The spring skin paradox

Spring has sprung! It’s the season we have all been waiting patiently for. Winter has let go its grip, nights are warmer and we begin to look forward to wearing one layer of clothing throughout the day.

But spring is not all a bed of proverbial fresh sweet-smelling roses. It’s the season also of our commensurate allergies. In terms of humidity and temperature alone, Gauteng experiences three seasons: A damp hot season (November to April), a dry cold season (May to August) and a dry hot season (September to November). Right now the dry hot season is fast approaching! This is the season of dust, dry grass, yellow landscapes, veld-fires, cloudless skies… and allergies.

Notwithstanding the usual array of potential allergens such as soaps, disinfectants and preservatives (amongst others) whose effects may be exacerbated by hot dry conditions, there are some offenders that are more specific to the seasonal change itself, and include: increased sunshine, plant pollens, grass spores and various tree species amongst others. Allergens cause the body to release chemicals called histamines which can lead to various types of inflammation resulting in watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose. An itchy and sometimes enflamed skin is also a common allergic reaction. So here in Gauteng we have the unenviable combination of dryness and allergen-prone conditions. People with sensitive dry skin types should take great care of their skin during this season. This includes the subset of eczema sufferers who may experience outbreaks during this seasonal change due to immune hypersensitivity to allergens.

How can we keep our skin healthy and normal during the dry hot season?

A few tips may come in handy:

•Use a sunscreen with an adequate SPF factor, especially as you start to peel those extra layers of clothing off.

•Drink lots of water. Work with seasonal change – increase the amount of water you consume on a daily basis. By and large, the skin has the means to naturally stay hydrated as long as internal hydration is maintained. 

•Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Dry skin types especially need a richer moisturiser than naturally oily skin types. Use a product with high oil to water ratio, or a pure plant oil blend.

There are many excellent natural ingredients that moisturise the skin deeply and effectively. One of the better known is Shea butter which not only moisturises by replenishing the cell membrane, but also has anti-inflammatory properties. Jojoba wax is another excellent natural moisturiser and has properties very similar to our naturally-produced skin oil called sebum. It has the added affect of providing a film over the skin surface that helps to prevent water loss. Many plant oils also have high anti-oxidant activity, which helps to combat the aging effects of the sun, and for those who wish to slow down free radical-induced aging, a serum or moisturiser rich in antioxidants should be sought.

The reNu product range includes moisturising plant oils, natural anti-infectives, natural anti-inflammatories and powerful anti-oxidants. Keep one or more handy and stay hydrated, happy and healthy during spring!