Help, It's Winter And My Skin's Parched!
If your skin feels sensitive or becomes prone to flare-ups, it means that its protective barrier's malfunctioning and it's losing precious water. Nothing seems to work and it only has to look at a cream to turn red and itch like hell. Whatever you do, don't sob into your serum! There are plenty of ways you can repair, protect and soothe your skin.
WHY DOES WINTER LEAVE MY SKIN IN A MESS?
Heated rooms. The freezing outdoors. Biting winds. During winter our skin has to face the elements and tries to defend itself from the cold, whilst also dealing with hot, centrally heated rooms. It gets stressed, becomes fragile, hyper-sensitive, stingy and sometimes feel burned. In other words it hurts. All the time.
What's more, even if these symptoms aren't apparent on the surface, its deeper layers are still suffering beyond belief.
A double whammy:
- Wind harms and wears away our skin's natural protective barrier.
- When bracing the cold, small blood vessels in the epidermis contract, leaving our skin lacking in oxygen.
Bearing the brunt of the elements and feeling suffocated, our skin cries out for nourishing treatments. In order to defend itself, it produces more and more free radicals, which in turn leave our skin burning and tight, not to mention wrinkle-prone!
In short, we need to deal with this cascading list of inflammatory conditions the moment the mercury drops.
HOW TO PAMPER YOUR SKIN DURING WINTER
Dehydrated, malnourished winter skin needs a beauty routine that wraps it in gentle, comforting treatments.
1 - Stop wrinkle-producing dermal oxidation by applying creams packed with antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. For extra pampering, opt for treatments that contain moisturising active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. Applied regularly, your skin will be left comfortably moisturised and no longer sting.
2 - Treat yourself to a nourishing oil. Nutrient and ceramide-rich face oils are perfect for toning up the dermis and nourishing the epidermis. Ultra-light in texture, they don't leave behind a greasy film and can be applied every other morning. And every night, you can use them like a face mask by applying a thicker layer.
3 – Whatever you do, cleanse! It'll get rid of all the grime that prevents skin from being oxygenated and causes it to suffocate.
4 - Turn down the heating It may keep our tootsies warm, but our skin hates heating! Whether at work, home or in the car, turn down the thermostat a notch or two. Just lowering it a bit will protect your skin from becoming dehydrated.
As your skin is already weakened by the cold, during the winter months pay close attention to the clothes that your wear. Some materials can cause irritated skin: stick to cotton (from your underwear to your t-shirt!) and, whatever you do, avoid synthetic materials which will make you sweat, as well as itchy wool (or you can put a cotton layer between your skin and the wool). Avoid tight jeans and shoes which will prevent the skin from breathing and create areas of friction.
To avoid dry skin, as a form of prevention, protect the skin's hydrolipidic film by avoiding soap-based washing products or those that are strongly scented, as they usually contain alcohol. We recommend using shower gels with a neutral pH that will wash your skin without irritating it and destroying our protective skin barrier. For particularly irritated skin and hyper-sensitive skin, which is fragile and/or atopic, go for oil-based textures which, as well as being deeply hydrating, will leave a protective veil over the skin. These are especially recommended if the water in your shower is very hard.
Very dry skin can give the impression that you have crocodile skin: this is due to an accumulation of dead skin cells. For both the repair and hydration of the skin to be effective, you need to start by getting rid of these dead skin cells: make a fresh start! To do this use a gentle exfoliator once or twice a week: take a fair amount of product and apply it to your skin, massaging in small circular motions, from your ankles right up to your neck and paying extra special attention to the rougher areas. Make sure not to scrub too hard otherwise you will irritate the skin; you don't want this routine to have the opposite effect of what you were aiming for!
After showering, choose a hydrating lotion, a very nourishing balm or a body butter. For during the day, opt for a dry oil as the fluid and non-greasy texture sinks into the skin quickly and means that you can get dressed straight away. Chose an oil rich in active ingredients that are both hydrating and nourishing, such as argan or sweet almond. In the evening, you can afford to use a richer product that sticks a bit and is not absorbed immediately. Don't neglect your hands and feet as they also need a lot of hydration during the winter months. Result: Smooth, hydrated skin that's protected from the cold and damp.
WINTER SKIN SOS: HOW TO REDUCE SEASONAL DRY PATCHES
While we Brits have less sun damage thanks to living on an island, the wind and chill affect our skin adversely – especially at this time of year. This simple three-step guide to winter skin will help you deal with seasonal dry skin.
The problem at this time of year in the UK is that skin is being stripped of oils from all angles. Cold wind, standing under a very hot shower to warm up and cleansing more harshly to remove heavier make-up can all produce dry patches. To bolster your barrier and ward off dry skin, follow these tips.
APPLY SKINCARE IN LAYERS
Amazing winter skin is all about keeping the barrier happy. Applying a serum as your targeted skincare isn’t enough; you need to also put something on before going out to stop the wind from whipping oils off your skin as you traipse from the tube to the pub. Try a moisturiser that’s oil-based, and remember to apply it to your neck, too.
AVOID DAMAGE WHERE POSSIBLE
If you like a winter walk in the park, try pulling a hood around your face to ward off as much wind as possible. Equally, if you suffer from dry skin after your commute, tap moisturiser over your make-up before you leave work for an extra layer of protection. Also, avoid overly hot water, as it will only contribute to seasonal dryness.
TAILOR YOUR SKINCARE
Rather than drag at skin with wipes, switch to a balm or cream cleanser and remove it with a flannel soaked in lukewarm water. If your skin is dehydrated as well as dry (dehydration = lack of water, dryness = lack of oil), apply a hyaluronic serum. If you want brightness, try a vitamin C-based serum then follow with a moisturiser to soften and strengthen dry skin.
HELP, WINTER'S HERE AND MY SKIN'S A MESS!
Cold and damp outside, hot and dry indoors: the icy weather's upon us and doesn't our skin know it. Our skin cries our for help, as central heating, wind and the cold wreak havoc with our epidermis. So, here's how to beat the winter skin blues!
During winter our skin is put to the test: cold air giving us dry skin, wind that burns it, heavy clothes that irritate it and temperature changes between icy streets and over-heated offices that throw it off-kilter. The elements wear away its hydrolipidic layer - the protective sheaf that forms a barrier between our bodies and the great outdoors. Meaning our skin needs extra loving care! And why it's essential to adopt a suitable winter skincare routine. Arch enemy No.1: dehydration. Apply creams, balms and serums that are packed with moisturising ingredients that will repair the hydrolipidic film and prevent dry skin.
KISS CHAPPED LIPS GOODBYE
Our lips are often the first to suffer when winter arrives. They become flaky, sore and chapped. Believe it or not, spending your hard-earned cash on any old lip balm is not the best idea, as they don't usually contain ingredients that will help your winter-abused pout. Sure, they'll give some instant relief and can be used as a quick fix throughout the year, but they don't actually repair lip skin that's been damaged by the cold. Opt instead for balms that are 100% natural and contain shea butter, arnica, sweet almond oil and olive oil. You should also gently scrub your lips once a week to get rid of dead skin cells.
SAVE YOUR SENSITIVE SKIN
First and foremost, don't wash your face with tap water. It's harsh and contains limestone, which will irritate the epidermis. Go for micellar water, a cleansing oil or lotion. And finish off with a nourishing and hydrating moisturiser. The aim? To provide our skin's hydrolipidic film with an additional, protective, layer. Finally, treat yourself to a face mask. Masks that can be left on overnight are great during winter and you'll wake up with baby soft skin. Once your skin is well-hydrated, it'll feel soothed, comfortable and boast a healthy glow.
SOFTEN YOUR LEATHERY SKIN
Winter skincare essentials need to be hydrating. Even if you love your lotion, it's better to use richer products during winter: hydrating creams and dry oils will deeply nourish and soften your skin. Hydrating treatments will also provide a protective coating so that your skin doesn't lose precious water. If your skin is more leathery than your belt, go for a thick, nourishing, moisturising balm that contains shea butter or sweet almond oil. You should also space out your scrubbing sessions. Our skin enjoys a good scrub as it boosts our circulation, but we need to lighten up during winter months. Scrubbing once every couple of weeks is enough.
HEAL YOUR HANDS
We may protect our hands with gloves during winter, but sometimes that's not enough. As the mercury plummets, our hands get red, swollen and chapped. Keep a good cream close to hand and apply it several times a day - shea butter hand creams work a treat. And when evening comes, give them a good old pampering! You can also protect your assets by applying a mask once a week. Finish off by slathering on a moisturiser and slipping on a pair of dermatological cotton gloves for the night. You'll wake up to soft, smooth hands that are ready to face another icy day!
Article supplied & written by Marie Claire, part of Hearst Communications, Inc.