Winter weather is not always kind to our skin. Despite the effort to keep warm and protected, our face is the first part of the body to be exposed to the outside elements. Constant exposure to extreme low temperatures, cold wind, rain and dry heat in the house cause skin to become dry, dehydrated, itchy and RED. There are several different conditions that will make the skin appear red and feel sensitive. Rosacea, Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis are among the most prevalent. These are traditionally diagnosed by a Physician.

However, the most common condition associated with winter climate is Impaired Barrier Function. This is a disruption of the most outer layer of the skin made up of dead cells and lipids, whose main function is to protect the skin from the outside elements. Harsh climates, over-use of aggressive topical products, excess exfoliation and products that contains perfumes/fragrance and preservatives are the leading causes of an Impaired Barrier Function. Improper function, or damage to this protective layer, will result  in moisture loss, irritation, redness and hypersensitivity.

Fortunately, this condition is easily treated by customized, professional facial treatments that restore moisture and prolong hydration. These treatments, along with proper use of the right at-home skin care, are the most effective and powerful remedies for Impaired Barrier Function at your disposal.

Here are some great guidelines that will help you maintain a Healthy Barrier Function.

A Proper Skin Cleanse

Facial WashFor those wearing makeup, a double cleanse at night with a PH balanced cleanser is essential. A PH balanced cleanser will not leave your skin feeling tight and dry.
*Cleansing wipes do not count as a thorough cleanse…sorry.



pictured: PCA Skin® Facial Wash with lactic acid, aloe and willow bark leaves you hydrated, soothed and PH balanced.



Avoid Hot Showers

You do not need to make soup in the shower.
Hot showers strip the skin of natural oils and can exacerbate itchiness. On the same note, there is no benefit to the skin barrier with a cool or cold rinse, either. Stick with a soothing, warm shower to relax or re-energize.

Do Not Over Exfoliate

Limit your exfoliating products (manual scrubs, enzyme masks, brushes, etc…) to twice a week.

Your Morning Routine

Your morning routine should be simple, but effective. Cleanse once and use one, or a combination of, serums (also known as a cocktail.) Yes, it is never too early in the day for a cocktail..minus the guilt and brimming with benefits.

DO USE a hydrating mask at home twice a week, preferably after exfoliation. The rule is: If you take something off ( exfoliating dead cells, lipids) you have to put something back (hydrating, calming ingredients.)

pictured above: PCA Skin® Pore Refining Treatment is a blend of clay, mandelic acid, enzymes, pumice and rice powder to exfoliate and purify. PCA Skin® Hydrating Mask hydrates, soothes and improves skin barrier with added calming agents to reduce irritation.


DO USE a high performance moisturizer at night when your skin is healing and recovering.






pictured above: PCA Skin® HydraLuxe offers improved moisture retention and skin barrier function for long-lasting hydration.


ALWAYS use a broad spectrum SPF moisturizer. Unless you are living in a cave, SPF 30 or higher is a must to protect and prevent damage to the skin. Remember this: It is easier to prevent damage than repair damage!

Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45





pictured above: PCA Skin® Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45 protects from both UVA and UVB rays with ubiquinone for extra antioxidant protection.


And, last but not least, book a facial treatment at your favorite spa to kick start your skin’s healing process. Follow these simple guidelines of tender loving care and your skin is going to love you back!


Emilia Stanciu
Esthetician, CIDESCO Diplomate
Joseph Michael’s Salon and Spa
1313 N Ritchie Court