Image credit: Caitlyn McAdam
It is coming up to that time of year where we all feel our skin needs some self-love because once the cold months roll in it is goodbye to dewy-fresh skin. The tightness, dryness, and overall lack of dehydration in our skin are real.
During the winter our skin goes through a rough time and this can be blamed on central heating, dehydration, and the bad weather including no sun. ‘It’s important to look after our skin throughout the year, not just in winter,’ says Dr.Nichola Cosgrove, former synthetic chemistry researcher and owner of Natura Emporium. Dr.Nichola told me her expert tips on how to improve your skin care during the colder months by preventing dehydration and looking at your lifestyle changes including switching out your summer products.
Image credit: Pexel images
Check your ingredients
One of the best ingredients for hydrating skin is squalane oil. It is very similar to the natural sebum that our skin produces so it is easily absorbed. Anything rich in fatty acids is also a winner, so oils like marula, avocado, safflower, argan, and jojoba are great to use on dry, parched winter skin. Look out for anything containing ceramides, which are lips (fats) as these make-up over 50% of our skin’s composition. It is important to keep these levels topped up since ageing, sun damage and other environmental factors will naturally reduce them, resulting in dry, tired, red, wrinkled skin.
Beating winter acne
Some people are more prone to acne breakouts during winter for a couple of reasons. The cold air doesn’t hold as much moisture and on top of that heating in houses, offices, buildings severely dries out our skin. Our skin tries to overcompensate by producing sebum (our skins natural way to hydrate) and in doing so we end up with too much sebum, which can block pores and we enter a vicious cycle of using too many products to rectify this, combined with dry, chapped skin from the constant hot and cold cycle (essentially overusing skincare products) and in the end, our skin is just overexposed to the elements, allowing bacteria to thrive and hence results in more spots.
You need SPF in winter
You should wear an SPF all year round, even in winter, particularly if you spend a lot of time outdoors and enjoy winter sports. Whilst the sun is at its furthest from us during the winter months, UV radiation can still penetrate clouds, some 80% of them. Minimum SPF of 30 or higher to reduce sun damage and of course your chances of developing skin cancer. Not only that it will slow down the ageing process.
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Goodbye summer products
You should change your skin products from winter to summer because our skin behaviours differently throughout the year. In the colder autumn and winter months, there is less humidity so the focus should be on hydration. Think thicker creams and a serum, cream combination is a great one to adopt. During the spring and summer, humidity is higher, and whilst you still need to hydrate, a lighter weight moisturiser or a non-comedogenic serum are preferable options. Whatever the season you should always exfoliate, nothing too aggressive, a nice clay mask can easily work, and don’t forget to drink lots of water all year-round.
A thicker moisturiser
It is wise to use a thicker moisturiser during the winter months to stop our skin from drying out. The focus needs to be on it containing oils that really hydrate the skin such as, argan, avocado as well as it containing a humectant, which is something that retains moisture. Therefore, it will help to maintain moisture levels on the top layer of the skin. I would advise doubling up on a serum, followed by a moisturiser during winter months, and apply right after having a bath or shower to trap and lock in that water.
Lifestyle habits can have an effect on our skin in winter as we tend to seek out heavy comfort foods and we don’t always have access to the bright fresh fruits and vegetables so easily available in summer. Make sure you include a variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts as well as drinking lots of water. Even if you aren’t in the mood for haute cuisine, a well-balanced meal can take as little as 20 minutes to prepare and you’ll see great results on your skin as well.
Lack of moisture
During winter there is less humidity in the air, which means we need to hydrate and lock in any moisture we can get on our skin. A cold climate can dry out the skin, add in the effects of heating and our skin is seriously thirsty. What’s important is to be mindful of is the changes that happen during the year and adapt to these changes to maintain a balanced and healthy you.