Do you suffer from dry winter skin? You’re not alone. Biting winds, cold weather, central heating and hot showers can all suck the life out of skin, and leave you looking more Walking Dead than New York Fashion Week. Keeping the heating off just isn’t an option, so ramp up your skincare routine instead. You’ll keep dry winter skin at bay (or heal it right up), and get more me-time. Win.
One of the key symptoms of dry winter skin is a dull complexion. If your complexion has dulled, you’re probably dehydrated. Once your body becomes dehydrated, your skin begins to really suffer. Dehydrated skin cells are replaced much slower than healthy cells, which causes a build-up of skin cells and limits light reflection. Circulation also slows down, causing fine lines to look bolder. The easiest solution is drink more water, and load up on omega-3s. Salmon and walnuts are both packed with these essential fatty acids, which boost hydration.
Balm isn’t just for your lips. Face balms are a great invention, and are ideal for women who commute or have to face the cold. Most make-up brands make at least one variety of protective face balm, and drug stores often have cheaper versions, too. These creams insulate the skin, preventing the cold temperatures and biting winds from drying out the skin.
Everyone knows that cleanser can be a lifesaver during the cooler months, but do you know what formulations work the best? Milky or creamy cleansers tend to contain less stripping surfactants than gel cleansers, meaning that they are kinder to the skin. Get in the habit of cleansing with one daily, before applying your face balm. That will ensure your skin has the best chance of holding in moisture, and has a great defence against the wind.
Have you started to look a bit scaly? If your body is looking distinctly reptilian, with cracked skin, it’s a good sign that you’re struggling with the cold. Your arms and legs are likely to be the most effected, because they have fewer oil glands than the rest of the body, which allows them to become drier and therefore scalier than the rest of the body. Solve the problem quickly and easily by adding two cups of skimmed milk to a warm (not hot!) bath. Soak yourself for around 15 minutes, and pat your skin dry. Apply a body lotion containing milk afterwards for best results.
While it goes without saying that the sun's rays are less intense in the winter, don’t ditch your SPF entirely. The rays can still damage your skin, and many people still burn during the winter months. Snow is actually a better reflector than water, with 80% of rays bouncing back from snow, compared to less than 20% from water and sand. While it’s fine to keep your high SPFs for the summer months, make sure you’ve got winter coverage, too. You’ll want something with a minimum coverage of SPF 15, and protection against UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget to cover up in a hat and scarf, too.
While most people get used to moisturizing once a day, there is no harm in doing it more frequently. In fact, it’s worthwhile in the winter months! Get into the habit of doing a soft exfoliation using lactic or salicylic acid once a day, and applying a thick moisturizer afterwards. Then reapply the moisturizer as needed. You might find that three times a day works perfectly, or that your skin needs a top up every three hours. Do what works for you, and your skin will glow. If you’re not a fan of heavy lotions, you can use mineral oil, petroleum jelly or glycerin instead, but apply with greater frequency to get the same effects.
If you’ve tried all of the above for at least a fortnight and you’re not seeing any change, or your skin is worsening, it’s time to seek help. A dermatologist will be able to prescribe stronger treatments to soothe dry skin, as well as working on a bespoke skincare regimen with you. Drug stores and beauty counters often have staff members who can trial creams with you, too, and your doctor will be able to offer some advice on common conditions such as eczema. You’ll feel much happier once your dry winter skin is under control!
Once you’ve got your dry winter skin sorted, it’s time to get working on your hair. Lacklustre hair can totally ruin a look, so don’t forget to give your locks some extra love with a hydrating conditioner. The cold weather can worsen dandruff, too, so stock up on anti-flaking shampoo and conditioners. Do you have any great tips for fighting dry winter skin? I’d love to try them!
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