LAURA BER­MING­HAM

Sooth­ing and soft­en­ing skin se­crets

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS - LAURABERMINGHAM laura.ber­ming­ham@mailon­sun­day.ie

P ro­tect­ing the skin and hair is para­mount in colder weather, es­pe­cially for those of us fond of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties. When you fac­tor in dry air at home from cen­tral heat­ing, harsh wind and cold out­side, and air con­di­tion­ing at work, it’s a 24/7 cy­cle that sucks hy­dra­tion from the skin and hair. So how do we bat­tle dry, taut skin and parched, un­man­age­able hair? Here are three key words to help guide you to the right prod­ucts.

Balm. Of­fer­ing great pro­tec­tion from the el­e­ments, th­ese are heav­ier creams de­signed to block mois­ture loss from the skin or hair and work as a guard against cold weather, stop­ping that con­stant cy­cle of de­hy­dra­tion. Balms for hands and face creams will most likely con­tain an SPF — colder weather does not mean less UV dam­age and bright win­ter days have plenty of sun, even though you might be shiv­er­ing. For all out­side ac­tiv­i­ties, ap­ply a good balm to your face, an­other for the hands, and cover your hair.

Hy­dra. This term means the prod­uct in ques­tion will re­hy­drate, re­plen­ish­ing skin or hair with the mois­ture lost due to the cold weather. Hy­drat­ing prod­ucts are water-based — un­like reg­u­lar mois­turis­ers, they aren’t go­ing to pack the skin or hair with oils. Be­cause of this they can feel light or gel-like (ideal for those with oilier com­plex­ions).

For the skin, there are day creams, serums, night creams and masks at var­i­ous prices. Choose one or more as part of your rou­tine de­pend­ing on how dry and com­pro­mised your skin is feel­ing at this time of year. For hair, a hy­drat­ing masque once a week should keep it soft and strong.

Oint­ment. Not ev­ery­one will need an oint­ment in their beauty rou­tine. If you have cracked skin, though, it’s handy to have one to hand. Richer and thicker than a balm, oint­ments of­fer repar­a­tive qual­i­ties on top of block­ing mois­ture loss and giv­ing pro­tec­tion. They may con­tain shea but­ter, aloe vera or urea, to re­pair dam­aged skin suf­fer­ing in colder weather. Take care, though: if your skin is weep­ing or very in­flamed, your GP or phar­ma­cist is the first port of call.

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