Cold Front: Making sure your skin doesn't get the winter blues
Published 04/01/2013 | 11:46
The holiday's over and all that's left is an empty wallet and bulging tummy.
If you've got a bad case of the January blues, it's likely that your skin has too.
The party season has taken its toll, it's the bleak midwinter and, to add to your skin's woes, the central heating is blasting out.
Book your face and body in for some New Year TLC that will keep your skin in great condition all the way through to spring.
Winter frosts bring more than just a rosy glow to your cheeks. Think Rudolph-style red nose, uncomfortable dryness and flaking skin.
When the weather is really biting cold, a moisturiser may not be enough.
"Apply a serum beneath your daily moisturiser to give dull winter complexions an extra boost of hydration," advises Bao-Tam Phan, pharmacist and Eau Thermale Avene spokesperson.
"It's also important to keep skin hydrated during the winter months by ensuring you drink water regularly."
When your skin is really tight, apply a mask overnight for an intensive treatment.
If you can't resist cranking up the heating, leave a bowl of water close to the radiator to put water back into the atmosphere, or snuggle up with a hot water bottle instead.
After a day shivering in the cold, a piping hot bath can feel like heaven but the contrast in temperatures can be hellish for your skin.
For a more skin-friendly wash, go easy on the hot tap.
"As nice as a long soak feels in freezing temperatures, the hot soapy water strips away the natural oils, making dry skin worse," explains Steve Riley, pharmacist and Care spokesperson.
"Use lukewarm water instead of hot when having baths or showers, and always make sure you carefully pat yourself dry instead of rubbing."
Your skin is at its most vulnerable straight after lathering up so apply a nourishing body lotion right away to maximise hydration levels. Try a sensitive formulation if you're prone to irritation.
Tucked away under five layers of clothing, it's easy to forget about your arms and legs.
"Skin that has been concealed away for months can become dry, dull and lacklustre," says Paul Banwell, skin health expert.
"The slowdown in cell renewal during the winter means that exfoliation is essential to bring it back to life."
Dry skin means that you have dry cell build-up. Exfoliate regularly to sweep away the dead cells and create the perfect smooth base for deep moisturisation.
Aim to exfoliate your skin once or twice a week - it might feel like a chore now but you'll be rewarded with fresh, radiant skin come spring.
Unless you're a market trader, ditch the fingerless gloves and give your digits a fighting chance by wearing protective gloves or mittens on cold, windy days.
The skin on your hands has fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, which can lead to dry, chapped hands in winter.
"Being constantly exposed to the elements, hands are particularly susceptible to dryness in cold, windy weather," explains Andrew Saynor, Dove technical expert.
"Carry hand cream with you in your bag for extra nourishment."
If your nails are unusually dry and brittle, it's because talons can also be affected by a drop in temperature. Ensure you don't forget to rub hand lotion into your nails and nail beds to keep them soft.
Just as we wouldn't leave the house without layering clothes to protect against the elements, the same should apply to our winter skincare regime. Try adopting these skin insulating tips:
- Central heating may keep you toasty but the dry atmosphere can play havoc with your skin. Aim to apply moisturiser daily in the morning to quench dry skin.
- Skin regeneration peaks when you're fast asleep so apply a layer of intensive moisturiser or body butter before bed for overnight nourishment.
- Give bed socks a soothing update by applying foot cream generously before bed. Don't rub in and wear cotton socks overnight to soften your tootsies by morning.
- Valentine's Day isn't far away so avoid chapped lips and keep them primed for pouting by carrying a repairing lip balm containing shea or cocoa butter with you.
- The sun might be missing but you still need the protection of an SPF. Try a clever UV protector with skin brightening properties to cheat a winter glow.