Maintaining healthy and glowing skin in Winter can be tricky. Although wintry, sunny days can be charming and exhilarating, it’s cold, and freezing temperatures can be damaging, uncomfortable and utterly painful on your skin. The cold air soaks up the natural moisture from your skin, leaving it dry and itchy. It can even cause severe dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis. In addition, having the heating on at home to make it wonderfully cozy, or sitting by a roaring fire in the evenings, can dry out your skin by stripping it of its natural oils.
That’s why putting in place the right skincare in Winter is essential.
So what do you need to do to keep a radiant complexion this winter? In this blog, I will share with you the best ways to help your skin retain its natural moisture, combat dryness and give it a dewy, hydrated, just-got-back-from-the-Caribbean glow.
Keep it protected at all times with a high SPF
Sunscreen is just as important during Winter as it is in Summer because it shields your skin from harmful UV rays. They can permeate clouds and still damage your skin even in the darker, dreary wintry days. Make sure you apply a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen on a daily basis and cover your face, neck and hands.
If you are planning a ski holiday, double up the amount of sunscreen you use. Snow reflects the sun’s rays up to 80 percent, increasing your risk of exposure. If you are an avid skier and spend a great deal of time up on the slopes, reapply your sunscreen every two hours and immediately after heavy sweating. And don’t forget the spots that are easily missed such as the back of the neck, ears, lips, and under the chin!
Drinking enough water can be easily forgotten in Winter, especially when it’s really chilly outside. But this is the time when low humidity is most likely to strip your skin of its moisture.
Remembering to drink your water is therefore especially important in Winter. Particularly, if you have a dry skin type naturally, as it can help you hydrate you from the inside out.
You should aim to drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
Another great way to keep hydrated in Winter is by indulging in the comfort of warming herbal teas. Natural ginger, lemon and green tea is a wonderful way to maintain your skin hydration in Winter, while feeling healthy, hydrated and cozy at the same time.
Have short, warm (not hot) showers
The idea of soaking into a bubbly, hot bath or having a long, steamy shower is rather appealing when it’s really cold. However, long, hot baths and showers can damage your skin’s ability to keep moisture locked in. When the skin’s barrier function is compromised, we get trans-epidermal water loss, which makes the skin drier. A 10-minute lukewarm shower or bath will be a lot kinder to your skin. Be careful not to over-exfoliate in the Winter months too, as that can lead to further dryness and expose your delicate skin to the elements.
Adapt your facial skincare regime for the coldest months
You may need to replace your basic skincare products with a more gentle and moisturising option.
When it comes to your cleanser, opt for a cream-based product, without alcohol or any added fragrances as they will strip away the natural oils of your skin, making it dry and itchy.
After cleansing, and before moisturising, use a toner to help rebalance the skin’s natural acid mantle.
Finally apply a rich moisturiser on your face, ideally one well packed with ceramides (these are lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and help skin retain moisture) and containing hyaluronic acid (to attract water into the skin).
Protect the delicate skin of your lips
Your lips don’t have oil glands, so they’re always very vulnerable to the elements. Long exposure to the sun, wind, cold, and dry air can leave you with chapped lips, which can actually be quite painful.
Wintry weather conditions can, therefore, affect the health of your lips. To protect them, make sure they are sealed with an effective ointment at all times. Zinc oxide is a fantastic physical sunscreen and will help to reflect the UV away from the skin of your lips. Make sure you don’t leave the house with applying it and pop a travel-sized product in your handbag so you can re-apply throughout the day!
Treat yourself to professional skincare and chemical peels
Getting a personalised skincare regime in Winter, designed exclusively for you by a dermatologist or qualified aesthetic doctor, will prep and condition your skin to deal with wintry conditions and protect it from skin concerns such as premature ageing, acne, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.
One of my favourites is the Obagi Nu-Derm System skincare range. This little wonder provides you with all aspects of daily skin care, from cleanser to SPF protection, including prescription-only hydroquinone and retinoid treatments, perfect to target age spots, rough skin, erythema (redness), sallowness (yellowish complexion), and hyperpigmentation.
For the best results and to completely transform your skin appearance, you can add a chemical peel to your beauty regime. Chemical peels are great for getting your skin glowing and healthy, as they remove dead skin cells and promote the generation of new ones.
Some peels can cause your skin to react to UV rays, increasing the risk of unwanted post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation with sun exposure. This makes the Winter months a good time of year to have a peel, as UV rays are less intense and you are less likely to spend long periods of time out in the sun.
I personally love the Obagi Blue Peel Radiance to exfoliate and improve the overall appearance of your complexion. It’s great for treating fine lines and wrinkles, rough, uneven skin, blemishes and mild to moderate photo-ageing. The best thing about this peel is that it’s totally customisable depending on your skin type, sensitivity and the severity of imperfections. The treatment takes less than thirty minutes and has no downtime. Immediately your skin will feel tighter, smoother and more rejuvenated.
Don’t forget your hands!
Whilst you might be good at looking after your face by wearing sunscreen throughout the year and keeping hydrated, as well as perhaps spending money on a good skincare regime and aesthetics treatments, don’t forget about your hands!
Hands can be the tell-tale sign of ageing and are often forgotten about. As we age the skin on our hands thins, so our hands become less plump making the bones, veins and tendons stand out more. You might also notice brown sun spots appearing.
During the Winter your hands are often exposed to the harsh weather as we all forget our gloves from time to time, don’t dry our hands properly so they become chapped when exposed to the wind and cold, and we generally don’t spend enough time caring for them.
So make sure you apply a moisturiser with SPF protection regularly, but especially after being outside, wear gloves when washing up so that they are not in direct contact with hot water, dry them thoroughly to avoid them drying, cracking, and even bleeding, and protect them with cozy gloves when you go out.
If the skin on your hands are especially dry and chapped, try a luxurious hand mask one evening, or wear cotton gloves overnight with a nourishing hand cream applied beforehand so your hands are protected all night long. They will feel wonderful in the morning! You could also treat yourself to a pamper session with a manicure to let a professional care for your hands and nails.
If you think your skin could do with a little help this Winter and would like to find out more about how my treatments can help you transform your complexion by restoring its radiance, health and youth, I’d love to hear from you. Your consultation is always free.