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Winter Skin: How to protect your skin over the winter

winter skin

As the temperature drops, my clients are starting to complain about ‘winter skin’. If your skin has become red, tight or dull, then it’s time to upgrade your protection from the elements. Central heating, cold, dry air and biting winds all leech moisture from your skin, leaving it dehydrated and ageing prematurely. Here is my winter skin survival guide.

Winter skin needs gentle cleansing

hot showers dry out your skinIf my client’s complaint of tightness after cleansing over the winter, I recommend that they switch to a more creamy facial wash. I know its hard, but avoid steaming hot showers, which will dry out the skin on your face and body even more.

Your winter skin is probably dehydrated, not dry

If your skin feels tight, it is probably dehydrated rather than dry. (A dry skin lacks oil; a dehydrated skin lacks moisture). A hydrated skin is full of moisture like a juicy grape, but in the cold weather this moisture evaporates. The middle layer shrivels like a raisin and the layer on top flakes. All skin types are prone to this winter dehydration, even oily ones.

Protect during the day; repair at night

My clients are so concerned with anti-aging that they underestimate the damage caused by dehydration. A dehydrated skin cell ages prematurely and collagen goes brittle. Every year I nag them to switch to more hydrating ingredients  during the day. It’s far better to save anti-aging products, which are often oil based, until night.

Try layering a hydrating serum under your daycream

Many clients mistakenly reach for a thick oil-based cream during the winter, but then they wonder why their skin looks congested. Much better to layer a hydrating serum containing urea or hyaluronic acid underneath your daycream instead.

Chemical exfoliation

My clients complain that their winter skin looks dull. Its a vicious circle: the skin produces extra skin cells to protect it from the cold, but then pile up on the surface and the skin looks dull.  Cell renewal slows down during the winter so exfoliation is even more important. Try exfoliating with a chemical rather than a physical grainy one, which can scratch a sensitive skin. Chemical ones are far more gentle and can penetrate further into the pore.

Winter skin is more sensitive

winter effects rosaceaWinter can be a nightmare for those with sensitive skin. A damaged  barrier leaves winter skin vulnerable to sensitivity and redness, exacerbating  conditions such as rosacea. Every time we go from the cold outdoors to the warm indoors (or vice versa) our blood capillaries dilate and contract; eventually they lose elasticity and skin starts to look prematurely red. Swap anti-aging active ingredients for more calming ones – its not forever.

Eat water as well as drink it

I am a big fan of Dr Murad who recommends eating water as well as drinking it. When I tell clients that their skin is dehydrated, they look guilty and usually say: “Yes, I know I should drink more water.” Drinking water is great, but most of it ends up down the loo, so eat lots of water rich fruit and vegetables as well. Also make sure that your diet contains enough good fats to nourish your skin  from within – low fat-dieters often have skin like parchment paper.

Winter doesn’t stand a chance!

Charlotte Gwilliam
Charlotte Gwilliam

Anti-aging beauty blogger and full-time advocate for sunscreen

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