No one likes that itchy, dry feeling your skin can get in winter. But unfortunately it's a reality for many as soon as the cool weather hits. Winter means dry air, heaters and hot showers, all of which can cause our skin to dry out. As such, our skin needs a different kind of care during this time.
Just as we change our clothing in preparation for the cold, our skincare needs to adapt too. For some expert advice, we spoke to Newby Hands, the beauty director at Net-a-Porter for her best tips on winter skincare. Below she explains why our skin behaves differently in the cold and the products she loves for winter.
Why does our skin need a different kind of care during winter? Does our skin behave differently?
It is the change in temperature that really affects our skin, as the changes between say the cold outside and the warmth inside affects the vital skin barrier. It causes the skin surface to freeze then thaw and this disrupts the protective layer of lipids, so the skin becomes dehydrated and more reactive – a damaged barrier means that products that should safely sit on the skin can get into it and cause a reaction. We also have the changes between humidity outside and dry air-conditioning inside, again it is the quick and repeated change between the two that disrupt the skin barrier. It is important to ensure you are not adding to this with a lot of peel or exfoliating products, and do use more hydrating serums and always finish with a cream, no matter how light in texture, as this helps nourish the skin and protect the barrier.
With this in mind, what should we be doing differently?
A great tip is to apply a body lotion as soon as possible when you get out of the shower - and don’t have the shower too hot as again this can dehydrate the skin. Even using it over still damp skin helps keep it hydrated. For the face don’t over cleanse the skin as you can strip the lipids, and ensure you are not over peeling it. Once or twice a week is enough and be careful not to use an enzyme cleanser, toner and then a peel pad and then a scrub – one peeling or polishing product is enough! Hydrating serums are great for every skin type, and if skin is extra dry then a drop on oil will help keep skin hydrated, but you do need to always finish with a cream.
Are there any particular products you love for winter skin care?
Are there any products or ingredients we should avoid?
It is not about avoiding certain products, it is about understanding your own skin and choosing what works for you. But if your skin is flaking or sensitised by the change in temperature then pull back on acids and retinol until it settles down in a few weeks.
What's the worst thing we can do for our skin in the cold?
Over exfoliating and taking too many long hot baths and showers. With the heaters on indoors, it can dry your skin significantly, along with over exfoliating and excessively taking hot baths, it depletes your skin from its natural oils.
What's your best winter skincare tip?
Nourish your skin rather than over exfoliating it to ensure you protect the skin barrier.