Winter's dark days, biting chill, breathtaking winds and dreary rain doesn't just put our mood on a bit of a downer—it can wreak havoc with our complexions, too. Cold weather can cause our skin to be dry, flaky, red and inflamed faster than you can say "knitwear." But it is possible to keep your complexion plump, happy and luminous throughout the winter months—you just need the expert know-how. Thus, we called on a host of skincare experts to reveal the tried-and-true skin tips that will keep your complexion looking its glowing best all winter long. Keep scrolling for the 12 essential winter skin tips you need to know.
Avoid Fragrance and Alcohol
"Switch to a gentle fragrance-free cleanser, as strong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin," suggests Dr. Ross Perry Medical Director of CosmedicsUK. "I’d advise choosing a cream-based cleanser, and use toners and astringents sparingly as quite often these contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin out."
"Take supplement with omega 3, 6 and 9," advises Dr. Sophie Shotter. "My favourite is Zenii Triple Omegas ($40). A lot of people don’t realize the importance of these to skin health, but there is significant evidence that omegas can even improve eczema. Their role is to maintain a healthy cell membrane, which is what allows a cell to hold water. This healthy barrier will support softer more supple skin."
Dr. Nicholas Perricone agrees. "A supplement I advise patients not to be without is a high-quality Omega-3," he says. "I’ve seen some of the most dramatic results in terms of skin transformation with those who have chronically dry skin who begin an omega 3 supplement regimen. They’ll quickly feel the difference in their skin and notice diminished dryness and increase in suppleness and radiance."
Moisturize Your Hands
"Hands tend to get forgotten in winter and yet can highlight signs of aging when they’re not looked after and appear dry, lined and cracked," notes Dr. Perry. "Wear gloves if you’re cleaning or washing up to protect your hands. Frequent washing of hands in winter will also help keep cold and flu germs away, so always use a hand moisturizer afterwards."
Eat More Avocado
"Eating healthy fats such as avocado has been proven to help maintain supple, spring-y skin," says Dr. Rekha Tailor, medical director and founder of Health & Aesthetics. "Healthy fats are essential for keeping your face and hands looking healthy and prevent them from drying out in the cold winter months." (Plus, eating avocados can help your hair, too.)
"People tend to think that once the winter months arrive, they can stop using SPF on their face," says Dr. Tailor. "However, despite the fact that the temperature drops significantly in the winter months, the sun can still be extremely strong and damaging to the skin, especially when reflecting off the snow. Therefore, it’s important to continue to wear an SPF on your face, neck and hands (or anything that’s exposed). Doing so will help to reduce the drying of the skin and hold off premature ageing for longer."
While there’s nothing better than snuggling up under a warm blanket in front of the fire in winter, staying active boosts circulation, gets your pulse rate up and gives you a healthy glow. "Even just a half an hour walk three times a week will help keep your skin looking radiant," explains Dr Tailor.
Choose Your Accessories Carefully
When the temperatures dip, most of us reach for our cozy scarves and beanies. While cold weather accessories are essential for protecting against the elements, many of the knitted accessories can be uncomfortable and irritating when worn directly next to the skin. "Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, can be accentuated by rough, irritating winter fabrics," explains Dr Tailor. "To avoid suffering from irritated skin and scalp when wearing winter clothes, try to opt for items made from natural, breathable materials. This helps the air to circulate and reduces the build-up of heat in one place, which can add to the irritation."
You also need to take good care of your knitwear. Pamela Marshall, founder of skincare brand Mortar & Milk, notes that a lot of clients get acne around the jawline and neck during the winter months. "This is usually due to dirty scarves and jacket collars that constantly touch our face," she says. "Make sure you're cleaning these regularly. If you see makeup around the collar of your puffer jacket, it needs to be cleaned.
Stock Up On Kale
Kale is packed with vitamin C—in fact, one cup has more than 50 per cent of the recommended vitamin C you need in a day, according to Dr. Tailor. "This helps your skin to grow new cells and heal—just what you need to keep skin looking bright and fresh," he says.
If you're a fair-weather dry skin brusher, try to keep up the habit throughout winter. Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymphatic system and supports detoxification. "Before bathing, brush your skin with a soft natural brush—always brush upwards towards the heart and be gentle with the strokes," advises Lisa de-la-Plain, co-founder and professional beauty therapist at Beauty Flash. “This helps remove dead skin cells to unclog and decongest skin, which will help it absorb more nutrients."
Get Ingredient Savvy
Dr. Shotter reveals the ingredients you should factor into your skincare regimen this winter and why:
- Urea: This is a more gentle exfoliant. It’s a great go-to ingredient throughout the winter months for both face and body, when our skin barrier can’t necessarily tolerate the strong active ingredients it does in spring and summer.
- Lipids: Ceramides are long-chain lipids which support your skin cells, keeping them in an orderly matrix. Between summer and winter, our ceramide levels drop significantly, meaning our skin loses more water through TEWL. Studies have actually shown that the combination of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids are even more effective than each ingredient alone. Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore ($128) is a perfect combination for a winter moisturiser.
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- Squalene is another great winter moisture ingredient. Squalene is a natural oil produced by your skin, which decreases as you age. It not only nourishes and moisturises your skin but also helps to increase that sluggish cell turnover.
- Retinol: Winter skin can feel more irritated, but it’s important to still pay attention to retinol. A healthy dose of vitamin A will help to speed up the cell turnover, which becomes sluggish during the winter months. Keeping your skin stimulated will keep it looking more vibrant, healthy and less wrinkled.
Sleep For Glowing Skin
Dr. Murad, board certified dermatologist and founder of Murad skincare, says getting deep sleep is one of the best things you can do for your skin and your health. "Sleep has important therapeutic benefits—it may be one of your body’s most productive times for repairing every system in your body, including skin which is your largest system and the one that displays the most dramatic signs of sleep deprivation," he explains. "My top tip is eating a walnut or two before bed. Rich in antioxidants, omegas and one of the best food sources of melatonin, they may help improve your sleep.”
Don't Overuse Oils
There is a school of thought in the skincare world that using oils can exacerbate skin conditions like rosacea and acne. If you feel like your skin could benefit from some extra nourishment on the coldest days, esthetician Nataliya Robinson advises not overseeing pure oils like jojoba or argan. “Using pure oils on your skin daily can damage your lipid barrier. The best way to use oils is to mix the oil into your usual day or night cream.”
Try These 5 Skin-Boosting Products Below...
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Packed with enzymes, this treatment very gently exfoliates the skin, essentially giving your skin's natural repair processes a helping hand. It also helps to lock in hydration so you wake up to a brighter, smoother complexion.
Created to treat and soothe winter skin, this multi-tasking serum contains vitamin C ester and omegas 3, 6 and 9 to brighten pigmentation and plump out fine lines and wrinkles. It also reduces redness, whiet leaving the complexion looking more radiant.
This thick, emollient-rich cream is fragrance- and color-free and designed to lock moisture in in even the driest skin types.
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