It’s snowing! We need to change our skincare to suit the seasons, just as you change your wardrobe with the changes in climate. In winter months, our skin takes a beating and needs some external help to perform its barrier role.
In the cold, our skin is exposed to low temperatures and harsh winds that remove moisture from the epidermis. As a result, our skin can feel dry and irritated. Hands and lips can suffer from severe & painful chapping.
The cold reduces the skin’s fats which form a protective, moisturising barrier found on the epidermis. When it’s cold, they can be compromised and need help from external moisturising and occlusive, barrier skin care products such as chapsticks for lips and heavier hand creams in order to prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and further dryness.
Heat too, surprisingly perhaps, is a problem in winter as well. Our hot-house interiors reduce the humidity level inside that is so useful at keeping skin moist.
It is imperative we make changes to our skincare routine in winter in order to lend a helping hand to our body’s own mechanisms. Below, we outline some nurturing, pampering and nourishing natural winter skincare tips to keep our deep skin in optimal condition all winter long.
7 Winter Skin Tips
1. Use nourishing masks for winter radiance
Winter isn’t the time to strip the epidermis of its natural oils by using cleansing or buffing exfoliators to remove dead skin. One of the best ways to both cleanse and bring radiance to our faces is by using a specially-formulated mask. However, we need to choose the right kind of mask. An oil-based formula to protect and add to our own skin’s lipids is a good choice.
2. Go gentle on the cleansing in winter
Swap any harsher, sebum-stripping cleansers and toners for gentler emulsion-based versions. These include gel-to-milk and foaming lotions. Again, this is to ensure you don’t strip the skin of its lipids. The winter climates and dry interiors are doing that already.
Another useful product for gentle cleansing is micellar water. Micellar waters are effective in a winter skincare routine because their small oil content does the cleansing while their larger water proportion is pH neutral on the skin and can help hydrate. After using a micellar water, moisturise while your skin is still damp so as to lock the water in underneath.
3. Shower in luke-warm water
It is tempting in colder weather to enjoy a really hot shower and wash our hands and faces with a good splash of hot water. However, when your hands are under siege from harsh weather, as we said above, they are drier and more prone to chapping and if extremely aggravated, they can from one day to the next become very raw and sore especially between the fingers. Wash your face and hands in tepid water to avoid stripping them of their lipids and moisturise them immediately.
Cooler water at the start and end of a shower – intermittently with warmer water – can help increase overall circulation by stimulating the blood flow in the skin’s capillaries. If you aren’t keen on lingering in the bathroom on colder days, take a look at in-shower lotions which can speed up your body care. In-shower lotions are emulsions applied on damp skin, literally in the shower after washing, and help lock in residual water on the skin.
4. Give your lips extra TLC (tender love and care)
Our lips in winter could do with some TLC and maintenance before we apply an outer protective and nourishing layer. They can get dry and develop little loose stringy bits of skin and feel rough. A lip scrub to buff your lips gently as well as moisturise will give you a smooth base on which to add a hydrating and nourishing lip balm.
5. Use hydrating face serums
It’s a natural choice to turn to heavier, more oil-rich moisturisers in winter to aid both our hands and face from the elements.
However, use a serum under your regular winter moisturiser to give your face a nourishing treat to beat the winter blues. There are no one-size-fits-all serums so do your homework on which type and what active ingredients can supercharge your skin. Serums generally target specific skin issues or types, such as dryness, hyperpigmentation or acne. They can provide moisturising and barrier-strengthening properties to the skin, as well as offering antioxidant and reparative properties.
6. Combat dry interiors
Overly hot and dry interiors in winter months are no friend to skin. A certain amount of moisture in the air will help our skin to retain its own moisture rather than have its hydration sucked out.
You can find portable, both floor and table-top, digital room humidifiers that provide a cool, fine, invisible mist and run efficiently and quietly in the background monitoring the air and adjusting output to create optimal levels of humidity. These are ideal in bedrooms or other rooms you spend a lot of time.
7. Enjoy the great outdoors in winter too
As much as we may want to stay cooped up under the blankets in winter, we still need exercise and fresh air.
Dressed for the cold, and with your skin protected and nourished, you can really do wonders for your skin – and well-being – with exercise, even if it’s just a short, brisk walk. The capillaries will enlarge and work harder bringing oxygen with its nutrients to the outer layers of skin to bring a healthy-looking glow. Remember, good skincare is more than about products alone. You’ll feel better getting out and about, and your skin will thank you for the effort.