Beauty SOS: How to beat winter skin problems
Masks and cold weather playing havoc with your skin? Expert therapist Diana Jenner shares tips for a glowing complexion
Winter skin troubles are in overdrive this year with dry skin worsened by extra handwashing and cold weather walks. Then there’s maskne (and steamed-up specs!) – both unwelcome side effects of those essential face coverings.
So, to help us tackle our troubled skin and turn it all fresh and glowy-in-a-good-way, Muddy sent out a winter skin beauty SOS. Diana Jenner, expert skincare therapist at the award-winning Hampshire salon Orchids Retreat answered our call…
We love our winter walks but hate what the cold weather does to our skin. Why is it such a challenge at this time of year?
Winter weather can be very harsh on the skin: central heating combined with bitter winds and other environmental factors can make skin very sensitised. Combine that with the need to wear a face mask and it may become super-sensitised. This leads to redness, dryness, sensitivity and can also cause skin on the face to feel sore and sting when you apply products. Likewise, extra hand washing and antibacterial sanitiser in colder weather can cause the same challenges for hands.
What is it about cold weather that lowers our skin defences?
The reason that the skin stings when applying products in winter is the impaired barrier function caused by the environmental factors. This causes products to penetrate too quickly, resulting in a stinging or itching sensation.
Dryness is also a big winter skin challenge: cold weather, hot water, indoor heating and soap-based products can strip skin of its essential moisture levels. Skin might look dull, feel tight, dry and flaky or feel itchy. This is caused from lack of moisture and the natural oils in at the skin that form the lipid barrier. When the lipid barrier is depleted, it can weaken the skin’s protective barrier, leaving it susceptible to redness, stinging and irritation.
So how can we keep our skin glowing, healthy and maskne free this winter?
We can’t change external factors but we can prevent some issues and take extra care of our skin. With the right care, the impaired barrier function can be improved and heal within a couple of days. Layering hydration will help to maintain the lipid barrier and protect the skin. It’s also important to combine moisture-retaining products with a twice daily double cleanse to remove impurities, pollutants and makeup from the skin. A hydrating spritz can also help boost moisture levels and ensure a more even absorption of moisturiser.
Have you ever suffered from winter skin issues?
Yes. Living by the coast in the New Forest with a dog to walk, I’m outside at least twice a day in all types of weather, so I’ve had to figure out how protect my skin against the elements. In the winter, I use a trio of Dermalogica products when running along the coastal path, walking around the forest or exploring a city. Since using them, I’ve been amazed at how my skin doesn’t sting or become raw and chapped when exposed to bitter gale force winds, cold temperatures, central heating and log fires.
What products do you use as part of your winter skin routine?
To help the barrier function repair and reduce redness, sensitivity and dryness, I use and recommend a trio Dermalogica products – a calming gel, overlayed by two barrier defence products.
Tell us more…
Lightweight and hydrating, Dermalogica Calm Water Gel soothes sensitivity with a Dual Hyaluronic Acid technology that penetrates deeper skin and quenches the surface layers. It also has natural water-binding properties to help lock in moisture. In the summer months this is great as a hydrating serum or bedtime moisturiser, but in winter, I recommend layering it.
How do the barrier products help?
Applying Barrier Defense Booster oil after the gel creates a natural protection film that reinforces the lipid barrier and protects against further irritation from the elements. It also locks in moisture, soothes, and nourishes to restore balance to sensitive skins. The soothing oat oil it contains helps calm acne and eczema.
Last to go on is the Barrier Repair moisturiser. It has a silicone base that gives the skin a protective layer, helping it repair and protecting the integrity of the skin against further damage. It also contains vitamins C and E to help stimulate collagen production and combat skin-damaging free radicals.
This can be used on its own or under your daily SPF and night creams. It’s also light enough to use around eyes as an all-in-one product (I love this for air travel and its great on any bit of eczema or dry patches on the body or hands).
Are there any other things we can do to prevent environmental issues causing skin havoc?
During the winter months, I recommend going one layer heavier with day and night-time moisturisers to help maintain moisture levels. For oily or super-sensitive skins, Barrier Repair would be enough, but if skin is dry then I’d recommend putting an additional layer on top. During the day, always remember to wear sun protection – those UVA (ageing rays) are out 365 days a year! Then, at night, use a rich nourishing moisturiser to help repair and restore the skin overnight.
What about redness – any tips to tone it down to a heathy glow?
- Make sure your facial cleanser and body wash are neutral PH balanced.
- Shower in warm water – hot water strips skin of its natural lipid barrier.
- Use a humidifier to help bring moisture to your home or office.
- Try to get plenty of sleep and eat a balanced diet. If the body is run down, it will be more susceptible to histamine reactions, causing the skin to become red and irritated.
- Avoid shocking the skin to prevent broken capillaries. When the skin is exposed to extremes of heat (freezing outside to extra warm inside) the little blood capillaries expand and contract too quickly causing them to break leaving little red lines along the nose and cheeks.
- Check in with your dermatologist about swapping any skincare medication for alternative treatments.
- Consult your doctor about any nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances as they can also cause skin sensitivity and redness.
For customised skincare advice, contact Diana and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org