Winter is officially here, and it tends to cause chaos for complexions everywhere. As much as we all secretly enjoy the excuse of cosy nights in and indulging in copious amounts of hot chocolate, it’s often dreaded by many. ‘Tis the season for dry skin, chapped lips and breakouts, and it often lasts for at least half a year.
When the coldest of months really kick in, we tend to notice sallow, dull and dry skin arriving in a matter of weeks. However, it’s not all doom and gloom.
With improved skincare and enough knowledge these days on what works and what doesn’t work for our skin, you can fully take control. There are many ways that you can look after your skin so that dullness, dryness and breakouts are banished over the winter months, but firstly, let’s explore why our skin suffers during the colder months.
What Happens to Our Skin During Winter?
When the cold weather and low humidity levels kick in, the dry air starts to sap the moisture from our skin. This leaves us with a drier and tighter complexion than usual. If you don’t treat the skin, and you have dry skin already, it can start to crack and bleed (in more severe cases). Therefore, Eczema and any other dry skin conditions can double in severity during the Winter.
The cooler climate we experience can cause havoc for every skin type, though. The artificial heat caused from central heating dries the air out, so moisture evaporates from our skin quickly.
Plus, most of us tend to feel more worn out and exhausted during the colder season. Shorter days, more illness and constantly feeling cold can lead to more stress and down periods, which don’t help our complexions too much, either!
Below are some key skincare tips to help reduce dryness, breakouts, chapping and redness during the Winter months. Follow them wisely and you’ll be achieving that healthy, glowing skin all year round.
Take hydration seriously
Too many of us don’t drink enough water. Yes, it’s something we tend to worry more about in the warmer months, but it’s just as important during Winter. Moisturising the skin topically is a great step to take, but water makes up 64% of our skin, which is key to proper hydration.
You may get fed up of hearing the ‘eight glasses of water a day’ rule, but honestly it is crucial for a moisturised, glowing complexion. Water plumps the skin from within, encouraging collagen production which helps the skin to stay as young as possible. It also flushes out toxins, which is beneficial for those suffering from acne.
Winter proof your skincare regime
A mistake a lot of people make is to continue with the same skincare regime Winter to Spring, Summer to Autumn. However, the elements change, and it’s useful to make a few small tweaks.
Continue to cleanse your skin twice a day. This helps to remove impurities such as dirt and excess oil, and it also preps the skin so that serums and moisturisers penetrate deeper. However, when your skin gets drier, it could be a great time to switch to a cleansing oil. Cleansing oils can be nourishing as they cleanse, yet still dissolve dirt and make-up effectively. They won’t dry out the skin, and they are ideal for balancing out the skin.
One product worth looking at in more detail during the Winter is a toner. Toners are fine to use, but try and avoid using alcohol-based ones, as these will dry your skin out further. Look out for organic beauty products that use natural ingredients instead.
Continue to moisturise twice daily too. If you’re finding that it’s less effective as the cold weather creeps in, massage your moisturiser into your skin more thoroughly (for 30 seconds) to maximise its effects. You could also look at a richer, more intense night cream so that it works to repair any excessive dryness whilst you sleep.
And lastly, make time for moisturising face masks! Whether it’s a sheet mask infused with hyaluronic acid or natural moisturising properties, Cream mask or a thick mud type, make time to relax and let them settle into the skin for around 20 minutes.
Don’t forget to exfoliate
When your skin feels dry, it’s normal to want to avoid doing anything that may feel ‘rough’ on the skin. But if you don’t exfoliate, your skin will appear duller and could break out more, as your cell renewal slows down, and dead skin cells build up.
Exfoliation products don’t always come in the form of a scrub. You can now get exfoliating treatment serums packed with natural AHA’s and BHA’S which nibble away at the skin, and even exfoliating moisturisers which work to brighten and improve the texture.
Don’t neglect your diet
The connection between gut and skin health is an on-going topic but is well-documented these days with lots of knowledgeable findings. Excessive sugar and fats can cause dry skin and breakouts, so although it’s tempting to comfort eat in the Winter, try to keep up an intake of your 5 a day.
Healthy fats such as walnuts, avocados and olive oil are said to be great for the skin. Plus, Winter is a perfect time to get creative with home-made soups packed full of veggies! Sprouts, cabbage, spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes have plenty of antioxidants and vitamins which encourage skin health.
Protect your skin from UV rays
You should be protecting your skin from harmful UV rays throughout the year -something that a lot of people forget. Although it may seem like the sun has well and truly vanished, there are still levels of UVA and UVB rays during Winter.
Whilst there are fewer rays from October- March, they are still significant enough to cause damage during this time. SPF works more effectively when applied on its own, as it is filtered down to a large extent when combined into foundations and moisturisers.
No matter how cold it gets, there’s always a winning winter skin care routine out there to help keep skin hydrated, which can be tailored to your skin type.
And lastly – don’t forget your lips! They tend to be the first to feel the effects of the cold (and the central heating!). Make sure you give them some well-earned attention by using a moisturising balm daily and a lip scrub to exfoliate.