Winter is fast approaching, so it’s high time to revisit the impact that winter weather has on the skin and look at what we can do to keep our skin hydrated and healthy in the colder months.
Here are a few essential tips to restore and maintain your skin this winter.
1. Antioxidants and Sunscreen
A powerful and sometimes forgotten step is including a topical antioxidant in your skincare regimen. Prevention from the effects of sunlight and environmental factors, often referred to as the exposome, is vital even in winter. Antioxidants are our first line of defence when it comes to protecting our skin from outdoor exposure.
Additional oral antioxidant supplements keep our immune system healthy and functioning. Antioxidants including pure vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic and phloretin help fight off free radicals during the day and form a reservoir in the skin to repair existing damage to skin cells.
Applying sunscreen every day is vital. Whether it is summer or winter, ultraviolet light and visible light damage our skin cells, accelerating the ageing process and causing unwanted hyperpigmentation. No matter the season or the activity, sunscreen should always be applied and kept close!
As the cold season approaches, the use of indoor heating such as air conditioning, heaters, fireplaces, and electric blankets increases. The resultant heated air leads to moisture loss, causing dry, flaking skin and irritation. Use an appropriate moisturiser to restore the skin barrier and prevent further trans epidermal water loss and skin dehydration.
3. Avoid Hot Showers
Excessively long, hot showers can irritate the skin’s surface layers, causing damage to the skin barrier and leading to moisture loss (trans epidermal water loss). Hot showers can also trigger or worsen skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. It is better to have lukewarm showers and avoid long periods in hot showers or baths. Equally important is a skincare routine for the body and face to help support and maintain skin barrier function.
Our skincare needs need fine-tuning with the change of season. Our skin will need lighter moisturisers or even fewer steps in our routine during the summer because we secrete more sebum during the warmer and humid seasons and less during the colder, drier seasons.
It is not uncommon to change your skincare routine during winter by adding additional products or ingredients or even using a moisturiser that can provide more nourishment or moisture.
We lose more moisture during winter due to the colder, drier air and indoor heating and heaters. It is a good idea to take a gentler approach when choosing a cleanser to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils. If you are not used to using active ingredients or exfoliating your skin, winter is an excellent time to start! Exfoliation will remove the dead skin cells that sit on the skin’s surface.
Introducing ingredients like AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) to the skin will improve the skin condition by removing dead skin cells, accelerating the cell turnover process, and improving the skin’s moisture. Retinol increases epidermal turnover to create newer and healthier functioning skin cells. Ingredients like lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids keep your skin’s barrier healthy and functioning correctly by supporting the skin barrier, while hyaluronic acid is vital for hydrating and holding hydration in the skin. It is essential to consult a dermatologist or skincare therapist regarding the use of the different ingredients and skincare products.
Winter is also a safe time to do your in-clinic treatments such as chemical peels and micro-needling, as it allows a quicker recovery time. That’s because even though we are continually exposed to ultraviolet rays, the sun’s rays are not as intense in winter as in summer. Sunscreen and sun protection is always essential.
Our skin needs more attention during winter and will benefit from extra professional care. With the dead skin build-up on our skin during winter, chemical peels provide an exfoliation to revitalise the skin and allow better product penetration. Certain facial treatments can calm and soothe dry and sensitive skin caused by over-exposure to harsh weather.
As the change in seasons draws closer, now is the perfect time to consider the impact that winter weather has on your skin and ensure that you adjust your skincare routine for these changes. If you notice persistent concerns unrelated to the change in temperature or need assistance with choosing the best products for you, book an appointment with your dermatologist.