As the chilly weather moves in and you start changing your wardrobe it’s also time to winter proof your looks. Forget stodgy diets and expensive heavy creams. With a few simple lifestyle and beauty upgrades you can weather proof your looks to keep you looking and feeling great – here’s how.
*Room for Improvement
When the weather gets cold, humidity goes down. Dry air is probably the most common cause of dry, itchy skin as it draws the moisture right out of the skin, especially indoors with the central heating turned up. Central heating and low humidity can also exacerbate many existing skin conditions like rosacea and acne as well as make skin super sensitive. A humidifier in your bedroom and living room, two rooms you probably spend most of your time in, will infuse the air with moisture helping to soothe dried out, itchy skin. Or if you have free standing radiators you can simply place a metal bowl of water of top and every time the heating comes, on, it will cause the water to evaporate adding moisture to the air.
*Upgrade your skincare
Even people who don’t have dry skin can suffer during the cold months. Change your routine in the autumn, before the weather turns really cold, because it’s much easier to prevent dryness and cracking than it is to treat it. Layering is the name of the game during winter and is far superior to using heavier facials creams. To give skin extra support, start with a serum. Try M&S Formula Absolute Elixir (£23 marksandspencer.com) a new super serum which promises to tackle everything from wrinkles to age spots as well as increasing skin firmness and proving all day moisture. Next use a light moisturiser to seal in the serum, avoiding any with ingredients like Retinoids which can irritate skin – try Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion (£8.99 boots.com). For an extra glow add a couple of drops of rose oil to your foundation or pat over any dry areas- try Rosina Rose Perfecting Oil (£22 rosinslotionspotions.com)
*Don’t Over Cleanse
Switch to mild cleansers without soap or fragrance. Look for hypoallergenic on the label or cleansers containing salicylic or lactic acid which will suit most skin types – try Super Facialist Salicylic Purifying Cleansing Wash (£5.33 boots.com) which will gently detoxify and exfoliate without irritation. Alternatively Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water (£10.50 boots.com) removes make up and dirt gently and without tugging so is perfect for dehydrated and sore skin. Always avoid over cleansing the skin and use a light touch as scrubbing can cause irritation.
*Deal with irritated patches
Most chic French women carry a secret supply of nappy cream in their designer handbags, our French surgeon Peter Cumbo tells us. And no, it’s not for baby’s botty but to treat any dry, irritated skin patches on their face or body. The cult product Mustela Barrier Skin Discomfort 1-2-3 (£3.83 escentual.com) is a vitamin rich barrier cream which also adds a protective layer to skin. Fragrance and preservative free, as well as hypoallergenic, it contains alcacea oxeoline to reduce inflammation, and zinc oxide to heal the skin. It also doubles up as a soothing facial moisturiser when skin is extra fragile or irritated.
*Feed Your face and body
Cut back on too much caffeine which dehydrates the skin and swap for green tea, which is packed with antioxidants called catechins, which also help fight viruses and slow aging. Foods such as avocados, olive oil, honey, pumpkin, spinach, berries, plain yogurt, walnuts and aloe juice all have a moisturising effect, working from the inside to help your digestive system stay both healthy and hydrated which will be reflected in your skin. Essential fatty acids such as omega 3, also plays a role in supporting the skin. The best source of Omega 3 in the diet is oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, and sardines. Don’t let the cold weather prevent you from keeping active. Buy yourself a home fitness video, so there’s no excuse. Also, keep a pair of summer shorts handy – try on every couple of weeks so you can keep a check on your waistline.
Lock in Body Moisture
Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat in the shower as hot water can strip essential oils from the skin. Keep showers and bath time short and lukewarm. If skin is very dry add a cupful of baking soda to your bath water. It’s a great natural remedy for dehydrated itchy skin as it helps neutralise skin acidity, promotes elimination of toxins and will help soften and refresh your skin. To lock in moisture post-shower, pat, don’t rub, yourself dry, and immediately coat skin in a thick body lotion. Look for ones containing glycerine which pulls water into the skin or try Lano Golden Dry Skin Salve (£17.99 victoriahealth.com. With 60% lanolin vitamin E, and Manuka Honey which is a natural healer smooth it all over. You have a three minute window for best results. Wait any longer and moisture starts to disappear from skin before you can lock it in. And keep the bathroom door closed to maintain the humidity.
Around half of the UK population are not getting enough Vitamin D which the body needs for a healthy immune system and to protect against conditions such as migraine, depression, bone problems and even cancer. If you get ten to 15 minutes of direct sunlight over the summer your levels should be adequate until October when it begins to deplete. Vitamin D is stored in the body for around one to two months and when your shadow is longer than your body, you won’t be making any Vitamin D so you need to look for other sources. Top up with a supplement – try Heliocare Ultra D Oral capsules (£26.50 effortlessskin.com) and eat a Vitamin rich D diet – good sources include salmon, fortified cereals and egg yolks.
Be Smart with Supplements
Start taking a multi vitamin s daily to boost general health. 70% of our immune system is located in our gut so a daily probiotic can also help bolster your resistance to bugs and germs, kick-start digestion, soothe internal inflammation, boost your general wellbeing and improve skin. Try OptiBac Probiotics ‘For daily immunity’ (£11.29 for a 30 capsule supply opticbacprobiotics.co.uk)
Even in winter, UV rays can prevent skin from holding onto moisture and cause premature ageing. Use an SPF 30 or higher every day especially on exposed areas like face, neck and ears.
Keep lips moist by exfoliating your lips twice a week – use a dry toothbrush (not the one you use for your teeth) with a dab of Vaseline and rub gently in circular motion. Since your lips don’t have any oil glands, use a super rich lip balm –try Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Gloss £20, which is enriched with Vitamin E and will treat chapped, dry lips as well as giving them a natural shine. Avoid long wearing lippies as they are often drying. Lasr thing at night, do a simple lip mask with an ultra thick layer of Vaseline – leave it on for at least ten minutes and gently tissue off.