Chapped lips, dry, stretched skin? It must be winter.
With the cold weather wreaking havoc across the nation, your skin is undeniably feeling the side effects. Throw in a worldwide pandemic and your week has gone from bad to worse!
On an average day, your skin not only has to battle with the unpredictable weather conditions but central heating too. Both strip your skin of essential hydration and leaves you feeling uncomfortable and a little rough around the edges.
Here’s our guide to taking care of your skin in the winter months and locking in that much-needed moisture:
Let’s talk hydration
Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day is a must in the winter months. With the onset of colder weather, mixed with central heating, your skin will naturally become drier and more sensitive. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your skin happy and healthy.
- Use a gentle cleanser: This will encourage your skin barrier to retain vital moisture. At the same time, you are removing dirt and debris from your pores, letting your skin breathe. If your skin feels tight after washing, you need a better cleanser!
- Drink anti-oxidant rich tea: Swapping your coffee for a green tea will give you a healthy boost of anti-oxidants.
- Add more H2O: You know how much water you consume in a day. If it doesn’t meet the recommended amount of 6-8 glasses, you need to up your intake!
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
Your face, neck, ears and chest are more likely to be exposed to the elements, so are naturally more vulnerable. Whether that be the effects of weather, pollutants or free radicals, your skin is your body’s first defence.
The reason dermatologists encourage you to add moisturiser to your daily skincare routine is that your outer skin layer needs all the help it can get. Otherwise known as the stratum corneum, the essential oily lipids in this layer of skin work to keep moisture locked into your skin. When you walk outside, sit in your heated living room or take a shower, your skin barrier is fighting to protect itself.
Applying a moisturiser straight after washing will lock in as much moisture as possible to your skin. Don’t forget your neck, hands, arms and feet!
Yes, you heard that right! Exfoliating your skin is incredibly beneficial during the winter months. Not only will it remove dry, dead skin cells, but it will encourage your skin to regenerate new ones.
Exfoliating scrubs can be used a couple of times a week as part of your skincare routine.
Don’t forget the SPF
Although the sun may rarely make an appearance in the winter months, you shouldn’t neglect your sunscreen. In the winter, UVB rays are lower in the summer months; however, it’s the “UV-ageing” UVA rays that you need to bear in mind.
To protect your skin from the sun’s ageing effects, it is recommended that you apply a high UVA rated sunscreen all year round.
If you are hitting the slopes this winter, make sure you re-apply your sunscreen every two hours. You’ll thank us later!
Avoid hot showers
After a long day out in the chilly weather, it’s tempting to turn up the heat and have a long hot shower or soak in the tub. What you may not realise is that hot water strips away essential, moisture-locking oils from your body.
If you’re coming out of the shower with hot, red, itchy skin, it’s a sure sign that you’ve overdone it! So, keep your water temp to warm and get ready to indulge in a soothing massage after you’re done.
Protect your lips
Changing weather patterns have a profound effect on your lips. For most of us, we naturally lick our lips to combat the feeling of dryness and soreness that the weather brings. But, all we’re doing is making it worse, so much so that dermatologists have coined the term “lick eczema.”
Applying a lip balm or ointment throughout the day will help combat environmental factors effects. From eating and drinking to walking through a blizzard, our lips need all the protection they can get.
Taking to the slopes this winter? Make sure you apply a zinc-oxide based lip balm to protect your lips and face from damaging UV rays.
Dry, chapped hands
Washing our hands has become highly encouraged in recent months. Since the Coronavirus first reared its ugly head, we have all been constantly washing our hands. Throw the cold, bitter winds of winter into the mix, and chapped, sore fingers and knuckles are a familiar sight to all. From eczema flare-ups to dermatitis, skin conditions are on the rise.
Bars of soap are still the most effective at removing bacteria and dirt from our hands. Applying a light moisturiser or hand cream after each wash can help restore your skin’s natural moisture balance. Failing that, you can use a mild anti-bacterial soap substitute available from your GP or pharmacist.
If your hands are really suffering, consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall suggests that “applying a rich layer of hand cream under cotton gloves” for a few nights will start to heal the skin barrier.
Dress for the season
Strangely enough, winter clothing can aggravate your skin in the colder months. The likes of wool and rough fabrics can irritate your skin, and even break the skin barrier.
Wearing light layers made from soft, breathable materials directly against your skin will reduce chafing and damage to your skin. If you’re going outside, don’t neglect your hands! Remembering to wear a pair of gloves will protect your hands from the cold, bitter winds.
Invest in a humidifier
Although central heating warms our homes, it also dries the air out. So, to help add moisture to the air, invest in a humidifier. Ideally, you want humidity levels of 30-40% to help keep the moisture in your skin, and prevent itching and cracking.
Eczema and psoriasis sufferers in particular, may feel the effects of central heating the worst in the winter months. So, place humidifiers into the spaces you spend the most time – the bedroom, living room or your office.
Ready to take on the winter months? Keeping valuable moisture locked into your skin has never been simpler.