Winter weather is not fun for your skin. Cold weather means the air is dry, which then steals moisture away from the skin. Without care, dry skin can lead to cracking and bleeding, and harsh winter wind makes the problem worse. But not only is it the outdoors that cause damage. Indoor heat further robs the air of moisture, as do hot showers or baths and harsh cleansers.
To reduce redness, chapping, and keep skin more healthy and comfortable this winter, try these tips that won’t break the bank.
1. USE LUKEWARM WATER
i.e. turn the water thermometer down! Hot showers and baths always feel good in the winter. There really is no better feeling than thawing out in a nice warm bath with a good book or playlist. I am so bad for this, but I do try when I can to avoid showering with hot water. Choosing lukewarm water over hot helps to avoid stripping the skin of natural oils which in turn help prevent the skin from drying out.
2. MOISTURISE IMMEDIATELY
Such a pain in the ass task, but one your skin will love you for. Your skin not only needs more moisture in winter but moisture right after you wash. Applying moisture to damp skin (pat dry but don’t dry completely) helps seal that dampness into the skin. Keep a bottle in the bathroom, and at every sink and use liberally every time you wash- this even applies to your hands.
3. CHOOSE YOUR MOISTURISER CAREFULLY
Some high street moisturisers have petroleum-based ingredients that can further dry your skin in the winter months. Did you know you shouldn’t use Vaseline on your lips, for this reason, it’s really bad for you, so much so that you can create a problem instead of preventing it.
Be sure to choose a moisturiser that has natural, nourishing ingredients. I prefer an oil-based cream rather than a water-based solution, as it’s more likely to help your skin retain moisture in the winter. For the face, I love the Body Shop’s Vitamin E face cream and for the body, their Hemp body butter. As they’re made with natural, hydrating ingredients like hemp seed oil, essential fatty acids, shea butter and more, which help soothe dry, itchy skin.
Time to get out your mittens, hats and scarfs to protect skin from cold winds, rain, and snow. You can find a list of my most have winter cosies here
Cranking up the heating may seem like the best thing to do in sub-zero temperatures. But did you know heating systems dry out the air? So consider purchasing a humidifier for your home, particularly in your bedroom, to put moisture back into the air and help prevent your skin from drying out. You can buy reasonably cheap humidifiers from most local DIY stores, I like this one from Argos as it doubles as a night light and diffuser
(water!) If you are like me, we tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like tea and coffee. But don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside, out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time, or mix it up with one of these infusion bottles, perfect for making water that little more interesting. (and it’s also a great way to track your water intake)
7. HYDRATE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
As well as drinking lots of water, eating foods high in water content can help hydrate your skin from the inside out. Try watermelon, honeydew, apples, oranges, kiwi, and watery veggies like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and zinc to support the healthy production of collagen and elastin. Also, consider eating more fatty fish to give your skin the building blocks it needs to appear fresh and smooth.
8. OVERNIGHT MOISTURISE
If you suffer from bad dry skin on your hand especially, try the overnight intense moisturise technique. Did you know dryer areas such as hands, feet, elbows, and knees have thin skin and tend to lose moisture faster than other areas of the body. Especially when your hands are almost always in contact with the elements. You can buy many masks for these areas such as the Oh K! foot mask and the Starskin Hollywood hand model gloves. However, if these aren’t an option for you, you can always purchase a deep moisturiser balm and wear cotton gloves and socks to sleep in.
It may sound funny, but getting rid of dead skin cells actually helps keep your skin looking and feeling great. We often forget to help the skin slough off dead cells in the winter, particularly on our hands. Think about it, if your skin is dry, moisture can’t get in. Find an exfoliating mask and use it on your face and your hands, as well as gently on your lips, then follow immediately with moisture to truly see a smoother difference. My go-to exfoliator for skin is the Ocean Salt face and body exfoliator from Lush, and for my lips, the honey lip scrub again from Lush.
10. AVOID TOXINS
Your winter skin is more fragile so try to avoid nasty toxins that can irate it. If you have eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, you know already you have to avoid allergens and irritants that may trigger a flare-up. But did you consider fabrics as well? Avoid irritating fabrics (like wool) and detergents containing chemicals, and use mild cleansers and moisturisers designed for sensitive skin.
11. CHANGE YOUR CLEANSER
Cleansers can be extremely drying to the skin. If you’re used to using options that contain glycolic or salicylic acid, rotate with a more hydrating version that contains moisturizing ingredients. I swear by the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser from Liz Earle. The creamy cleanser melts away your makeup and everyday dirt, leaving your skin smooth and refreshed. It also comes with the famous hot cloth that helps exfoliate your skin. For only £16, you really can’t go wrong. After cleansing, apply a hydrating toner and moisturiser to seal in moisture.
12. USE MASKS
Using masks is a great way to treat your skin to some intense moisture. Homemade hydrating masks can provide needed moisture in the winter months. Use natural moisturizing ingredients like honey, avocado, yoghurt, olive and jojoba oils, almond oil, bananas, and aloe vera. You can read here some of my favourites to help your skin.
If you have any other ways of combatting the winter skin blues, I’d love to hear them, share your tips below!
Never forget. You only get one skin, so look after it! Take time out of your busy life to pamper and preen yourself- your later self will thank you for it!