Winter proof your skinPosted on: 25 February 2015 by Editor at Large
Radiant, glowing skin can be yours whatever the weather. We let you in on some expert secrets.
The weather has a huge impact on how you look and feel and the secret to healthy glowing skin is to adapt your skincare regime according to the season. And it’s not complicated. As the days get colder simply use thicker creams, layer up and apply sun cream when going outside. Follow these steps and your skin will repay you with a gorgeous glow that will last right through to spring.
At this time of year cold harsh winds and the drying effects of central heating can wreak havoc on your skin and it may need extra hydration to give back what Mother Nature takes away. ‘The lipid layer, the outermost layer of the skin, needs to be protected to create a barrier that keeps natural moisture intact and stops it from escaping,’ explains dermatologist Victoria Pugh.
Experiment to find out what works best for you. Try layering a moisture-boosting serum under your regular moisturiser or swapping to a richer formula. The replenish collagen boosting serum from nurture skincare is intensively hydrating and contains phytoestrogens to boost moisture retention with the added benefit of firming skin. Rice bran oil, cocoa butter, vitamin E, rosehip oil and glycerine are also great ingredients to look out for in wintertime products.
Reduce the heat
Dry skin is more vulnerable to ageing as the skin cells are not performing optimally making them more prone to damage. Skin therapist Nataliya Robinson advises: ‘As we age, skin becomes drier due to a reduction in sebum production. Mature skin is usually more vulnerable because of hormonal changes so it’s particularly important to protect this skin type during the winter.’
Turn down the central heating in your bedroom. It will stop the night-time atmosphere from being too drying and avoid long, hot baths, which ultimately will dehydrate skin further.
Show skin some TLC
Swapping your foaming or wash-off cleanser for something creamy and ultra-gentle will help skin maintain its natural weather-barrier. ’When oils are stripped from the skin, water can also escape. Using wash-off cleansers can exacerbate this, aggravating dryness and leaving your skin feeling tight,’ explains Nataliya.
Look for a soothing cleansing milk that can be wiped away with cotton wool or a soft flannel and don’t be afraid to exfoliate. Removing dead skin cells is like clearing old leaves out of the drain - your moisturiser will sink in faster and also gets to work more effectively.
Taking the time to pamper yourself with a regular winter-skin maintenance session can also help. Nataliya suggests applying a mask weekly to nourish and hydrate the skin as well as recommending vitamin E if skin is dry, flaky and damaged. ‘Get a good quality vitamin E capsule, pierce and squeeze the contents into the palm of your hand. You can then massage it into the skin for the best results.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can skip on your sun protection in the winter months. Ageing UVA rays are present all year-round and no matter what the season, they can penetrate deep into the surface of the skin, damaging the cells underneath. Nataliya’s advice? ‘Make sure you wear an SPF, either in your moisturiser or foundation, at all times of the year.’
Even with the best routines in place, a cold snap can really throw skin out of balance. So what’s the answer? Cosmetic nurse Julie Brackenbury recommends a multi-tasking balm for sore, flaky patches, which don’t seem to respond to regular moisturisers. ‘Stick to natural formulations and look for ingredients such as sweet almond oil, shea butter or cocoa butter, which will instantly soothe a sore patch.’ Lips, where skin is thin and delicate, need protection too. Always smooth on a rich conditioning balm or lip protector before going outdoors. Aloe vera gel is also worth trying. Finally don’t forget your hands. Wear gloves in the cold weather and apply lashings of hand cream throughout the day.
Know your nutrients
State registered dietitian Helen Bond shares her top winter favourites:
Omega 3 fats are important for healthy skin – helping to keep cells watertight and well hydrated. They also have an anti-inflammatory role and have been shown to help relieve dryness and redness.
Vitamin C is essential for making collagen, a key part of the skin’s support network.
Vitamin E helps to promote skin healing so it may help dry, chaffed, cracked skin to repair itself. Rich sources include nuts, seeds, eggs, wheat germ, vegetable oils and avocados.
B vitamins are a must as a deficiency may trigger dry flaky skin.
Zinc is an essential nutrient for making new cells and is important for helping to repair damaged tissues such as sore cracked skin and chapped lips. Eat more protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, eggs and dairy products
It may be an old chestnut, but good hydration is vital for healthy skin. Aim for around six to eight glasses of fluid a day. This can include: water, tea, coffee, herbal teas, milk and juice.
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