It’s a tricky time of year for your skin. Between cold weather and harsh winds, not to mention the dreaded ‘mask-ne’, sometimes it seems like you just can’t catch a break.
We caught up with skincare expert Melissa Wallace to get all the top tips to make sure your skin is glowing for the festive season.
“From cold air to central heating, our skin really suffers in winter and the skin barrier often becomes damaged. This means we have to give it a helping hand, to stop it becoming dehydrated and lacklustre!”
1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water helps your body flush out toxins, leaving you with healthier skin. Staying hydrated also increases elasticity in the skin which delays premature signs of ageing. Waking up with puffy eyes? When skin looks puffy, it’s actually retaining water because you’re dehydrated so quench your skin’s thirst. Keep hydrated, ensuring you are drinking two litres of water a day.
Staying hydrated is, in short, a panacea for many common skin complaints. Make this your first port of call if you’re having any difficulties with your skin.
As well as drinking water, it’s imperative that you regularly apply moisturiser to keep your skin happy and hydrated. With the onset of colder weather, combined with the drying effects of central heating, skin can often become drier and more sensitive.
Melissa recommends looking for a moisturiser that contains a combination of occlusives such as lanolin or mineral oil, humectants (glycerin, hyaluronic acid, glycols) and emolliants (ceramides, free fatty acids). If that sounds too complicated, her go-to moisturiser is Cera Ve, available on the high street and kind to the purse strings too!
3. Wear SPF every day
It’s easy to remember to wear SPF every day in the summer, but not everyone knows that SPF is just as essential in winter. Protecting skin against UV damage all year round is a cardinal rule of skincare. Sun damage can happen even when it’s grey and cloudy as although UVB rays do tend to weaken in winter, UVA rays can penetrate clouds and cause skin damage even on grey days.
Investing in a reliable sunscreen can significantly lower our risk of skin cancers as well as reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Melissa points out that UVA is responsible for 80% of skin ageing, so it’s important to apply SPF religiously every day. The easiest way to do this is to build it into your morning skincare routine.
4. Keep It Clean!
Think about what your skin is exposed to every single day- from makeup to sweat and pollution from your daily commute, your skin puts up with a lot. Cleansing your face every day removes traces of dirt, excess oil, pollutants and dead skin cells from your skin, ensuring none of these unwanted pollutants accumulate on your skin. For oily skin, clean morning and night and for dry or sensitive skin cleanse once daily in the evening.
It’s also important to choose the right cleanser. It can be helpful to swap out your usual product of choice for a richer, more hydrating cleanser to see you through the winter months.
5. DIY Dermatology
Get your hands dirty and blend your very own facemask at home. It’s easy to create a spa-worthy facemask that’ll help blast spots and clear up patchy skin. You’ve got your skincare favourites in your store cupboard- you just don’t know it yet!
Our favourite for the winter season is a massive hydration hit. Mix one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of coconut oil, ¼ ripe avocado and 2 drops of lavender oil and paint on your face. The honey will nourish your skin with a big hit of antioxidants while the coconut oil will deliver deep hydration and the lavender oil will soothe redness.
6. Keep Your Cool
You might believe that water couldn’t possibly be dehydrating, but hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, causing the skin to dry out and crack. Although it’s tempting to warm up with a hot shower or a long soak in the bath, try to turn the water temperature down so that it’s warm rather than hot. Pay extra attention to this when you’re washing your hands and face.
7. Avoid Exfoliating
Although it can be tempting to scrub away those excess skin cells, Melissa warns that any kind of mechanical exfoliation will do more harm than good in the winter months. Our skin barrier is already compromised in the winter months, and using scrubs, brushes or rubbing it with a flannel will only cause further damage. Instead, look for products that contain fruit enzymes or gentle lactic acid. These will help remove excess dead skin cells without causing any further damage.
8. Fight the Florals
It’s tempting to choose the skincare that smells the best, but often fragrance actually breaks down a healthy skin barrier. Instead, go for something more plain and simple and keep your skin in tip top shape.
9. Beat the Maskne
Wearing a mask has played havoc with our skin, but there are steps we can take to minimise the negative impact. Melissa recommends wearing a clean mask every day to avoid the build up of microbes and bacteria, all of which contribute to clogged pores and unhealthy skin. If you’re having real skin woes, try using a silk mask- these are more lightweight and give the skin more room to breathe.
10. Get Lippy
The skin on your lips is extremely delicate and thin, making it prone to drying and painful cracking, especially in the winter months. The worst thing you can do when this happens is lick your lips. Although this is a natural reaction to dryness, licking your lips actually has the opposite effect and only serves to dry them out even more. Instead, use a lip balm that’s ointment-based to lock in the moisture and aid healing of cracks and splits in the skin.
Taking care of your skin this winter doesn’t have to be difficult. Incorporate our tips above into your daily skincare routine, and you’ll not only feel the benefits in the short run but your skin will thank you well into summer!