Winter Skin Care Routine
Whether winter is your favourite time of the year or the season you dread all year round, there’s one thing we can all agree on: winter is terrible for the skin. This is especially true as we grow older, and our skin becomes more fragile and susceptible to damage.
From cracking lips to dry hands, the effects of the cold conditions and increased indoor heat cause havoc with our skin’s delicate moisture balance. However, there are several steps you can take to combat these effects, no matter your age. Read on to discover our top winter skincare tips that will help you battle and prevent dry skin.
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Our Recommended Winter Skin Care Routine
Our skin’s needs are different in winter, when changing environmental factors tend to take a toll. Cold weather dries out the skin’s pores, causing dryness, itching and irritation. It’s essential that you change your existing skin care routine to match and best protect your skin. We’ve put together recommended routines for different skin types which will ensure better skin health over the winter months[i].
Moisturising our skin is a good step in any skincare routine. This is especially important in the winter when skin is more prone to drying out. You should take care to moisturise your skin, ideally after you have showered or bathed if you find your skin is drying out.
2)Introduce New Products Slowly
Although our skin does need extra care during winter, a complete overhaul of products to combat dryness is likely to do more harm to your skin than good. Due to the effects drastic seasonal shifts can have on your skin, new protective skin care products may be necessary, but you should introduce them slowly. This gives your skin a chance to get used to them and helps you understand what your skin does and doesn’t like.
Ideally, you should introduce one new product at a time. Then you can add another when your skin gets used to the first, which is usually about two weeks. If you do experience any skin irritation, we recommend you stop using the product immediately.
3)Keep using sun cream
That’s right – even on the darkest of days, you should still be wearing sun cream and re-applying it regularly. Even if the sun isn’t visible, your skin is still exposed to UV rays, which penetrate through the clouds. Also, UV rays can reflect off snow, meaning they will hit your skin twice. UV rays contribute to your risk of getting skin cancer later in life and cause premature ageing[ii]. Wearing sun cream every day will protect you from this. Ensure that you apply sun protection of at least SPF 30 to any exposed skin, paying particular attention to your face, neck, and head throughout winter.
4)Apply products in the correct order
Layering products in your skin care routine can help protect and combat dry skin during winter. However, you should always be applying your skin care products in a particular order. Doing so will adequately equip your skin to deal with any environmental factors without causing damage.
5) Make healthy lifestyle choices
Our everyday habits can have a huge effect on our skin. Unfortunately, our lifestyles can change drastically depending on the season, and winter seems to be the worst season for losing our healthy habits. We may spend less time outdoors (which means our skin receives less vitamin D), exercise less, eat more unhealthy foods, and expose ourselves to central heating, which easily dries out the skin. To help keep your skin looking healthy and glowing, make your best efforts to maintain healthy habits throughout winter. You should try to:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat well
- Drink plenty of water
- Get enough Vitamin D
- Spend at least 20 minutes in nature each day
- Get enough sleep[iii]
6)Keep a healthy diet
What we eat affects our entire body and consuming the right nutrients will contribute to healthier skin. You should eat a mix of at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, pulses, starchy foods, protein-rich foods and unsaturated oils to maintain a healthy diet. Also, try and consume more dairy to keep your immune system in top shape. Dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk are rich in protein, vitamins and calcium[iv], all of which improve your skin barrier and regulate skin cell turnover.
Finally, you need to drink plenty of fluids to help your skin and body remain healthy. Ideally, you should drink 6 to 8 cups of healthy fluids a day. These include water, low fat milk, and sugar-free drinks.. However, to help moisturise your skin from the inside out, plain water is best.
7) Pay attention to your hands
It’s easy to neglect your hands during winter, but they need just as much care as the rest of your skin through this season. Not moisturising your hands can quickly lead to them becoming dry, cracked and painful. This is also especially important with current events since frequent handwashing will dry out your hands even quicker.
To combat dry hands, you should apply a good quality hand cream every time you wash them. Make sure to do this when they’re still damp, as this will lock in moisture. You could wear waterproof gloves when washing dishes or cleaning and woolly gloves when going outside to prevent dryness from occurring.
Although exfoliation may be the last thing you’d consider with dry skin, a gentle exfoliant can give you back that lovely healthy glow. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the outer layer of skin, increasing cell turnover and promoting healthier-looking skin. You can do this in one of two ways: mechanical exfoliation (using a tool or scrub to remove dead skin cells) or chemical exfoliation (using chemicals to dissolve dead skin cells). However, it’s important that you carry out the exfoliation process safely. It is possible to damage your skin when exfoliating, so you must follow the instructions carefully for your chosen method. Alternatively, you may be able to get an exfoliating facial at your local salon.
9)Protect your lips
Our lips are constantly exposed to environmental changes, and they can get particularly dry during winter. Keep them moisturised with a UV resistant lip balm that you can keep on your person or in your bag throughout the day. If you find your favourite lipsticks dry your lips out over winter, switch them out for tinted lip balms instead.
If you have dry lips, refrain from licking them. This will only make the dryness worse, potentially causing your lips to crack and become red and inflamed.
Take Care of Your Skin This Winter
If you still find yourself with dry or irritated skin after trying our winter skin care tips, you could speak to your local pharmacist who may suggest an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. This is specially formulated to treat skin irritations and may clear up any issues. However, if you still experience dry skin, it’s best to make an appointment with your GP as it may be a sign of a skin condition. Do you have any winter skincare tips that you swear by? Let us know!
Read our guide on skin care and incontinence.