Cold weather can wreak havoc on skin. For many people it results in a slight dryness to commonly exposed areas (such as the face and hands), for others this can lead to a much worse issue with flaking, cracking and inflamed skin. If that sounds like you, don’t worry. Here are 4 steps you can take to give your skin the best chance this winter and welcome spring with a rosy glow.
Improve your bath routine
Firstly, you’ll need to turn down the temperature of your shower or bath. Hot water can inflame the skin and actually robs your skin of its natural moisture. If you're having a hot shower every day, you can end up with dry, itchy skin or even break out in rashes. Your skin should not change colour during or after your bath - there should be no redness left behind. If there is, your water is too hot and you must reduce the temperature.
Cutting down your shower time is also beneficial for your skin, as you expose your skin to the water less giving it less time to inflame and dehydrate. Try and limit your time under the water to less than 10 minutes.
Once you’re done, gently pat dry your skin and immediately apply moisturiser to lock in the moisture. You want your skin to still be a little damp to really capitalise on the water content.
Choose your moisturiser carefully
The product you’re putting on to your skin is incredibly important. If you're getting dry flakey skin, you're either not moisturising right now or using the wrong one. Opt for something that is rich in certain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, Dimethicone, glycerin or lanolin. You may want to incorporate oils into your skincare routine as well - good options are mineral oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and shea butter based products.
Avoid products that contain alcohol too. This will be harder than it sounds, as most products use a form of alcohol to help with absorption and give them fragrance. As a rule of thumb, thicker creams will have less alcohol in them.
Improve your diet and supplements
Beauty comes from the inside, as the old adage goes. Our diet is incredibly important for our bodies physical health as it provides most of the building blocks that make up our cells. When we exfoliate we remove older cells to reveal the younger ones beneath. These new cells have been created thanks to the supply of nutrients from your diet. Ensuring adequate nutrition is key - but there are a few particular nutrients are extra helpful.
Selenium is known for helping to protect cells from oxidative stress and the free radicals that can damage our skin. Vitamin C is another important player, as it helps build collagen (the protein fibre needed for growth and repair of the skin) whilst Biotin (one of the B vitamins) helps maintain hair, skin and nails. Fish oils have also been found to aid dry skin, due to the omega 3 acids.
Get your pH balance right
The pH balance of your skin is also incredibly important. The skin has evolved to be slightly acidic, to provide a natural protection from harmful bacteria and fungal infections. Soap is alkaline, with a pH of 8-10, so it throws off your skin’s own balance. This disruption to our acid mantle leaves your skin at risk of suffering from dryness, sensitivity, inflammation or even acne. Skin that leans more alkaline can be identified by dryness and wrinkles, whilst acidic skin tends to be more irritated and itchy.