Winter-proof your skin

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

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