Your skin's microclimate.
Written By Dr. Pooja Shah Talera
Image Source Haarkon
Microclimates in agriculture are the wonderful local interplays between factors such as landscape, soil temperature, air temperature, wind directions, soil moisture and air humidity that vary on a daily and seasonal basis. But thanks to technology, stable and optimal microclimates can be created in our kitchen garden that make plants less susceptible to harsh weather conditions and allow for a variety of local seasonal produce to grow well.
READ TIME: 4 minutes
I love analogies that help simplify the technicalities of science. So when my managing partner, who is also a farmer, talked about optimum microclimate for our kitchen garden and drew parallels to creating one for our skin, I immediately jumped on it.
Your microclimate is made up of:
- Landscape = Genetic makeup of your skin that determines how your skin behaves intrinsically. Unfortunately, you can’t change this.
- Soil temperature/ moisture = The internal environment that reflects on your skin - food, water, exercise, sleep, stress, hormones, chronic medical conditions. This is in your control and should be your primary focus.
- Wind, Humidity and Temperature = This includes the external environment that is beyond your control - seasons, pollution, nature and workplace.
When deciding your routine, these are the pillars of your skin’s microclimate that you need to look into.
HYDRATORS, EMOLLIENTS, OCCLUSIVES
Maintaining the Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF) and protecting the lipidic shield is key in preserving the barrier function of the skin. Hydrated skin is a hallmark for a healthy skin - improved elasticity, better collagen synthesis and optimal seboregulation The choice, be it through a serum or a moisturiser, depends on what your skin needs.
- Hydrators are humectants that draw water to the skin. A great example of this in the trending hyaluronic acid. Dehydrated skin does really well with this choice. But if your immediate surrounding is dry - may be lack of humidity or air conditioning, you need a mist as a layer pre/ post the humectant to prevent loss of water from deeper tissues.
- Emollients such as fatty acids enhance the lipid film, lock in the moisture and to an extent prevent trans epidermal water loss (TEWL). Some of them can be comedogenic, so choose wisely.
- Occlusives’ primary aim is to prevent TEWL. Many emollients have some occlusive property. Hence with fantastic hydrators and emollients available now, pure occlusives are only used when the skin is over exfoliated or the lipidic shield is damaged.
Inflammation, not visible to the naked eye, is a result from the environment - heat, ultraviolet radiation(UVR), pollution and sometimes from the skincare that you are using. Arnica, Alovera, Centella Asiatica these are your saviours, all year round!
Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules that are produced in the body naturally as a byproduct of metabolism, or by exposure to toxins in the environment such as smoke and UVR. In excess, these cause oxidative stress, a deleterious process damaging cellular DNA. Befriend antioxidants - they are your army against the “free radical theory of aging” - Vitamin A, C (Ascorbic acid), E (Tocopherol), B3 (Niacinamide), Ferulic Acid, Phoretin, Milk Thistle, CBD, Co-Q10 (Ubiquinone), Green Tea polyphenols, Resveratrol, Tertahydrocurcumin, the list is endless.
The chemical ones - AHA / BHA/ PHAs are the best housekeeping for your skin. These unclog pores, remove dead skin and retexture, which in turn helps absorption of everything you use above.
I hope you make edits to your skincare wardrobe not based on a season essential list that you read about, but rather on an understanding of your microclimate.