This week’s freezing weather has seen temperatures drop 5-6 degrees lower than normal for this time of year. That’s not great news for your skin. The bitter cold can cause dry patches and exacerbate existing skin conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis. According to Mintel, 43 per cent of adults reported experiencing cracked skin within the past year, while searches for how to address sensitive skin have increased 26 per cent year on year.
“During the winter months, the combination of cold, windy weather, indoor heating and hot baths and showers can negatively impact the skin barrier,” explains consultant dermatologist Dr Derrick Phillips. “This results in a loss of moisture, irritation and aggravation of dry and sensitive skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.” Not only that, a weakened skin barrier makes us more susceptible to the harsh winter weather, resulting in dry, irritated and inflamed skin. And if you have the persistent cold that everyone seems to have at the moment, you’ll no doubt have flaky skin around your nose, too.
With harsher weather in store for the foreseeable, it’s time to stock up your bathroom cabinet with an effective, all-purpose moisturiser. You don’t have to spend a lot. You can find some excellent options from your local pharmacy or Boots. I’ve been using a tube of CeraVe’s Advanced Repair Ointment for the past year, after picking it up during a trip to America. It’s as viral a skincare product as they get: with 22 million views on TikTok, I’m clearly not the only one who sees it as a first-aid-box essential. The product launched in the UK this month and is packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid and ceramides for a very reasonable £14. Applied to chapped lips, dry knuckles or flaky skin patches, this ointment provides instant relief.
Another good cream to have in your back pocket for the whole family is La Roche Posay’s Cicaplast Baume B5+. It’s a best-seller in French pharmacies for good reason. The fragrance-free formula contains 5 per cent vitamin B5 and antibacterial zinc: I’ve used it as a nappy cream on my baby, slathered it onto my son’s wind-chapped cheeks before school, and as a face cream when I need a hefty barrier from the cold. I’ve recommended it, and bought it, time and time again. A brilliant product around the £10 mark. If you suffer from sore patches of skin that need an even gentler approach, the cream now comes in a spray version to reapply during the day, with contact-free application.
If you prefer a lighter texture from your emollients, but still with all of the effective moisturising properties, Eucerin’s Aquaphor Skin Soothing Gel Balm (£13.50) can be used from top to toe. The brand’s 10% Urea Moisturising Lotion is recommended to me by dermatologists time and time again, for all-round effective dry skin relief. Slather it on after a shower and you’ll feel the instant benefits. The Aquaphor lip balm version is a winner, too. I know lots of beauty editors who stockpile SOS Repair Lips, £10. It’s proof you really don’t need to spend a lot for moisturising lip care.
Just as brilliant is the bright green tube of Weleda’s Skin Food, which has been around since 1926 and comes in at around £8 a tube. Reportedly one tube sells every 16 seconds somewhere in the UK. Victoria Beckham and Sharon Stone are fans, as are many, many make-up artists I’ve worked with on photoshoots. They say nothing preps dry skin for make-up quite like it. A good make-up primer it may be, but the plant-based formula is so much more: rich and heavy duty, it keeps dry skin at bay and one tube seems to last months on end.
While you can use any of these creams on your hands, face and lips, a dedicated hand cream is always nice to have. One of the best-selling hand creams at the London pharmacy John Bell & Croyden is by the British brand Seams. Coming in at £12, the ultra-moisturising but quick-absorbing cream was originally created for seamstresses to soothe their hands without leaving greasy marks on fabric. The pharmacy has sold bucket loads this week. Interestingly, as well as an increase in sales for creams to protect cracked and dry skin, the pharmacy’s general manager tells me he has noticed sales of bath care products and scented candles on the rise, too. The lure of a hot, luxurious bath in the freezing weather beckons.