It comes around every year, winter, unlike in Game of Thrones, and every year winter skincare problems remain a thing.
So Abigail James, ‘The Skin Coach’ who is known for her healing hands, unique massage method and skincare knowledge, has shared some winter skincare solutions with me…
It’s getting hot in here
Central Heating is one of the biggest causes of sensitivity in winter! As it is not a natural environment the dry air literally dries out the skin.
“Think back to when you were younger and you would collect conkers and put them in the airing cupboard to dry out, they came out hard, crisp and wrinkled!”
Tip: If your house feels really warm and dry in the winter, I would suggest getting a humidifier or, if you prefer a DIY home remedy, place a small bowl of water on top of the radiator and you will find that over the course of the day the water will evaporate into the air. This increases the moisture in the air, meaning it will dry out skin less.
Diet can really affect skin health. Be a squirrel in the winter, stock up on gnawing nuts; brazil, macadamia, pecan. “Pack in the root veg too… remember things grow seasonally for a reason.”
Why so sensitive?
Skin gets dry and flaky in winter, we’ve all been there! You need to be exfoliating dry skin all year round. However, dry skin can often get sensitive in winter. This sensitivity needs to be treated before you exfoliate so as not to aggravate the problem area.
Use cleansing milks, oils and balms and avoid aromatherapy as this can be an irritant. Tropical biotics are also really good as they help to support the skin PH levels.
“Peptides are also great; they help to support collagen production which is extremely important, as collagen acts as the building blocks for skin. Finally, introduce a little Omega oils to help restore your protective barrier.”
Lips are often the area of the face that suffer most in the cold winter air. There are more nerve endings & the blood supply is rife. Think about how sensitive a kiss on the lips can be.
“We lick our lips, eat with them, kiss with them, stretch the skin, often bite/chew it, smoke, drink from a glass – all of these factors will increase sensitivity and impact will cause the finer layers to chap.”
Which balms to palm?
People are often inclined to layer on lashings of lip balm in winter, but sometimes less is be more here.
I think plant based oils are the most effective types of lip balm. Mineral oils feel silky but simply coat the skin rather than treating it. They leave a film providing a little protection but also stop moisture getting in. Look for coco butters, avocado oils, shea coconut and glycerine.
Tip: Avoid synthetic fragrance, it’s on your lips it’s not adding any extra nourishment and you’re going to be ingesting it!
A combination of things
A really common winter skin complaint is the development of combination skin in winter. Clients often develop dry cheeks and an oily t-zone. You can definitely multi mask for specific areas of the face i.e. deep cleansing, clay on the T-zone, something more hydrating and soothing on the cheeks.
“I would recommend serums like hyaluronic acid, peptides and low-level retinol. All of these should be good for the whole face, you might just choose to apply less in certain areas.”
Water, water, everywhere
“It’s so important to keep drinking water in winter! Cells need to be well hydrated; think grape and raisin.” If cells aren’t properly hydrated then you are more likely to compromise the barrier function and be prone to sensitivity, chapping and dryness.
Cells are 70% water so need it to function properly. Healthy cells result in a more rapid renewal rate and a more glowing complexion. A well-hydrated cell is plump and softens the appearance of fine lines.
Paling in Comparison
People often come to me in winter saying that their skin is looking duller and they want to know why. No real mystery, we are in and out of cold temperatures. We go from being wrapped up warm to cold and then head into a house with central heating.
Generally, the cold slows circulation as the body is keeping the vital organs pumped with blood. There are also external elements at play here. During winter, we tend to eat more hearty, heavy and sluggish forming foods. Plus, our deep tan from summer is now a thing of the past so our paler skin may feel duller.
Mix it up?
You may not need to totally overhaul your skincare routine when the seasons change but a different climate will have an impact on the skin. Don’t go with anything too nourishing, you need to balance out your routine and too much of one thing isn’t good.
Tip: Get into mixing up serums; omega oils and face masks are also amazing during the colder months.
Share your top tips and favourite products!