Keeping your skin healthy in the winter months

You’d be forgiven for thinking that skin is at its most problematic during summer months. After all, we’re at more risk of sunburn, we’re slapping on the SPF on a daily basis and we’re likely to get a bit sweaty.

But for anyone who has experienced a bout of acne, dermatitis or psoriasis during the colder months, you’ll know that winter comes with its own set of skincare hurdles.

And it’s not surprising when you think about it. Drastically varying temperatures (hello heaters and gale-force winds) and layers of close-fitting clothing can result in inflamed skin or skin cells turning over at a slower speed than usual. Together these factors can mean skin is dull, rough or flaky in texture or prone to congestion.

It all sounds a bit high-maintenance, doesn’t it? But it’s worth remembering that the skin is the body’s biggest organ and occasionally needs some extra TLC. To tackle the winter skincare blues, we spoke to Felicity West, a registered nurse and beauty expert, about some simple steps you can take to keep it healthy and happy.


Avoid very hot showers

This is the one you won’t want to hear, so we’ll come out with it first. Having regular, super-hot showers can be very disruptive to the skin’s barrier.

“Hot showers can be irritating for the skin,” says Felicity. “Try to stay away from hot showers and baths during winter – and make sure your skin is moisturised.”

Unfortunately, long, hot showers can remove the natural oils your skin needs, and cause inflammation or even rashes. This is due to the your blood rising closer to the skin’s surface, which causes the redness and irritation.


Don’t over-exfoliate

It can be very tempting when you have psoriasis or acne to want to slough away the dead skin. But over-exfoliating – with a scrub, brush or chemical wash – can damage the skin.

“Your skin tends to feel dry in winter, so people will exfoliate to get rid of the dryness,” says Felicity, “but it naturally makes the problem worse.”

If it’s already too late for you (we’ve all been there), she suggests keeping hydrated and taking fish oil or zinc supplements to reduce the inflammation. Generally, the maximum you should be exfoliating is three times a week, but try to keep it to just once a week.


Stick to natural ingredients

“Avoid products with nasty ingredients, so things that contain paraffins or lanolin,” Felicity says. Particularly if you have skin sensitivities, parrafins can cause skin inflammation, while lanolin isn’t suitable for sensitive skin or people prone to break-outs. If this is you, make sure you’re using hypoallergic washing detergent and opting for skin products with anti-oxidants.

“Make sure you’re using natural ingredients, like jojoba oil which is quite similar to oil we produce ourselves – that can be quite calming and soothing and hydrating,” says Felicity.

She also recommends products that contain CoEnzyme Q10 or Vitamin C for people whose skin needs a little extra healing.


Make the most of natural acids

Looking for the perfect remedy for bringing the brightness back to your skin? Nature holds the key.

“To make your skin glow, a really good product to put on your skin is Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, as it’s a natural brightener,” says Felicity. “It also helps protect against the sun, and so works really well with sunscreen.”

In winter, Felicity applies Vitamin C to her own skin to increase hydration and reduce inflammation, and keep any redness under control. She also says, while it may not be very sunny outdoors, we should be applying sunscreen every day. “Sunscreen is still very important – you still get age spots in winter,” she says.


Pump up the vitamin C

Vitamin C deserves a second mention as it’s officially (unofficially) our hero-vitamin during the winter months. Taken in the form of a supplement, it has myriad benefits including anti-inflammatory properties.

“Vitamin C is good for regulating oil in people prone to breakouts,” says Felicity. “You can get Vitamin C from leafy greens and citrus.”


Felicity’s favourite winter products:

“In winter, I always like to use a creamy cleanser, because skin tends to dry out a bit during winter from sitting in heated rooms,” she says. “I like to use Vitamin C which helps with hydration and to keep my redness under control. Then I use a moisturiser which has resveratrol – the anti-oxidant that you get in red wine – and sunscreen.”

 

Find your winter skincare fix at one of the amazing beauty stores in Centre including L'Occitane, Priceline, TerryWhite Chemmart, Pharmacy 4 Less, Seacret or The Body Shop

Discover the possibilities at Grand Central.