The new anti-ageing winter beauty rules
Think the secret to dewy skin in winter is lashings of moisturiser? Think again. b+ s beauty editor Kelsey Ferencak reveals how to look ageless all season
Amid all the other seasonal changes at this time of year, it’s easy to forget that your skincare regimen needs to change, too. But even just the cooler, drier air in winter is enough to cause a whole range of skin issues.
“A lack of moisture compromises the integrity of the barrier layer, which increases sensitivity, leading to inflammation and ageing,” explains dermatologist Dr Natasha Cook, of Sydney skin clinic Darlinghurst Dermatology.
While you might think the solution is to simply slop on some moisturiser, that isn’t going to cut it. So get your winter game-face on with these expert tips to looking and feeling fresh all season.
DO SWAP FORMULAS
“Get rid of all foaming and scrub-like washes as they dehydrate the skin and strip it of its good oils as well as irritating your skin’s barrier function,” Cook says. Instead, switch to a replenishing oil or lotion.
Next, turn your focus to your make-up bag. Powder products exacerbate fine lines, wrinkles, redness and any dryness at this time of year, so opt for liquid and cream formulas that give skin an extra hit of hydration, smooth over fine lines and camouflage any discolouration.
Do you reach for the heaviest cream as soon as your skin shows any hint of dryness? You’re hydrating all wrong! Smothering your skin in thick creams again and again can make it reliant. Not only does this cause it to stop producing its own natural hydration, but its rate of cell renewal also decreases, collagen production slows down and you’re left with lazy, older-looking skin. To get it working at its hydrated best, quench your skin with a moisturising product that contains either squalane or hyaluronic acid. These hydrating superheroes are easily absorbed and also have age-fighting benefits, so you don’t have to rely on thick formulas.
DO UP YOUR VITAMIN GAME
A US study found that winter can age women by almost five years. “A deficiency in vitamins K and D [the latter of which is very common in winter, even in Australia] has a considerable negative effect on the appearance of dark circles and puffy eyes, and can age a woman by 4.7 years,” says anti-ageing expert Dr Mark Binette. Seasonal fatigue is more common at this time of year, and dark circles are more obvious on skin that hasn’t seen much sunlight, particularly in the under-eye area, where it’s thinnest.
To counteract this, apply a brightening concealer under the eye in an inverted triangle shape – this will create a lifting effect and help to mask any darkness.
If you’re not seeing much sunlight this winter and want to power up your vitamin D levels, Cook says that taking a daily oral supplement of at least 1000 IU can help to reduce your risk of a deficiency.
DON’T KEEP WEARING YOUR SUMMER PALETTE
Wearing the same blush, eyeshadow and bronzer shades in winter as you do in summer can age you, especially if your skin tone and texture has changed with the season. Steer clear of shimmers, pastels and browns if you’re paler than usual at this time of year as they can wash out your complexion and highlight age spots and wrinkles. Instead, stick to neutral shades in dewy finishes that compliment your skin tone – think rosy pinks, soft bronzes and rich nudes.
Dull skin is caused by a build-up of dead skin cells, yet most of us seem to leave exfoliating for the summer months. Although skin can become flakey and sensitive in winter that doesn’t mean you should avoid exfoliating, because it’s possible to have a radiant and clear complexion all year round.
A gentle acid exfoliant will keep skin looking healthy and bright.
However, if you have sensitive skin, try a granule-based cream (look for soothing ingredients such as oat) and alternate with a gentle lactic acid exfoliant – lactic acid also has humectant properties so it will hydrate your skin as it sloughs away the dead cells.
DO LOOK OUT FOR INGREDIENTS
Steer clear of products that contain astringents and alcohol as these exacerbate dryness and sensitivity.
“Be careful of retinoids as overuse can also inflame skin dryness and sensitivity,” Cook advises. “And upgrade your moisturiser to one that contains humectants like shea butter, glycerine or lanolin as they’ll hold moisture in.”
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR HAIR
As well as ageing your skin, winter can also age your hair, and it’s not just the seasonal changes such as fluctuating temperatures and dryness you need to look out for. Even the friction from wearing scarves and hats can cause hair breakage.
To protect and prevent damage, dehydration and loss of shine, up your protein intake – and that means topically as well as through your diet. Once a week, smooth on a protein hair treatment after shampooing and leave on for at least 10 minutes to help reconstruct and repair brittle strands.
“Lacking in vitamins D and K has a negative effect [on skin] and can age a woman by 4.7 years”