As October draws to a close, winter is well on it’s way, bringing with it harsh weather, cold temperatures and strong winds. As well as the cold weather, the end of the year plays host to festivities, over-indulgences and the need to turn on your central heating, all of which take their toll on your hair, skin and nails. With the party season comes a lack of routine, dietary changes and the stress of Christmas, find out how a few simple changes to your skincare can keep you looking and feeling your best throughout the winter months.
1. Get Moisturising
It goes without saying that our skin gets drier, flaky, cracked and sore in the colder months and so moisturising is a hugely important step in your winter skincare routine. As the temperature drops you pack away all of your summer dresses and your winter coats come out of hibernation, you should have a similar routine with your summer skincare products.
The lightweight lotions that have kept your skin moisturised throughout the warm months should be replaced with denser, creamier products to boost hydration as our skin loses 25% of its ability to retain moisture in the winter.
2. Exfoliate to Remove Dead Skin
No matter how much moisturiser you apply, it is inevitable that in the winter you will get dry skin somewhere, be it on your face or your body. Exfoliators remove dead skin prompting that youthful, healthy glow that we take for granted all through the summer. You should exfoliate your face and body on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to avoid further irritation to already sensitive, winter skin.
3. Avoid Hot Water
Nothing beats a soak in the bath or a long hot shower after a cold winter walk or a day of activities outdoors, but, you could be doing your skin more harm than good. Hot showers and baths dry out skin by breaking down lipid barriers, leading to a loss of moisture and natural oils. Limiting your hot showers and baths to a couple a week with warm showers in-between can help to prevent the damage of the skin’s lipid barriers.
After a bath or shower, pat skin dry and immediate apply a moisturiser to lock in water and keep your skin more hydrated through the winter.
4. Change your Cleanser
Cleansing is an essential part of most people’s skincare routines to remove makeup and clean the skin throughout the whole year. The light, foaming cleansers that you’ve used all summer can leave skin dry and tight whereas a cream cleanser or oil based balm will leave skin dirt free and full of moisture.
5. Use SPF
Many people assume that because the temperature has dropped we no longer need to protect our skin from the sun’s rays by wearing SPF on a daily basis. This is incorrect, even rays from the winter sun can cause lifelong, lasting damage.
In the winter our skin is more sensitive to UV radiation because the melanin concentration is decreased due to a lack of exposure to UV, compared with the summer months. SPF is particularly essential if you plan on going away during the winter months and will be doing outdoor sports like skiing as snow and ice reflect UV radiation, increasing the intensity by 80-90%.
There are lots of products on the market that include SPF within them including moisturisers, primers and foundations meaning that you don’t need to spend a lot on extra products and can shorten your skincare routine by making the most of those that multi-task!
6. Use Moisturising Hair Products
Just like the skin on your body, your hair and scalp become dry during the winter months. Some hair products contain ingredients that help hair and skin lock in extra moisture, ensuring that they stay hydrated through the harsher months.
Being sparing with shampoo can prevent a dry scalp and using a moisturising conditioner as well as a deep conditioning treatment or mask once a week can keep your hair and scalp healthy. As with your body, hot water can damage hair and so warm water should be used to wash out product.
7. Add Extra Nutrients
Hair products containing argon oil are great for the hair all year round but are particularly good at adding extra nutrients in the winter months. We tend to wash our hair more often in the winter as the harsh weather conditions can take their toll so using nutrient-packed products and blow-drying hair on a low setting can help to avoid dryness and damage.
Hands & Nails
8. Keep Hands Hydrated
Winter takes its toll on our hands more noticeably than any other body part. Our hands are constantly exposed to the elements leading to dry, flaky skin which can become chapped and sore. Keeping a hand sanitiser and moisturiser in your bag or coat pocket keeps skin infection free, hydrated and soft whilst wearing gloves as often as is convenient keeps hands warm and prevents dryness.
9. Prevent Brittle Nails and Dry Cuticles
We all want to show off our festive manicures during the party season but cold temperatures and central heating can leave nails weak and cuticles dry and sore. Some hand creams contain ingredients to strengthen nails but specialist products are available. Cuticle oil can be used to moisturise the cuticle itself, the nail and the surrounding skin whilst strengthening nail varnishes can help to prevent splitting and breakages.
10. Use Sugar Scrubs to Keep Lips Soft
Sugar scrubs are a type of exfoliator for the lips that you can make at home with a few simple ingredients. These homemade products use sugar; brown or white, oil; olive or coconut and any other ingredients that you wish to add to get a flavour of your choice. The sugar in the scrub gently removes dead skin from your lips, a common occurrence in the colder months, giving you a soft base to apply your lip balm to prevent them from chapping.
Our skin’s needs change throughout the year and adapting to these changes prevents damage and keeps our skin in the best possible condition. If you have a passion for skincare an IAO Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Techniques (RQF) could help you turn your passion into a career. To find out more contact us or leave your details in our contact form and one of our advisors will get back to you.