My 7 winter skincare tips
Your skin has a lot to deal with in winter, where it is often assaulted by a nasty combination of dry, cold weather, icy winds and central heating. This can leave your skin feeling dry, itchy and even flaky which is why it’s so important to give it an extra helping hand at this time of year. However, even the best skin care routine can struggle under the pressure of cold weather, which is why today I’m going to offer some tips to help you add some much needed moisture back into your skin.
1: Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise!
Ok, I know this sounds a bit obvious, but you would be surprised just how many people forget to moisturise during the winter months. Just because your skin is covered up with jumpers, gloves, tights and trousers, that doesn't mean you should ignore it. Make sure you moisturise from head to toe every day and gently exfoliate once a week to get rid of any dead skin cells.
Applying your body lotion/oil immediately after showering will help to lock in moisture but make sure to apply again before going out and before going to bed. When choosing a body lotion, make sure it’s as natural as possible and opt for organic products in order to reduce the amount of chemicals you put on your skin. These chemicals may make your body smell nice and promise to leave your skin silky soft but they are often very drying and can cause skin allergies and reactions.
That’s why, if you’re interested in more natural body lotions, I’d recommend our friends over at Jan de Vries, who stock an extraordinary range of natural skincare brands, from Dr Hauschka to Pacifica to more specialist brands like Salcura which are specifically formulated to tackle very dry and eczema-prone skin.
2: Hands up
Our hands can suffer terribly in the winter so always wear gloves when you are outside and make sure you moisturise your hands often, especially before going out and after washing your hands. When washing your hands, try not to use antibacterial soap. Studies have found that this type of soap can actually cause dry skin and eczema as they often contain harsh chemicals and parabens.
Instead, once again, more natural products should be your first port of call and Dr Bronner is an excellent place to start. This natural and organic brand offers an amazing variety of hand soaps and washes which only contain nourishing ingredients such as tea tree oil, cocon
ut oil and jojoba to help cleanse your hands without stripping away any moisture!
3: Soothe your dry patches
If you have dry, chapped skin, Bioforce Cream is ideal to help nourish and repair cracks in over-exposed skin, whilst also protecting the skin from chapping and softening rough patches. Its nourishing formula is ideal for treating dry patches and common dry areas, including elbows, knees and feet. Cracked or chapped lips also respond well to this cream, which can be put around the lips and nose to avoid windburn or chafing in cold weather.
4. Put some moisture back in the air
When it’s freezing and blowing a gale outside, nothing feels better than being tucked up inside with the central heating going full blast. Am I right? Well, I'm sorry but your skin wouldn't agree!
Central heating is one of the worst culprits for sucking the moisture out of the air and your skin. So if you want to keep your house nice and cosy and your cheeks nice and rosy try turning your thermostat down slightly (to a comfortable setting) and think about investing in a humidifier – great for putting moisture back into the air.
If you don’t want the expense of a humidifier, a simple trick is to put a bowl of water on or near your radiator to help replace the moisture that has been lost. As it heats up, the water will evaporate into the air, increasing moisture.
5. Keep hydrated
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do for your skin is to drink more water, especially during the winter months. Skin keeps water out, but we need quite a lot of water inside, to plump up the skin and keep it fresh.
Remember too that dehydration is a common cause of dry skin, so a lack of water, combined with other skin drying winter factors, could make your dry skin even worse! Try to avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and fizzy drinks as these can dehydrate you further. Instead, stick to plain, still water if possible, or decaf coffee and tea, and herbal tea.
6. Ditch your hot baths & showers
No I hear you cry! Sometimes the best thing about winter is being able to soak in a nice long hot bath or enjoy a steamy shower, but unfortunately, over exposure to hot water is a very common reason for dry skin. It might feel great at the time but it strips away the natural oils that protect and tighten the skin and so it dries it out. But don’t worry, this doesn't mean you shouldn't have a bath or shower (things could get smelly if it did), just try to keep them shorter and a little cooler.
7. Don’t forget your lips
Our poor lips often suffer the worst in winter, ending up chapped, dry, sore and prone to cold sores. Whilst everything else is covered up, our lips are at the forefront of those drying winter blues! Our first instinct is to lick our lips when they feel dry, but try not to do this as this actually helps dry them out faster.
Ensure you keep them nourished and hydrated by using a lip balm regularly throughout the day and before you go to bed at night, look for natural based lip balms and avoid petroleum jelly. Why you ask? Well, at first, your lips will feel silky smooth but, because your skin doesn't actually absorb petroleum, the results will be superficial. Being water repellent, petroleum jelly acts as a barrier and strips the natural oils from your skin, causing chapping and dryness.
If you are looking for a more natural and nourishing lip balm then again, Dr Bronner has to take centre stage. Organic and cruelty-free, their lip balms utilise organic oils to help moisturise and soften lips, plus they come in a range of flavours, from peppermint to ginger!
At this time of year, winter bugs, stress and extreme weather conditions are common triggers for cold sores. To kick that nasty cold sore to the curb, increase your intake of Vitamin C and take Echinacea to help boost your immune system and speed up the healing time. Bio-Propolis ointment can also help to soothe your cold sores - even if they have already erupted. The great benefit is that if you miss the tingle stage, it will still work.
What’s your best winter skin care tip?
Originally published 22 January 2015 (updated 30 October 2018)