Just as we use different products on different parts of the face, and at different times of the day and night, it’s also the case that we need to adapt our skincare routines with the changing seasons.
During winter the loss of air moisture, combined with using hotter water, besides having the heating on more often and at a higher temperature, can result in parched, flaky skin no matter how much serum or moisturiser you apply.
However, once you’ve realised that the weather is the culprit, there are steps you can take to help you combat the negative effects of winter and help maintain luminous, hydrated skin.
When it’s cold outside, there’s often nothing nicer than sinking into a hot bath or steaming shower, but unfortunately, the hot water can strip skin of its natural oils. If you can, the best thing for your skin is using cooler water to try to avoid damaging the skin barrier and losing hydration which may, in turn, increase skin sensitivity and redness.
While you may be very disciplined about applying daily UVA and UVB sunscreen protection during the summer when the sun is out, those rays are still a risk during winter, even if the sun feels absent. The strength of UVA rays remains the same all year and can contribute to aging, while UVB rays, though weaker during winter, can still cause damage, so using a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or more is still a daily essential.
It might seem obvious but swapping from lotion to cream will help prevent water loss through the skin. Creams tend to be more oil-rich which makes them thicker and more moisturising, as well as being more easily absorbed through the skin barrier.
If you don’t do this already, try to apply moisturising products when your skin is still slightly damp – after your bath or shower. This improves the penetration and effectiveness of ceramides, lipids, and humectants, so pat lightly and apply before you are completely dry.
Even if it takes a bit of getting used to, try not to over-exfoliate in the winter (stick to around twice a week) so that you don’t lessen your skin’s natural protection. Because the air is dryer, you sweat less during colder months which means that less oil is produced on your skin’s surface – reducing its moisture barrier.
Remember that lips get a double whammy in colder weather. Even though they need year-round care, they’re more inclined to chap in the winter because the air is drier, and you’re more likely to lick them as they become less hydrated – and so it goes on. A good routine is to exfoliate them gently to remove dry skin then re-hydrate them with your favourite balm, preferably one without colour or perfume to minimise the chances of irritation.
And if you really want to do everything you can to up the moisture levels, you could consider investing in a bedside humidifier to help keep your skin more hydrated overnight.
Even choosing some of these steps can help you winter-proof your skin.