacteria. This, coupled with a biostatic silver-threaded evaporator, kills 99.9% of bacteria in water, delivering hygienically humidified and purified air to your home.
What are your must-have skin care products for dry skin and skin that is sensitive to dry weather?
Shani: It’s important to make sure you’re using a gentle cleanser that is effective yet isn’t going to strip the skin. My Cleansing Serum contains glycerin which is a powerful humectant that will draw moisture from the air to your skin. It also contains Oat Bran Extract which can help to repair the skin’s barrier, preventing moisture loss. iS Clinical’s Hydra-Cool is a great hyaluronic acid serum that will help to hydrate skin, but it also contains menthol which can help to calm redness. For deeper hydration, I love Dr. Nigma’s Serum No 1. iS Clinical’s Reparative Moisture Emulsion is great for someone who needs a deeper moisturizer that is still lightweight enough it won’t cause congestion in the skin.
It’s still important to exfoliate dry and sensitive skin, you just may not be able to do it very often. Cleansing with a piece of cotton gauze can help to gently buff away dead skin on the surface without irritating it further with a chemical or physical exfoliant. Another great option for exfoliation is to use a cleansing device such as the Nion Opus Luxe. The gentle silicone bristles will help to remove dead skin on the surface without irritation. As a bonus, the bristles are anti-bacterial!
A non-traditional skin care product I like to recommend is a humidifier, like the Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool. It helps to keep the air clean and at the perfect humidity, which allows your skin to stay more hydrated and comfortable overnight and throughout the day.
Are there skin care products or steps one should avoid during extremely cold and dry weather?
Shani: I don’t necessarily think you have to avoid certain ingredients. You may just need to adjust how often you’re using them. A powerful, effective product you used five nights a week in the spring and summer can maybe be used only two nights a week in the colder months.
Naomi: Totally agree. As we mentioned earlier, in extremely cold and dry weather your skin barrier may be compromised, so it can make it more likely to react to ingredients that it normally tolerates well.
Some people may argue that SPF is less important in the winter months since we’re spending less time outdoors. Do you agree or disagree, and why or why not? What is an easy way to incorporate “outdoor” products, such as those with SPF, into our routines when we are spending so much more time indoors?
Shani: Wearing sunscreen every single day is the most important thing you can do for your skin to keep it healthy and glowing. Even if you’re inside all day, UV light can still pass through your windows so it’s essential to keep your skin protected. I love to use a hydrating sunscreen that doubles as my daily moisturizer to keep my routine simple yet effective! Find one that you love so you’ll stick with it and wear it every day.
Naomi: As Shani says, though you may think of UV exposure as only an outdoor or summer occurrence, that’s not the case, so sunscreen is a skin essential all year round.
For those who suffer from Psoriasis or other skin sensitivities, what skin care solutions would you offer during the Polar Vortex?
Shani: For anyone dealing with Psoriasis or other skin issues that cause sensitive, red, irritated skin, using a humidifier, especially in the winter, can be very beneficial. The Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool is certified by the National Psoriasis Foundation and is great because not only does it humidify, it also purifies the mist with a UVC light!
Naomi: That’s right. In the US alone, more than 8 million people live with Psoriasis. We were so honored when the NPF certified Pure Humidify+Cool, because this is the first machine of its kind to receive this recognition. Engineering machines that have an actual impact on peoples’ well-being makes us really proud of what we do here at Dyson.
“Maskne” has been a huge skin concern for people since the pandemic began. How can people continue to battle acne with products that are good for drying out these breakouts, like salicylic acid for example, and still keep their skin supple during the dry weather?
Shani: Using a retinol serum and alternating nights with a chemical exfoliant that contains salicylic acid can help to minimize congestion, leading to smoother skin and less breakouts.
If you’re prone to congestion, stick to an oil-free moisturizer. The oils of heavier moisturizers along with sweat can lead to congestion and breakouts, so it is best to stick to a lightweight formula.
Naomi: It’s so important to change and wash your face masks frequently. Your face mask is acting as a filter, so when it’s been used for a few hours it has a lot of particulate matter caught in the fibers. This not only makes the mask less effective, but the matter is also right next to your skin, potentially irritating it.
What are your top tips for tweaking skin care routines between seasons?
Shani: If you’re using all of the right products for your skin type, you typically shouldn’t need to switch up your routine too much. In the summer, you may need a lighter moisturizer. In the winter, you can add in a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum to draw moisture to your skin and help it hold on to it. I also think using an air purifier/humidifier year-round helps by keeping the air in your house clean and comfortable which will help your skin stay balanced and glowing.
What are some surprising ways quarantine and wearing masks has changed our skin, and what are your tips for counterbalancing the negative impacts from these environmental changes?
Shani: One of the biggest things I’ve seen is that people are experiencing more breakouts than normal. Wearing masks traps sweat which makes for the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Another interesting thing I’ve heard and have personally been experiencing, is that the heat underneath your mask can exacerbate melasma. Also, wearing masks leads to touching your face more frequently which transfers bacteria. I tell my clients to try to keep the skin underneath the mask as clean as possible and skip foundation since most of your face is covered.
Should people use air purifiers and humidifiers in every season to support healthy skin? Why?
Naomi: Yes, definitely. As mentioned previously, we spend 90% of our lives indoors – no matter the season. If we are exposed to bad air quality for the entire time we’re inside, we’re increasing the exposure of our skin to these pollutants. There is a lot of research out there that shows the impact of pollution leads to various changes in the skin, which have been linked to accelerated skin aging. In skin care, there are some things we can’t control – like genetics – but we can control the environment in which we live.
Shani: I always recommend using an air purifier/humidifier year-round if possible. I personally do because of my allergies and to keep my skin healthy. Everyone can benefit from cleaner, perfectly humidified air! It’s even more beneficial in large cities like LA where the air is so much more compromised by pollution. The free radicals from pollution can speed up skin aging, so it’s important to offset that as much as possible. It just also gives so much peace of mind to know the air in your house is clean.