As the nights draw in, the temperature drops and we crank up the heating, we can start to see some unwelcome changes to our skin. From dryness and rough patches to increased sensitivity, winter can wreak havoc on our complexion. Cold, windy weather, overheated buildings, lack of sunlight and even party season overindulgence can lead to dull, tired looking ‘winter skin’. Here are my top five tips on how you can winter-proof your skin and help keep that healthy glow.
#Tip 1 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Staying hydrated is very important in winter. We might manage those two litres of water on steamy summer days but how many of us keep it up when the temperatures plummet? Dry, cold winter weather and more time spent basking in centrally heated homes can leave our skin feeling drier. You may also notice an increase in sensitivity and irritation. Try to keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of still water, I aim for two litres a day. Consider swapping your latte, flat white or English Breakfast tea with their diuretic effects for antioxidant-rich green tea.
The winter party season can leave skin looking dull and tired. Alcohol can increase skin inflammation and worsen many skin concerns such as psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. Whilst I do love a party, I try to make sure I’m drinking plenty of water for every Aperol Spritz!
Our microbiome also plays a key role in managing our skin condition, and it needs a healthy mix of bacteria to do its job properly. Topping up your winter diet with probiotics can help reduce inflammation and complement the benefits of hydration, while prebiotics encourage the growth of healthy bacteria.
#Tip 2 Be gentle
A good winter skin regime should include a gentle cleanser.
I often get asked, ‘what is the best way to wash your face?’ In short: quickly, gently, and thoroughly. Washing your face is definitely an essential part of your routine, and should be the first step of your skincare routine. Done properly, it can improve skin health, prevent acne breakouts and reduce skin inflammation. Cleansing provides a fresh canvas on which to apply all of your skincare products, allowing for better penetration and efficacy.
Wet your face with lukewarm water and use your fingertips to apply cleanser in a circular motion. Avoid very hot water as this can strip skin of the necessary oil barrier that helps maintain skin integrity, causing dryness and irritation. This is especially important for those with sensitive skin. Heat can also be a trigger for rosacea.
Make sure to wash the T-zone and U-zone around the jawline. Rinse, carefully pat dry with a soft, clean towel.
It’s important that your skin barrier is as healthy as possible so that it can retain vital moisture. If you start to notice that your skin feels tight after washing it’s possible your cleanser has disrupted your skin barrier so try switching to a gentle cleanser. I especially like SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser and the La Roche Posay Toleriane range.
#Tip 3 Protect from winter sun
Don’t put away your sunscreen just because it’s winter. It’s important to incorporate a high-factor, broad spectrum sunscreen year-round. I especially like Ultra Violette Screen Queen SPF 50 and Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46.
Living in the UK, vitamin D deficiency is very common. Most of us aren’t getting enough year-round, let alone in the colder months when the days are shorter and darker. Vitamin D is a key player in supporting the skin’s defences. Inflammatory conditions, like acne, rosacea, and eczema can often flare up when we are deficient.
#Tip 4 Take time to moisturise
Take time to massage your moisturiser into your skin for at least 30 seconds to maximise its effects. If you find yourself reaching for your moisturiser several times during the day you might want to consider a richer product such as Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream. At night I love to use Medik8 Hyadr8 B5. And don’t forget to moisturise your body as well, CeraVe moisturising cream is great for non-greasy, effective hydration.
#Tip 5 Look after your lips
The skin on our lips is among the most sensitive areas and the most exposed to the environment. As the weather gets colder and drier, the thin skin on our lips tends to dry out as the lips do not contain oil glands. This can cause cracking, chapping and soreness over the lips, which can be quite uncomfortable. To prevent dryness, keep your lips are sealed with an effective emollient such as Kiehl’s Lip Balm No 1 or Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment. If you are hitting the ski slopes or off in search of winter sun, then remember lips are vulnerable to sun burn. Aim for a lip balm with at least SPF 30, I love Ultra Violette Sheen Screen Hydrating Lip Balm (SPF 50).
By following these simple tips you can help keep that healthy glow and feel skin confident whatever the winter weather brings.