Winter-proof your skin

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Winter-proof your skinEven though it’s chilly out, your skin is actually more likely to get dehydrated and flaky in winter, and even sun-damaged! But you don’t need a complete beauty routine overhaul – a few tweaks should do the trick.

Dos & Don’ts

DON’T crank up the hot water in your shower. Of course it’s freezing in the morning, but hot water followed by cool, dry air is a key culprit when it comes to rough, itchy arms, legs and backside.
DO lock in moisture after a bath or shower by patting – not rubbing – your skin dry, and immediately applying a thick body lotion.
DON’T swap the treadmill for the couch just because the days are shorter and colder. Exercise increases your heart rate, which means more nutrients and oxygen reach your skin cells, boosting elasticity and radiance.
DO drink plenty of fluids – and no, we don’t mean red wine (though the odd glass does have antioxidant benefits). Drink water to help your skin detox and replenish the moisture lost due to heaters and air conditioners.
DO switch to a richer moisturiser and cleanser in the cooler months. Alternatively, add a few drops of a nourishing oil to your usual moisturiser. Your skin is more likely to dry out in cold weather, so it needs extra protection against dehydration.
DON’T forego sunscreen. Just because it’s not hot and sunny, doesn’t mean your skin is invulnerable to sun-damage. Cold, cloudy days can be especially dangerous, because we don’t feel the sun on our skin, but up to 80% of the sun’s rays still make it through the clouds.
DO apply a nourishing, moisturising mask once a week or so. Your skin just can’t get too much moisture in winter.
DON’T forget to look after your lips. Nobody likes a flaky pout. Buff your lips twice a week with a toothbrush and apply a nourishing natural lip balm.
DO keep a mini tube of hand moisturiser in your handbag. You’ll be washing your hands often (we hope) to avoid catching one of the nasty viruses floating around this time of year, which can dry your hands out.

Your winter beauty toolkit

With just a few clever, basic products, you’ll cruise through winter and come out glowing by the time spring arrives. Here’s what you need:
• A protective day cream with an SPF of at least 15 that buffers skin but also provides essential care.
• A reparative night-time cream that provides rich benefits but doesn’t suffocate skin or feel sticky or oily. Try one that contains alpha hydroxy acids, which help to peel away dead, dry skin, reducing flaking while offering deep hydration.
• A gentle cleanser that purifies and cleans skin without stripping it of essential oils or disturbing the pH balance.
• A rich, tinted lip balm to keep lips supple and hydrated.
• A dry oil (such as MorrocanOil) can help to smooth flyaway hair (your mane also tends to dry out in winter) and act as a skin balm in a pinch.
• Multitasking products, such as Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream or Eucerin’s Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm, are your skin’s best friends in winter. They can be used to sooth dry patches such as heels or elbows, as a lip balm, to smooth dry hair, and to help heel cuts or burns.

Home remedies

• Help your skin to detox in winter by drinking a glass of hot (but not too hot) water mixed with some fresh lemon juice every morning.
• Slough off dead skin cells with a home-made scrub: mix two cups each finely ground salt and rougher rock or flaked sea salt, add ½ cup olive, almond or coconut oil, and a drop or two of your favourite essential oil. Mix well and store in an airtight container.
• Homemade facemasks are an inexpensive and often effective way to boost dry winter skin. Try mashing up an avocado with a little olive oil and slather generously over skin for about 10 minutes before rinsing off, cleaning and moisturising – avo is very nourishing and will boost moisture while supplying your skin with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
• A cultured milk (natural yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream) mask will soften, rejuvenate and restore the natural pH balance of your skin, protecting it from negative influences of winter air. Apply for 15 minutes, then rinse, cleanse and moisturise.

Image: lev dolgachov/Shutterstock.com

Other articles you may be interested in:
Top beauty tips for winter

Written by

Rachel McGregor is a Cape Town journalist (and part-time narcissist) specialising in food, health and lifestyle-related features. In her spare time she loves to cook and poke fun at hipsters. Sometimes she dreams of giving it all up and becoming a millionaire.

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  1. Debbie

    I suffer with dry feet during winter. Very good article and advise to take heed to

    6 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Kay

    So useful! I use shea butter on my face if I know I will be out in the cold

    6 years ago •

  1. Mohamed

    I love the body shops shesha and moringa oils. and it can be used on hair, face and body! The body shop has a sale at the moment, its selling for about 80 i think, instead of 99!

    6 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Kay

    It is so hard to drink water when it’s freezing cold!

    6 years ago •

  1. Tanya

    Thanks so much for this article,great ideas,I can’t wait to start making my own masks

    6 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    will definately try the hot water and lemon to detox and see how it goes.

    6 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    Thanks for the great tips! Really needed them

    6 years ago •

  1. Guccigirl

    PLEASE give us more toolkits! It takes the thinking out of shopping.
    Home remedies are also always great.

    6 years ago •

  1. Smeda

    Thank you for the tips! I’m always struggling with dry skin during the winter.

    6 years ago •

  1. Mpbutterfly

    Just love the home remedies! Definitely going to try out all of them.

    6 years ago •

  1. Carolynmcm

    A really informative and great article! Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour products are some of my favorites for winter.

    6 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    i love to use the gatineau face mask and sleep in it its amazing

    6 years ago •

  1. The Ferosh 1

    Great articles,straight to the point. Hopefully no 1 will have dull ashen skin this winter!

    6 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    I dread winter! Good to read some extra tips!

    6 years ago •

  1. Bella

    Great tips!!!!! Thanks for this article

    6 years ago •

  1. CharlieW

    Definately going to try a cultured milk mask!

    6 years ago •

  1. Malherbe

    I have nothing more to say that everything about me all over is dry even my face I don’t know wht to do about that I will try all the above mentioned but are very sceptical about that coz nothing works for my oh so dry skin

    6 years ago •

  1. Debsie

    Thanks for the home remedies. Im always struggling with my skin during the winter

    6 years ago •

  1. Smal

    My biggest problem in winter is dry hands, elbows and knees! Thanks for the above tips, great article

    6 years ago •

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