It’s not just your wardrobe that needs to change as the days get wintry. As we switch from summer t-shirts to tights and woolly jumpers, it’s time for a seasonal skincare shift, too. Whether summer heat or winter cold, extreme temperatures damage the natural protective barrier that helps skin lock in moisture. Skin stripped of its natural hydration is more likely to become sensitive, red, flaky, rough or chapped, so it’s vital to give its defences a boost.
Supporting the skin is more of a priority as we get older. The skin’s natural barrier function becomes less efficient as we age, so the effects of further damage are likely to be more visible in mature skin. Now is the perfect time to repair, rebalance and prepare for winter, so make the most of these coming months to support your skin.
Cocoon your body
The more the temperature drops they more clothes we wear. Make sure you layer up without over doing it, as going from extreme cold to very hot could wreak havoc with your skin. Staying warm and being a more even temperature will be better for your skin as it’s less likely to dry up quickly.
It may be wrapped up, but your body still needs daily hydration to fend off the drying effects of central heating and cold weather. Skincare with a natural pH – 5 or below - is thought to be kindest to the skin’s barrier function, helping to lock in the moisture and natural oils that protect against seasonal damage.
Keep up the SPF
While you may feel silly wearing SPF all year round, protecting yourself against the sun in winter is just as important as in summer. Although the sun may not feel as strong, that’s no reason to ditch UV protection. It may even cause more harm in the snow and ice if it’s reflecting from all directions.
Your skin can be damaged by harmful rays even on a cloudy day, so it’s important to shield against them no matter what the season. Wearing an SPF when the sun is weaker will allow your skin recovery time too. Instead of fighting off further damage, the skin can focus on repairing itself, so it really is a win-win.
Top tips for chapped lips
Using a moisturising lip balm during chilly days will prevent chapped lips and stop you from licking them too much. Carry a small tube with you to reapply as often as needed. Carrying a hand lotion with you will keep your hands from drying out in the harsh weather. It’s easy to forget that we use our hands for everything. They require extra care or else they end up cracked and sore.
Don’t turn up the heat
Keeping the temperature in your baths and showers warm, rather than hot, will help keep your skin feeling moisturised. Heat can wear away the natural oil your body produces; leaving your skin feeling dry and rough.
Although the temptation to have a long, hot bath after being in the cold is hard to resist, try and shorten the length of time you bathe, as the hot water will cause skin irritation and strip moisture from your hair.
Add more moisture
In the winter, your skin is naturally producing less oil, so moisture from your skin can evaporate quickly in the cold, wet and windy weather. Changing your skin care routine to include more hydrating products will keep you feeling moisturised. Apply any creams or lotions as soon as you get out of the shower to lock the moisture into your skin.
Drink plenty of water
Make sure to drink the suggested eight glasses of water a day; keeping your skin hydrated from the inside, out. It’s still important to protect the outer barrier of the skin, though. Extra moisture taken from the water will simply evaporate through the skin if its barrier function is compromised.
According to psychologist Dr Megan Arroll, our skincare routine is also a great time to practice mindfulness; as our skin glows, so does our mind. How we physically look has a strong bearing on our mood, having a bad hair day may start the day off on the wrong foot. But by looking after your skin, hair and body; you’re taking a healthier approach.
Dr Megan explains: “Mindfulness puts us back in touch with the inner and outer world of the present; by choosing a daily routine such as skincare, we can integrate mindfulness into our lives without feeling like it’s ‘yet another thing to do’.”
Focus on one sense at a time…
Sight: What does the product look like? See its colour and texture.
Smell: Breathe in the smell of your product – what does it remind you of?
Touch: How does the product feel on your fingers? Is it smooth and moisturising, or perhaps exfoliating? When the product is on your face, become enveloped in this feeling – is it cool or warm?
“By the end of your routine, you should feel more relaxed and grounded.” Dr Megan explains.