Winter skin SOS: How to get your glow back
Dry, flaky, irritated skin is a common complaint among so many Irish women in winter.
Fortunately, in response to said complaints, an increasing amount of beauty brands are creating high-performance products using gentle ingredients that really will calm your skin whilst at the same time promote healing. "As a nation our skin tends to be chronically sensitised. To clarify that's 'sensitised' as opposed to 'sensitive'," says Jennifer Rock, of award-winning skincare brand Image. "The former has been personally inflicted, typically due to product abuse alongside our environmental and lifestyle choices. The key objective in winter is not to exacerbate already reactive skin."
With that in mind, Jennifer advises against over-exfoliating. As tempting as it may be to erase all flaky patches away, it could lead to further issues. Be gentle. "Although it is key to assist in dead skin removal, if we pummel the skin, that will leave it thin and crepey and thus more prone to irritation. Progressive as opposed to aggressive is ideal during these cold, dry months."
If you suffer from dry skin, start investing in products that contain wonder ingredient hyaluronic acid. Don't be scared by the name, this is not an exfoliating acid. Quite the opposite, actually. Its benefits, according to Jennifer, are often referred to as 'an inner drink' for the skin.
Dos and Don'ts
● Don't over-exfoliate, the skin needs all the moisture it can receive at this time of year. Lock it in with products from Image's Vital C range or the brand's Iluma range to give a radiant, anti-ageing yet hydrating finish.
● Ensure you have hyaluronic acid in your regime to counteract the stripping effect central heating and car heaters may have on the skin. It shall add volume and allow make-up to adhere flawlessly and maintain its longevity and durability during the festive season.
● Opt for a hydrating mask or alternatively an enzyme-based (light yet effective exfoliating agent) to dissolve the dead lifeless skin cells which shall accumulate.
● Although needed, radiators play havoc with our skins' water levels. A proven tip is to place a glass of water beside your largest radiator to allow the radiator absorb that moisture rather than the hydration from your skin.
● Avoid washing your hair and body in overly hot water, as hot water can strip the skin of much needed moisture. Opt for lukewarm.
● Steer clear of fragranced products, as they're likely to further irritate.
● Attempt to eat good fats and essential fatty acids (avocados, nuts, seeds) regularly as they act as an internal cushion and reservoir for the skin's moisture. Skin health can start from within.
According to experts, face and body products should be applied within three minutes post shower for maximum results.
How to Treat Dry, Irritated Skin
A step-by-step guide with Jennifer Rock, of Image Skincare
1. Cleanse thoroughly for at least 60 seconds and remove. In a recent study it suggested that 87pc of us use a 'splash and dash' methodology to wash our faces. Cleaning is paramount to allow active ingredients to penetrate in.
2. Apply a serum. Address your main concern with this step - these are the lightweight potent products which can create measurable and noticeable differences in no time!
3. Dehydration is one of the most ageing factors. Considering the eye area is so fine, it is prone to appearing 'prune-like' instead of 'grape-like', therefore we need to combat this by applying a nourishing yet active cream all over this delicate region.
4. Wear SPF as the rays we are experiencing these winter months are penetrating into the lower 'youth' layer of the skin, thereby increasing the rate at which we are ageing.
5. Lock in moisture in the evening with a heavy base cream to occlude the pores and nourish the top layers of our skin.
6. Have a skin consultation with an expert to review this year's damage and make a plan of action so that you can start 2016 as you mean to go on!
Winter Skin Toolkit
Vital C Hydrating ACE Serum, €47.50, Image, available in selected beauty salons nationwide.
Everything from Image's Vital C range is incredible, but there's something extra special about this serum. Containing a high-performance blend of vitamins A, C, E, it's the ultimate tonic for distressed, irritated skin and will give it back its glow in no time at all.
Dermato Cleansing Milk, €11.99, Eucerin, available in selected pharmacies nationwide.
Eucerin offers a wide variety of affordable solutions to combating dry skin. This gentle but effective cleanser will remove all dirt and make-up without stripping the skin of essential moisture.
Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm, €58 (150ml), Kiehl's, available in Kiehl's boutiques nationwide.
A 24-hour intensive salve that services even the driest of skin types. It's so rich that it's probably best to wait five or 10 minutes after application before applying make-up.