Winter Skin Care Tips
‘Tis the season for dry skin, chapped lips and breakouts; winter is here and it’s about to cause chaos for complexions everywhere. Hey, don’t get us wrong, we love cosy nights in and the festive spirit that this season brings; we just don’t like what it does to our skin. Who’s ever rejoiced in the fact they they’ve gone from sun-kissed to sallow in a matter of weeks? Luckily though, there are ways that you can banish dullness, dryness and breakouts over winter; all it takes is a little expert knowledge and everyday TLC.
Why Does Your Skin Suffer in Winter?
Cold weather and low humidity levels conspire to leave skin feeling tight and dehydrated as the dry air saps moisture from it. If left untreated, this causes the skin to crack and bleed (ever had a case of ‘split knuckles’ come winter? That’s why). If you’re prone to eczema or any other dry skin conditions, it’ll tend to flare up around this time of year as a result.
The lifestyle changes that we all make to accommodate the cooler climate plays a part too. The central heating in our homes and offices can cause skin to dry out. You see, artificial heat dries the air out, so moisture evaporates from our skin inside as well as out. What’s more, hurrying from the cool outdoors into centrally-heated buildings and vice versa causes capillaries in the face to contract and expand quickly, which can lead to broken veins and redness. That’s why it’s important to wrap up when you’re outdoors; you shouldn’t ramp up the temperature of your heating system as soon as you get inside – and you shouldn’t need to if you’re sufficiently snug before getting through the front door! Having said that, you need to remove hats and scarves as soon as you get inside. Layers covering your forehead and lower face can trap oil and encourage breakouts; wash your hats and scarves regularly to prevent oil and dirt from transferring onto your skin.
Finally, it’s usual to become exhausted over winter; there’s something about shorter days that can leave people feeling fed up with their routines across the board. Hectic schedules, tiredness and illness can cause people to skimp on their everyday skincare; make sure you continue to cleanse, tone and moisturise every day – and never sleep in your makeup (no matter how much fun you had at the office Christmas party!).
Our Top Winter Skin Care Tips
Okay, so judging from the above you’re probably feeling like you’ll be fighting a losing battle against the elements this season, right? Thankfully, there are a few ways that you – and your skin – can survive and thrive over winter. Reduce dryness, breakouts, chapping and redness, and achieve healthy, glowing skin all year round with these top tips.
This may seem obvious, but when it’s not blazing hot outside, many of us don’t drink enough water. Yes, it’s hugely important to moisturise the skin with creams, oils or serums, but water – which makes up 64% of our skin – is the key to proper hydration. Water plumps the skin, encourages collagen production and flushes toxins (including acne-causing ones) from our bodies. If you’re not drinking the recommended 2 litres of water (or 6-8 glasses) every day, your skin will appear dull. You’re also likely to increase the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
As Christmas approaches, it’s easy to get into some pretty bad habits food-wise. And whilst those mid-November mince pies taste good, sadly they’re not doing much for your winter skin (or hair!). The connection between gut and skin health is well-documented, though it’s easy to forget when faced with festive treats. Tackle dry skin by increasingly your daily intake of healthy fats; walnuts, avocados and olive oil are good sources. Remember to get your 5 a day throughout winter too; it’s the perfect time to stock up on seasonal veggies like sprouts, cabbages, winter squashes, carrots and sweet potatoes. Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, apples and kiwis are also readily available at this time of year.
Keep on top of your skincare routine (and tweak it if necessary)
Continue to cleanse twice a day; not only does it help to remove impurities such as dirt and excess oil – it also hydrates and prepares the skin for moisturisers, serums and masks. It may be that, come winter, you need a different cleanser from the one you use the rest of the year. If your skin gets especially dry, you should consider buying a moisturising cleanser to see you through; a control cleanser is a better option for oily skin types. When it comes to toning, avoid using alcohol-containing products, as these will dry your skin out further. Look out for organic beauty products that use natural ingredients instead. Continue to moisturise twice daily too; if you’re finding that it’s less effective as the cold weather creeps in, massage your moisturiser into your skin more thoroughly (for 30 seconds) to maximise its effects.
Don’t forget to exfoliate
When your skin feels dry, it’s normal to tackle this with a rich moisturising treatment. But if you’re not exfoliating too, you’re likely to breakout. Make sure you’re gently exfoliating the skin with a mild scrub or exfoliating sponge (experts recommend that you do this 2-3 times a week) to get rid of any build-up; a build-up of dead skin cells will clog your pores and cause blemishes.
Get a humidifier
This will maximise the amount of water in the air. Place it in the room where you spend the most time, like the bedroom or lounge. It may sound like a drastic move, but it’ll help to prevent your skin from drying out. In addition, try to keep your central heating at a low or moderate temperature, to stop the air from becoming too dry.
Protect your skin from UV rays
Although it may seem like the sun has well and truly vanished, you should be protecting your skin from harmful UV rays throughout the year – winter being no exception. Whilst there are fewer UVB (short wave ultraviolet) rays in winter, levels of UVA (long wave ultraviolet) – which penetrate the skin’s deepest layers – are still significant enough to cause damage during this time. Look out for moisturisers that contain SPF protection or dust a loose mineral sunscreen over your makeup before heading out.
Getting facials throughout the winter will help to maintain your skin’s summertime glow. Experts recommend that you book a facial treatment every 5-6 weeks, since this is how long it takes you to complete one full skin cycle. Over summer, you can get away with fewer treatments (depending on your skin type); come winter, you’ll benefit from monthly facials to tackle dullness and keep skin hydrated.