There are so many things that make winter special, like sitting by a roaring fire or going for a long amble amidst some of the beautiful snow-capped winter wonderlands or festive markets found around the world. However, these are also the types of goings-on that can wreak havoc on your skin. While cold, windy conditions outside can leave your skin feeling sore, indoor heat zaps moisture from the air, not to mention your skin.
Thankfully, the good news is there are many simple, everyday solutions to fight the causes of winter skin and save your skin from becoming dry, itchy or irritated.
Here are some tips from dermatologist Dr Lilian Khan, the owner of Jeddah’s Dr Lilian Clinic and Brand Expert for Pond’s Arabia, which will help keep your skin feeling hydrated and supple throughout the season.
Perfect that face and neck cleansing routine
To keep your skin in tip-top condition, you will need to change cleansers as the winter air starts blowing in. During the summer, skin becomes oilier with the heat and humidity, but that all changes in the cold. Choose a mild, non-irritating cleanser, and make sure it doesn't contain any harsh ingredients, what’s more, if you have dry skin, you will need a milk or lotion-based moisturising cleanser. Whatever your skin type, you should still exfoliate gently once a week to remove debris, clogged pores and dry, flaky skin.
Don’t forget your moisturiser
Regardless of your skin type, you will need some sort of moisturising fluid, lotion or cream, even if you are acne-prone. Ensure you read labels carefully and choose a product that is specific to your skin type and problem. So, for example, if you suffer from acne, choose a hydrating lotion that is specific for acne-prone skin and that is labelled non comedogenic. If you have skin that’s susceptible to dry eczema, choose a hypoallergenic, non-irritating moisturiser.
Add sunscreen to your shopping basket
Just because you can feel some cool winter air, it doesn’t mean that the sun isn't shining along with its harmful rays. A broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects from UVA and UVB with the recommended SPF 30 and above is still mandatory.
Use lactic acids for softer skin
There’s a belief Cleopatra used to bathe in milk to keep her skin soft and smooth. That's not far from scientific truth as milk contains lactic acid. This ingredient is used in body moisturisers to help remove dry, flaky skin. Apply a moisturiser with lactic acid twice daily to rough, dry skin to get it smoother and looking healthier and hydrated.
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
One of the best pieces of advice when it comes to exfoliation is to find a great recipe for a make-at-home honey and sugar body scrub. Honey acts as a humectant and reduces inflammation, while sugar, when massaged on the skin, increases circulation and acts as a mild exfoliant. Apply this mixture once a week to elbows and knees and you will notice those areas becoming softer and brighter.
Make room for shower oils and lotions
Shower oils work wonders for people with dry, flaky or irritated skin. Many of us have busy lives and shower oils have reduced the need to use a moisturiser right after showering or bathing. If you prefer another option, you can turn to a good moisturising shower cleansing lotion.
Limit your shower and bath time
Taking a long hot shower or sitting in a steaming tub might seem to us like a good way to warm up and relax. However hot water dries out your skin by stripping it of its natural oils, and the longer you shower or bath, the dryer the skin becomes. You can curb your bath and shower time by putting a timer for 10 minutes, plus make sure the last rinse is with slightly colder temperature water.