Winter skincare: How to protect your skin during the colder months

Your skin needs just as much care and attention during the winter months as it does during the summer. [Photo: Getty]
Your skin needs just as much care and attention during the winter months as it does during the summer. [Photo: Getty]

Whether we’re ready to admit it or not, winter is fast approaching. And, as well as Christmas, it tends to bring a whole host of skin complaints and seasonal beauty challenges.

In general, you probably know that cold weather can be tough on your skin but what does cold weather actually do to your skin? We’re clueless. As the largest organ in the body, our skin is our first line of defence so we need to know how to keep winter skin at it’s best.

We caught up with leading skincare experts to give us the details behind the dermatology and their top tips for keeping our faces in shape. No more chapped noses and dry bits!

Skin SOS #1 : Cold Temperatures

First of all, let’s consider the colder climate that our face will need to deal with on a daily basis. “Cold air detracts moisture from the environment, including sebum, which is what the body produces naturally to act as the skins protective barrier and moisture retainer.” says Kate Protopapas, Founder of Isla Apothecary.

“When sebum is depleted, that barrier becomes impaired and moisture loss occurs, drying out the skin. This can lead to skin damage, irritation and skin can appear lacklustre.”

To combat this, seek products that help strengthen the barrier function of the skin and humectants like aloe, honey and hylauronic acid which attract water from the deeper levels of the skin.

Skin SOS #2 : Hot Showers

A hot shower might sound like THE best thing in winter but it can be hard on the skin. “Once out of the shower, the evaporation of water off the skin can cause the skin to become drier.” says Lorena Öberg, skin repair expert and CEO of Lorena Öberg Skincare.

Resist the urge to steam and have lukewarm baths or showers. To prevent moisture loss, Lorena also recommends to partially pat the skin dry and moisturise whilst the skin is still damp.

Skin SOS #3: Dull skin

Winter is not the time to get lazy on your cleansing routine. When it comes to counteracting the lacklustre effects of the cold weather, exfoliation is the skin expert’s top secret.

“Imagine trying to moisturise layers upon layers of dead skin. There’s no way your cream will be able to penetrate that!” says Lorena Öberg. “Gentle exfoliation is needed to unplug congested pores and let your moisturiser or serum work its magic.”

Skin SOS #4: Wind & Rain

We all know that the sun can damage our skin but did you know the wind can too? Windy conditions can strip the skin of its moisture, increasing sensitivity and a generally uncomfortable feeling of taut skin. Wind also carries pollution which is very damaging to this skin and can build up a level of bacteria on the skins surface, which can cause problems if not removed correctly.

Kristi Shuba, Co-Founder at Katherine Daniels Cosmetics says “In the winter months, it’s important to layer up! In the same way that we layer our clothes, we need to layer our products to keep our skin protected from the elements.”

Concentrates and serums should be used as your base layer, as they are able to penetrate the skin’s surface more efficiently than a cream. Underneath your day cream, try the Urban Shield Concentrate £38.45, which forms a micro mesh over the skin to act as a protective barrier and boost moisture levels deep within the skin.

Skin SOS #5: Central Heating

We love snuggling up in a warm room but when the central heating is turned on, it decreases the moisture in the air available to the skin. “Skin is an organ, and a lazy organ at that!” says Noella Gabriel, Co-Founder & Creator of ELEMIS Therapies. “It does not have the ability to adjust quickly enough to the changes in temperature and this is when skin damage is caused.”

Central heating and hot fans can actually draw moisture out from the skin, drying it out and leading to damage. Noelle recommends a nourishing facial oil to feed skin with omega oils and superfoods. A bit like protecting your skin when you’re on a plane, your skin needs protection from dry indoor conditions too.

Skin SOS #6: Not Enough Water

Finally, one that we probably already knew, drink plenty of water! “It’s such a common misconception that keeping your water intake up only applies in the summer,” states Lorena Öberg. “As the temperature drops outside, we drape ourselves in layers of clothing in a bid to keep warm and crank the radiator up to the max. The artificial hot environment we therefore create can cause dehydration in our body and skin”

Drinking water helps the body maintain its vital fluid balance and also helps maintain your glow by flushing away toxins and impurities. Avoid dehydrating caffeinated drinks and reach for a herbal tea like chamomile, known for its anti-inflammatory action.


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