As the weather changes and we battle the frost on our morning commute, it’s not only our ability to text which is affected but our skin.
With the increased risk of dehydration, acne and pollution, we get the lowdown from top skincare experts on the beauty regimens to adopt this winter.
What happens to our skin in the winter?
According to London-based clinical facialist Kate Kerr, the change in environment as we move from central heated rooms to the outside air during winter can play havoc on our skin.
“The dehumidified air of a heated room strips the moisture from the skin leaving it feeling tight, dry and dull and can even exacerbate sensitivity and rosacea,” Kerr explains. “The skin will often try and counteract this by over producing sebum to prevent moisture evaporation. Add this to the mix of a build-up of dead skin cells and you have an increased risk of acne.”
For those who live in built-up areas or the city, our skin’s subjection to pollution is also higher come winter due to ‘temperature inversions’ – where cold air is trapped near the ground underneath a layer of warm air, meaning carbon monoxide can’t rise and will instead unhealthy levels.
Kerr told Yahoo UK: “Pollution particles stick to our make-up, which is why cleansing when you’re in for the evening is so important. If left on the skin, pollution can result in free radical damage, leading to breakdown of healthy collagen and premature ageing.”
If that isn’t enough to have you flocking to your local Boots, she also stresses the dangers of lower vitamin D levels due to the extended darker hours of winter.
“Vitamin D contributes to skin cell growth, repair and metabolism. It optimises our skin’s immune system, which in turn helps destroy the free radicals that cause our skin to age prematurely,” Kerr added.
So what exactly should we be slapping on our skin this winter to protect it in the run-up to Christmas?
Cleanse with care this winter
“Winter skin is dehydrated skin – that means that you’re in danger of losing your glow. Low humidity, chafing winds and blasting the central heating all runs the risk of turning you into a cornflake,” Dr Sam Bunting tells Yahoo UK.
To combat this, the cosmetic dermatologist recommends looking for cleansers which include gentle surfactants boosted with skin-calming ingredients such as Allantoin. This will help to minimise the potentially drying effects of washing your face during the winter months.
Up the moisture
According to Dr Bunting, water loss after cleansing leads to a dry and tight feeling so she recommends moisturising immediately after washing your face in winter.
“Look for a blend of occlusive ingredients that seal water in,” she adds. “I love Shea Butter, which delivers a really luxe feel to any moisturiser. Seek out humectants which attract water into the skin’s outermost layer, so it stays supple and smooth. Think glycerin, hyaluronic acid and urea.”
Facialist Kate Kerr echoes this sentiment explaining that hyaluronic acid holds 1,000 times its own weight in water and will help beat stubborn hydration during winter without upsetting your skin’s natural moisturising factors.
“When the weather turns cooler, the trick is to wait for our skin’s own moisturising to adapt,” Kerr adds. “This can feel a little uncomfortable at times but your skin needs to feel the panic to kick-start its own moisturising. To help make this process feel more comfortable use a hyaluronic acid-based serum and mask such as Teoxane RHA Serum.”
The key takeaway? Don’t be tempted to lather on the oil in winter, as this will only cause the skin’s own moisturising processes to shut down – leading to dry (and dull) skin.
For those of you in need of a new moisturiser, Dr Bunting has launched a whole new product just in time for winter.
After a survey of 1,000 people in the Dr Sam Skincare Club Facebook group, 55% expressed moisturiser fear and admitted to avoiding using moisturiser in case it made them break out.
The all-new £25 Flawless Moisturiser contains 5% niacinamide to give blemish-prone grown-ups a luxurious but non-clogging option to manage delicate, winter skin. Winner!
Protect your skin against the cold
To protect your skin from the harsh elements this winter, Dr Bunting hails Niacinamide as the best ingredient out there.
“It has a plethora of benefits especially suited to this time of year,” she tells Yahoo UK. “It boosts ceramide production, supporting skin’s resilience and water-holding abilities.”
Dr Bunting also emphasises that the ingredient can help to calm blemishes which increase in likelihood during winter.
“Dry skin is clogged skin at risk of inflammation – a disaster for spots,” she explains. “Niacinamide is one of the few acne solutions that doesn’t dry skin out. It also makes you more tolerant of retinoids, which is a godsend in winter if you have acne-prone skin and are concerned with the signs of ageing.”
Can I exfoliate my skin during the winter?
Even if you suffer from dry skin during the winter months exfoliation can still feature in your morning routine – it’s just about choosing the right ingredients.
“For effective and even exfoliation I recommend using a BHA, salicylic acid, based cleanser,” Kerr tells Yahoo UK. “Salicylic acid is less irritating than it’s counterpart, glycolic, and is able to exfoliate the surface of the skin but also clear the cell debris within the pores.”
For those who struggle with acne, rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis – she recommends trying out ZO Medical Oilacleanse for anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial action.
How can I achieve glowing skin in the winter?
With the increased risk of blemishes and dehydrated skin, it can prove difficult staying positive in the run-up to festive parties. But with the correct tool kit, you’ll be donning sequins in no time. So what should we look out for?
First things first, skin therapy and rejuvenation expert, Kate Kerr, recommends investing in a retinol serum.
“Retinol, a Vitamin A derivative, helps to stimulate a large percentage of the different cells within the skin to behave as fresher, healthier and younger versions of themselves,” she tells Yahoo UK. “This not only improves collagen and hyaluronic acid production but also speeds up cell turnover to improve skin function, hydration and to smooth and brighten.”
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