A Guide to Winter Skin Care
What You Need to Know
- The lack of humidity in the air, along with the contrast between the cold of the outdoors and the heating in our homes, can cause skin to become dehydrated.
- If you have dry skin, oil based moisturisers can offer greater protection than you’ll get from water based skin care products.
- If on the other hand you have naturally oily skin, you should use an oil free moisturising serum to avoid clogging your pores.
- The skin on your hands is thinner and less abundant in oil glands, meaning it dries out easier. Cotton gloves help lock moisture and, worn under wool, will help keep you warm.
- Using sanitizers rather than soap and hot water to wash can also be beneficial for you hands.
- Remember to exfoliate. Removing dead skin cells will brighten up your skin and help your moisturiser to work effectively.
- Using a humidifier in your home can help prevent your skin from becoming dehydrated.
- Long hot baths and showers can actually sap moisture from your body. A short wash at a moderate temperature will be better for your skin.
Winter is a tough time for our bodies. The lack of sunlight can leave us in need of a vitamin D boost, whilst infectious illnesses like flu can wipe us out for weeks. On top of all this, our skin takes a real battering. The constant rapid changes in temperature as we switch between the icy winds of the outdoors and the cosy warmth of our central heated castles can leave our skin dehydrated.
Here we look at how you can get through the season unblemished by the cold.
Moisturise According to Your Skin Type
As the lack of humidity in the air during winter can drastically dehydrate your skin, it’s important to moisturise. However, to get the best results you need to use a product suited to you. If you have dry skin at the best of times, during the winter you’re going want to combat the ageing effect this can have with an oil based moisturiser. Such an ointment will create a protective layer on your skin, offering some respite from the elements that you won’t get form water based skin care products, creams or lotions.
If, on the other hand, you have oily skin, you’ll want to avoid doing this. Why? Because, when dry oily skin is dry it actually produces more oil in attempt to hydrate itself. Even if your skin is feeling dry, irritable and flaky, using an oil based product can clog your pores. You will be better served with an oil-free hydrating serum.
The rate at which skin cells are replaced is a little slower in winter. Exfoliating will give your skin a lively glow and has a double benefit in that, by removing dead cells, it allows those all important moisturisers to work more effectively.
This should be obvious, but, as well as keeping you warm, covering up from the harshness of the elements will also give your skin some respite. A scarf and a hood can be a great for protecting your face from a chilly breeze, especially given that certain city streets have a nasty habit of turning into wind tunnels when it’s blowy out.
Gloves are another essential investment. Your hands have thinner skin and are much less abundant in oil glands, making them prone to drying out quickly in the cold, besides which, being an extremity it doesn’t take long for the hands to become uncomfortable in cold weather. Cotton cloves form an occlusive barrier that helps lock in moisture. If you prefer wool for the warmth, simply wear a slim cotton pair underneath.
On the subject of hands, if you do experience problems with dryness, it could be worth switching from soaps to hand sanitizers. These are far more forgiving on the skin than soap and hot water. Given how often we wash our hands, the accumulative effect can be really noticeable.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
As we’ve seen, most of the difficulty that comes with winter skin care arises from the problem of dehydration. Whilst there are ways to combat this, it makes sense to do what you can to avoid your skin drying out in the first place.
One way you can achieve this would be to invest in an air humidifier for your home. If you’ve got the central heating cranked up and a few extra portable heaters blasting hot air around your house, naturally the air is going to be a touch arid. A humidifier helps get a bit of moisture into the air. Though some models can be on the pricier side, you can pick up a perfectly effective humidifier for less than £30.
Another simple way to lessen the impact of seasonal dryness is to avoid taking lengthy hot baths or showers. Although they provide a lovely way to escape the cold, the heat makes the skin more permeable. This works both ways, and, unfortunately, actually causes your body to lose moisture rather than take it on. A short wash at moderate temperatures provides a better way forward.
- Find more tips for keeping your skin healthy here.
- Keeping healthy in winter is more than skin deep. Click the link for NHS advice on coping with the cold and dark.