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The best thing you can do for your skin this winter

winter skin

There is one thing you can do for your winter skin that will make the biggest difference to how well you fair in the cold, dry weather.

No, it's not a fancy, new product. It's not a new spa treatment. It's not a new supplement either.

It's all to do with the temperature of your showers. Turning the heat down a little is the kindest thing you can do for your skin this winter.

I say this as a true lover of a scalding shower. After a cold day outside (or inside for that matter), is there anything purer or more joyful than reheating yourself under a stream of hot water? Not for me. But the reality is, it's not good for you. At least not for your skin. And lowering the temp, just a little makes all the difference. Here's why.

The surface of your skin in not a smooth sheet. It's an expanse with holes and crevices. And these holes are filled with lipids, the natural oils and fat that occur in your dermis. This diagram shows how the lipids fill in the gaps. These keep you nourished and moisturised, protecting all the water in the deeper layers of your skin and sealing it all in.

But just like any other oil, when heating, it liquifies. And when you add running water into the mix, it washes away. Super hot showers are literally washing all the protective oils out of your skin. This causes major dryness. It leaves you scaly, itchy and can trigger eczema in those that are prone to it. There's also evidence hot showers can exacerbate conditions like acne, psoriasis or rosacea. It also leaves the holes in your skin open for bacteria and infection. And it allows all the water in the lower layer to escape, leaving you a dried out husk. Not good.

Of course, sometimes hot showers are unavoidable. Especially since they're great for muscle recovering and can help alleviate respiratory conditions. So, if you are indulging in a steamy rinse, remember to moisturise thoroughly when you're done. Your whole body, not just your face. And make sure to use a good quality product rich in lipids, ceramides or other natural moisturising factors.

But generally, turn the temperature down just a little bit. Your skin will thank you.