Your Ultimate Winter Skin Survival Guide
Baby it's Cold Outside.....
Winter has some great upsides, log fires, hot chocolate, Christmas films and being all tucked up under a throw for a cosy night in. However, there are the unwelcome side effects that it has on our skin! Say hello to dry, itchy skin that’s currently settling in for the winter. To help you through those cold winter days, here is our 5 step guide to great winter skin.
While switching to a good moisturiser when the weather turns cold is a great start, the drier air caused by your central heating may have already taken hold of your skin. Fortunately for us in the UK, the weather has only just taken a dive so there is still time to prevent the damage before it really starts.
Following our simple guidelines below can ensure hydrated skin which will glow all winter long!
Here is our guide for preventing, soothing, and dealing with dry skin.
First things first..
What actually happens to your skin during Winter?
Dermalogica tell us……
‘Cool winter temperatures and low humidity levels, combined with hot showers and soap-based products can pull moisture from the skin. On the surface, skin looks dull, feels tight, dry and itchy. At a microscopic level a lack of moisture and oil weakens your skin’s natural protective barrier, leaving it susceptible to invading chemicals causing redness, irritation and sensitivity’.
Let's Bust a Myth
Does drinking water help hydrate your skin?
When our body is thirsty, we drink water. However, this does not apply to dry, thirsty skin. We tend to think that drinking a lot of water can cure dry skin, but in truth, it’s not effective.
“A normally hydrated person probably won’t see a difference in their skin after consuming an increased volume of water,” says Dr. Donna Pellowski, UAMS dermatologist.
The best solution for dry skin is to treat it from the outside with moisturiser, which forms an effective barrier to water loss.Dr. Pellowski suggests applying the cream within a few minutes of bathing, when the skin is damp, which will lock in moisture
“In general, anything that causes loss of water and reduces barrier function of the top layer of skin, or stratum corneum, can lead to the feeling of dry skin,” says Dr. Pellowski.
5 steps to Great Winter Skin
1. Prep your Home
Dry air, means dry skin. We recommend placing a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time, maybe the living room or bedroom. Anything which will increase the moisture in the air. In my grandmothers days, they would have a little china bowl filled with water which hung from the radiators to stop the air from drying out. They knew then what they were doing 😉
Also, try to keep you heating to a low or at a moderate temperature to avoid extra dryness in the air. Remember, 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.
2. Rethink your Skincare
Avoid Harsh Cleansers
When it comes to cleansing your skin, mild, fragrance-free soaps or soap substitutes are the best in the winter. Try to avoid using any face washes with drying ingredients, like fragrances or that foam. Instead, go for a really gentle cleanser, we recommend CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. This is a gentle face wash with ingredients like ceramides (good for breakouts) which reinforce the natural barrier and help the skin lock in moisture, along with hyaluronic acid that attracts hydration to the skin’s surface. This is great news if you live in the UK as Boots now stock CeraVe!
The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturising Factors + HA hydration serum contains both glycerin and ceramides too which repairs and protects your skin’s moisture barrier.
No matter how many serums and creams you use, dry skin will stay dry without some mild exfoliation. We recommend exfoliating no more than twice a week in winter. Also, choose a gentle scrub, something with a mild glycolic or lactic acid to get off the dead skin rather than a physical (gritty) scrub. We like Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant, it’s not cheap but it is a great product and lasts forever!
Serums - Antioxidants for Winter
We tend to swap out most of our summertime products when winter arrives, but serums are the one exception to that rule. As long as it’s alcohol-free, an antioxidant serum is perfect for year-round.
Even in the winter, our skin gets attacked by free radicals, causing sun spots, depleted collagen, and premature fine lines and wrinkles. To prevent the damage, apply a vitamin C formula as a first layer in the morning after your cleanser, before layering on heavier products.
And don’t forget the sunscreen—a daily dose of SPF 30 will keep skin protected, even on cold, cloudy days.
I personally love watching videos from Trinny Woodall and there is probably nothing that he doesn’t know about skincare and her ‘Secret 7’ playlist on Youtube is a great place to start.
Upgrade Your Moisturiser
This one might seem obvious, but moisturising your skin is crucial for keeping it hydrated throughout the winter. Skin tends to produce fewer oils in the winter, so switching to a heavier moisturiser can really help to keep those important oils locked in your skin.
If you feel a heavier moisturiser is too much during the day, just switch things up during your night time routine. Remember to applying a moisturiser as soon as you get out of the bath or shower to help keep your skin feeling nice and smooth. We are really loving Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost moisturiser, which contains hyaluronic acid.
Pro Tip: 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 are still significant enough to age our skin. Also, if you are using a vitamin C in the morning or a Retinol in the night, it is essential that you continue to use a SPF during the day.
3. Great Night Time Routine
Every night before bed, stick to a routine that will ensure great healthy skin the next morning.
Remove all traces of make-up with a make-up remover like Micellar Water (we use bioderma), or a cleansing balm like Clinique ‘Take the Day off’ is great.
Cleanse again with a non foaming cleanser like CeraVe, or buff away the day with a Hot Cloth cleanser.
Apply a serum (before moisturiser).
- Apply a gentle eye cream to the under eyes and lids (the molecule is smaller in an eye cream) , then
Moisturiser, go for something a little heavier in winter if your skin can tolerate it.
This routine may be simple, but your’d be surprised how many skip or shorten their evening skincare routine because of tiredness.
Pro advice:Give yourself the extra 5 minutes and your skin will repay you in the morning.
4. Body, Lips, Hands & Feet
When we think about winter skincare, we tend to forget about the rest of our body and only concentrate on how our facial skin looks. Try not to neglect the rest of you, these simple ideas will become routine in no time!
An evening shower may feel wonderful on a cold winter’s day, however, we advise you to limit your time to 10 minutes or less and to use warm—not hot—water, which only adds to skin dehydration. Oh, and don’t forget to moisturise to lock in that much needed water.
Licking your dry lips in the winter will only makes your lips dryer and can cause red, cracked and sore lips. Make sure your lips are sealed with an effective balm at all times, particularly before eating and after drinking and add a good layer before bed to have great soft lips by the morning. We recommend Cicaplast Balm B5 by La Roche Posay.
Hands & Feet
Don’t forget about your poor hands and feet. Help heal winter hand, such as dry skin or cracked knuckles, with a nourishing hand cream. Simply apply throughout the day as needed – especially after washing your hands, as water can dry your hands out further.
When choosing a hand cream, go for one that contains Glycerin as it will soften skin and act as a barrier to the outside world. However, avoid ones that contain Lanolin if you have a Gel Manicure as it causes Gel to lift.
Carry the hand cream around and keep one by the side of your sink at home so your hands are never caught out.
At night, apply lotion to both hands and feet before bed and for extra help, apply extra cream the put on gloves and socks to help the cream absorb through the night.
5. Book a Facial
And finally, winter skin is often dull, so we 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.
Regular facials will help to keep your skin clean, clear and hydrated whilst maximising your everyday skincare regime too. Not only that, but it will aid with relaxation and sleep, so book the last appointment of the day, then go home and relax.
Thank you for reading!
If you have any questions, please do contact us via email. If you have enjoyed this post, please leave us a comment below so that we know you care 😉
Until next time……..