Beauty: look­ing after your skin in win­ter

Pre­pare for the chilly sea­son by re­plac­ing your ev­ery­day lo­tions with richer, more nour­ish­ing skin­care prod­ucts, writes Sheree Mut­ton.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

IT’S NO SE­CRET that win­ter can wreak havoc on your skin. Chilly tem­per­a­tures, bit­ing winds and dry air can leave skin feel­ing tight, rough, and itchy. “Dry and itchy skin is a com­mon com­plaint dur­ing the win­ter months,” says Syd­ney der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Hanna Kuchel. This con­di­tion is other­wise known as ‘win­ter itch’.

Heaters, wind, dry air and long, hot show­ers all take their toll on the skin.

“The thin layer of oil that traps mois­ture in the skin is eas­ily lost, caus­ing small cracks to ap­pear in the skin bar­rier,” she says. “These cracks lead to ir­ri­ta­tion and flare-ups of itchy con­di­tions such as pso­ri­a­sis, eczema and se­vere dry skin.”

There are, how­ever, sim­ple steps you can take to avoid the dreaded dry and flaky skin that can plague many of us dur­ing the cooler months.

Switch your mois­turiser

“Within our daily reg­i­men, some­times a more oc­clu­sive [wa­ter-re­tain­ing] mois­turiser may be re­quired, along with a hy­drat­ing serum, which would be a help­ful ad­di­tion,” says Tracey Beeby, Ul­traceu­ti­cals skin ex­pert. “Cer­tain skin con­di­tions that could flare up are der­mati­tis and eczema due to the dry air and harsh tem­per­a­tures, and hav­ing the skin cov­ered with woollen cloth­ing can be another ir­ri­tant. Keep­ing the skin well-hy­drated with both a hy­drat­ing serum and mois­turiser is es­sen­tial. Some­times an up­grade in your mois­turiser is nec­es­sary. In­ter­nal hy­dra­tion is also im­por­tant, so drink­ing plenty of wa­ter and avoid­ing long hot show­ers will also as­sist.”

Dr Kuchel says richer prod­ucts such as oint­ments and creams, rather than lo­tions, are bet­ter for win­ter. “Ac­tive in­gre­di­ents such as urea, lac­tic acid, and sal­i­cylic acid are good for the body and es­pe­cially lower limbs that are dry,” she says.

De­spite the cooler weather, UV rays can still pen­e­trate clouds, so use a broad­spec­trum SPF sun­screen.

Avoid soap

In car­ing for your skin in win­ter, it is im­por­tant to avoid harsh or fra­granced soaps that might ag­gra­vate the skin, which may be de­hy­drated al­ready. “Soaps and sham­poos may strip the skin of im­por­tant oils,” says Dr Kuchel. “A gen­tle, soap-free cleanser should be used.”

Don’t take hot show­ers or baths

After a long day in the win­ter chill, noth­ing could be bet­ter than a long, steam­ing hot shower or bath. Yet hot wa­ter is ac­tu­ally an en­emy of dry, flaky skin be­cause it strips the skin’s top layer, also known as the epi­der­mis, of mois­ture. “It is tempt­ing to take long hot show­ers when it is cold out­side,” says Dr Kuchel. “They are a com­mon cause of dry, ir­ri­ta­ble skin. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber to keep show­ers short and luke­warm.”

Fol­low­ing a bath or shower, it’s rec­om­mended to pat your­self dry, rather than rub, and ap­ply a mois­turiser while the skin is slightly damp. This will min­imise fur­ther ir­ri­ta­tion and help the ab­sorp­tion of the mois­turiser.

Use a face mask

Us­ing a hy­drat­ing mask once or twice a week will help lock in mois­ture and repair any dry skin. “A nour­ish­ing or re­plen­ish­ing mask will help re­place es­sen­tial mois­ture while restor­ing and re­pair­ing our skin’s bar­rier, the epi­der­mis,” says Tracey Beeby.

Use a gen­tle ex­fo­liant to help re­move dry and dead skin cells. Re­mem­ber to mois­turise after­wards.

Take care of your lips and hands

The lips tend to get es­pe­cially dry dur­ing the win­ter. Ac­cord­ing to Dr Kuchel, this is due to a num­ber of rea­sons. “[There are] no oil glands in lips, no pro­tec­tive pig­ment [tan], so they’re more likely to get a sun­burn [even in win­ter] that causes ir­ri­ta­tion or eczema,” she says, adding that “con­tact with ir­ri­tat­ing sub­stances in food and drinks” and “lick­ing makes the prob­lem worse – saliva con­tains en­zymes that ir­ri­tate the lips fur­ther”.

Us­ing a fra­grance-free lip balm with SPF will help keep the lips hy­drated. Sim­i­larly, the hands will of­ten look dry and scaly. To com­bat this, use a sooth­ing hand cream through­out the day to hy­drate and smooth the skin.

For an added boost dur­ing win­ter, opt for creamy make-up for­mu­las which con­tain hy­drat­ing in­gre­di­ents, in­stead of dry­ing pow­der make-up.

1. Kiehl’s Ul­tra Fa­cial Deep

Mois­ture Balm, $54. 2. Nivea Rasp­berry Rose Lip

But­ter, $5.

3. Avène Hy­drance Op­ti­male

Hy­drat­ing Serum, $60. 4. Palmer’s Shea For­mula Mois­tur­iz­ing Body Lo­tion,


5. Shi­seido Bio-Per­for­mance

LiftDy­namic Serum, $180. 6. Na­tio Well­ness Hand Cream,

SPF 15, $13.50. 7. Clin­ique Mois­ture Surge Melt­ing Mask Balm, $89.

1. Dr. Hauschka Hy­drat­ing

Mask, $99. 2. Ul­traceu­ti­cals Ul­tra B2 Hy­drat­ing Serum, $96. 3. ECOYA French Pear Hand

Cream, $30. 4. El­iz­a­beth Ar­den Eight Hour Cream Lip Pro­tec­tant Stick,

SPF 15 $41. 5. Weleda Skin Food, $14. 6. La Mer Crème de la Mer Mois­tur­iz­ing Cream, $255. 7. L’Oréal Paris Age Per­fect Cleans­ing Milk, $18.40. 8. Olive 100% Nat­u­ral All-Pur­pose Balm, $25.

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