The days are darker, the temperature has dropped and, let's face it, things aren't going to warm up anytime soon. Winter is well and truly upon us, and with it, a host of weather-dependent skin issues arise.
Winter plays a cruel game with our skin. The natural moisture on your skin makes your face icy cold, but you need that extra moisture for when you’re inside and the heating is drying skin out!
From dry skin and chapped lips, to lacklustre tone and face mask induced breakouts, there's an array of skin problems that crop up periodically without adequate prep and care. Luckily, with a few minor tweaks to your existing regime, involving products you already have, it's easy to ward off unwanted skin problems and keep your complexion glowing and healthy all season long.
Here are some useful winter skincare tips to see you through the cooler months...
Keep Moisture In The Air
Our skin is the barrier that keeps water inside of your body, so when it is dry and cold, water evaporates off of the surface faster and easier. To prevent dryness, i recommended using a humidifier. Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture back into your home, especially if you’re prone to blasting the heat up! I love to add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to my humidifier which brings a breath of freshness to the air.
Avoid Hot Showers And Baths
In the winter months, taking hot showers and not moisturising can create cracks in the surface of the skin. Hot water evaporates fast, and if the skin is not immediately moisturised, the cracks in the skin let the skin nerves get exposed to air, resulting in what feels like lots of paper cuts and eczema, or 'winter’s itch'.
I know it sounds like common sense, but when the weather is cold, the thing we want to do is come home after a long walk and take a hot shower or bath - noting that water that’s too hot actually dehydrates our skin.
If you do indulge in a hot shower or bath, keep your bathroom door closed if possible, and after you dry, moisturiser. I also recommended looking for body products with ceramides as well as hyaluronic acid, to keep the barrier of your skin from losing a lot of water.
Check the Temperature
It may be tempting to take a long, steamy shower, but your skin will be much better-served with a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath). You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands — if the water causes your skin to turn red, it’s too hot.
Washing your hands in cooler water appears to be as effective at removing germs as warm water and is less irritating to skin. And if you're using a restroom air hand-dryer, use it just until your hands are damp rather than perfectly dry and then pop on a hydrating hand cream to prevent further dryness and skin breakage.
You still need SPF
Just because it is winter, it doesn’t mean you should put away your suncream. Whilst there is less UVB around in winter, levels of UVA (or UV-ageing as it is known in the aesthetic and dermatology world) are still significant enough to age our skin.
I advocate a sunscreen like Heliocare or IS Clinical Extreme Protect, specifically with a high UVA rating all the year round if you want to protect your skin from its ageing effects. As UVB is the wavelength that stimulates vitamin D production, levels can drop in the winter months and if necessary we can supplement with oral vitamin D3.
Consider Professional Skin Treatments
Book In For a Facial or Laser Hair Removal
Winter is a great time of year for skin treatments. We always worry about peels and laser treatments in the summer months. With sun exposure before or after such procedures there is a higher risk of unwanted post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Autumn and winter therefore represents an opportunity.
Winter skin is often dull, so I recommend a professional facial about every three to four weeks. That’s how long it takes your skin to move through the full life cycle of skin cell growth so I often advise people to opt for The Signature Facial, Deep Clean Hydrafacial or The Ultimate in order to slough off dead skin and allow better absorption of active topical skincare. Regular facials will help to keep your skin clean, clear and hydrated whilst maximising your everyday skincare regime too.
Remember to Eat Right and Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can have many negative effects on your skin health. Drinking water is important for hydration, although some of our daily water intake also comes from our diet. Sometimes when skin is very dry, it can be helped by foods or supplements that contain omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content, making the produce section a great place to stock up on hydrating foods at the market.
Did you know: Water based soups and broths also count as your water intake!
Whether you're trying to get some extra hydration or you don't like drinking your water, it's beneficial to incorporate hydrating foods into your diet.
Here's a list of high water content foods which are easy to incorporate in to your meals -
Cucumber, 96% water. Cucumbers are made up of 96% water – that's the highest water content of any food
Tomatoes, 95% water. Tomatoes are made up of 95% water
Spinach, 93% water
Broccoli, 90% water
Brussel sprouts, 88% water
Oranges, 86% water
Apples, 85% water