A well-preserved skin barrier is essential for your skin’s overall health and vitality, but this can be particularly difficult to maintain when the harsh winter weather sets in.
If you find your skin drier and prone to irritation of late, celebrity skincare expert Eavanna Breen has everything you need to know to troubleshoot these concerns.
“Colder, dry air pulls the moisture from our skin, upsetting the natural balance between oil and water. When these two are balanced, your skin will function well. However, when these levels are skewed, your skin’s barrier is weakened, wreaking havoc on your skin.
“Getting the correct dose of both moisture and lipids onto your skin and avoiding under or over-treating your skin is essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier. Ultimately having a healthy skin barrier is paramount to how good your skin looks,” Breen says.
Responsible for the skincare routines of Holly Carpenter, Samantha Muma, Thalia Heffernan and Greg O’Shea, Breen is recognised for her innovative approach to skincare and genuine desire to help each client achieve their individual skin goals.
Now the founder and clinical director of her namesake skin and laser clinic on Leeson Street in Dublin 2, Breen’s knowledge spans almost 30 years of being at the forefront of the Irish skincare and beauty scene, having trained with skincare houses like Environ, Dermalogica, and Darphin.
Here, Breen gives Irish Tatler an insider’s guide to how we can keep our skin glowing and healthy this winter season in six accessible steps.
1. Gentle cleansing
“Opt for mild, hydrating cleansers that won’t strip away your skin’s natural oils. Consider occasional gentle exfoliation using chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to remove dead skin cells without physical abrasion,” Breen says.
Breen’s recommended product: Skinmade Clean and Clear Cleanser (€40). Why? “Oil cleansers are best for adding that bit more moisturise, this one combines the concentration of the three main oils: castor, jojoba and olive oil.”
2. Intense hydration
Incorporating hydrating facial masks or deep moisturising treatments will provide an extra boost of hydration to your skin, Breen explains. “Choose moisturisers and serums with ceramides and fatty acids, to support the skin barrier and enhance its resilience.”
This is especially important given recent findings from the Irish Dermatology Foundation which point to over 60 per cent of the Irish population experiencing dry skin issues during the colder months.
Breen’s recommended product: SkinBetter Science Trio Rebalancing Moisturiser (€161). “This is a high-performing, triple-action formula that delivers heavy hydration without the weight,” she adds.
3. Regular application of serums
Integrating serums rich in panthenol, antioxidants, and skin-replenishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid will strengthen the skin barrier, decrease transepidermal water loss, and hydrate the skin.
Breen’s recommended product: Breen launched her own Intensive Hyaluronic Acid Serum (€70) earlier this year, which gives the skin a sudden moisture boost while improving its long-term hydration over time.
4. Sun protection
Even in winter, UV rays can damage the skin barrier. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, especially on exposed areas like the face and hands, Breen says.
Breen’s recommended product: AlumierMD Hydrating Spf 40 (€54.50) is a “silky and sheer spf that provides powerful broad spectrum protection against UV rays,” Breen explains.
5. Increase your intake of antioxidants
Absorbing antioxidants can hugely help protect your skin from UV damage, all year long. Foods that are rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids, such as lycopene, could improve your skin’s protection against UV rays, Breen explains.
“The best sources of carotenoids are carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, spinach, squash, broccoli, mangos, apricots, kale, peas, tomatoes and melon. Vitamin E is contained in vegetable oils, almonds and nuts also helps to protect us from the sun, which contrary to what you might think, is just as important in the winter.”
6. Professional treatments
Consider professional treatments in a highly-reputable skin clinic. Expert treatments that focus on skin hydration and repairing the skin barrier include hyaluronic acid-based dermal boosters, mesotherapy or profhilo, will hugely contribute to a healthy skin barrier and glowing skin this winter season.
“A healthy skin barrier contributes to a smooth, even complexion. The skin can appear dull, rough, or uneven when the barrier is compromised. A well-preserved skin barrier is essential for your skin’s overall health and vitality.
“It ensures that your skin functions optimally, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable, resilient, and attractive complexion..protecting your skin barrier is not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good too.”