While summer sun undoubtedly presents challenges to your skincare regime, the cold of wintertime brings its own problems. Simply turning your central heating on can leave your skin feeling dry and tight and in some cases cracking, inflammation and even eczema can occur.
Help is at hand however; check out these 10 tips to keep your skin healthy and glowing this wintertime.
1. Ask an expert
If you’re prone to skin problems or even if you’re not, paying a visit to a dermatologist can be a worthwhile investment. A specialist will analyze your skin type, offer advice on caring for your skin and recommend suitable skin care products that will suit you best.
Very often you can use cheaper, own-brand skin care products rather than expensive ones and the results will be just as good. In fact, if you compare the ingredients of the cheapest and most expensive products, you’ll find them pretty much the same; it’s the name and the fancy packaging you’re paying for.
2. Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize some more
Oil-based moisturizers are best for winter skin care as they create a protective layer on your skin which actually retains a lot more moisture than a cream does. Often, products marketed as night creams are oil-based.
Exercise caution though as not all oils are suitable for use on the delicate skin of your face and the wrong type can clog your pores. If in doubt, choose products which are face-specific and designed specifically for use during the winter.
And guys should not feel left out here; there are plenty of gents’ moisturizers out there which will leave your skin supple and smooth without making you smell like a girly!
3. Sunscreen; yes really!
Winter sunshine is just as damaging to your skin as summer sun, even though it might not feel as fierce. Snow glare can be especially harmful. Play it safe by applying a medium factor sunblock to your face and hands half an hour or so before going out into the sun.
4. Chapped hands
If you work or play outside, the skin on your hands can quickly become dry and chapped. This skin contains fewer oil secreting glands than other parts of your body and is actually thinner making it prone to drying, cracking and irritation during cold and wet weather.
Choose a hand skin care product to keep the skin on your hands soft and supple and wear gloves when you are outside on cold days.
5. Keep it dry
If your gloves or socks get wet; change them as soon as possible. Not only is having wet, cold hands and feet very unpleasant; it leads to skin damage and irritation. If you’re going to play outside, always take a change of gloves and socks (and a towel) and keep them somewhere dry so that you can change if necessary.
6. Dry air
It’s not just being outside which damages your skin. Heating systems in our homes cause the air to become dry which in turn dries out your skin. Small, domestic humidifiers are inexpensive and effective. Place several around your home for maximum effect.
7. Stay hydrated
It’s a common misconception that drinking water is good for your skin. Fluid intake is good for your overall health but it won’t necessarily give you better skin.
8. Feet first
Even though they might not be on display as much as they are during the summer months, your feet still need consideration during the winter particularly if you do suffer with dry skin or cracked heels. Use moisturizers which contain glycerin or petroleum jelly and remove dead skin using a gentle exfoliant to aid the penetration of moisturizing products.
9. Avoid peels
Facial peels, masks or astringent toners or cleansers should be avoided if your skin is dry as these products strip valuable oils and exacerbate dehydration. Opt for a mild cleansing milk or foam and choose face masks which are hydrating rather than clay-based which will have a dehydrating effect on your skin. Use such products little and often.
10. Keep baths balmy; not boiling
On a freezing cold day when you come home from a day’s skiing or just an afternoon strolling in the snow, a lovely hot bath is just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, there’s nothing worse for your skin. Intense heat breaks down lipids in the skin which causes moisture loss.
A brief lukewarm bath or shower is much better for your skin than an hour-long blisteringly hot soak. Try adding a few drops of baby oil to help moisturize and soften skin.