Survival Mode: Tending To Winter Skin
If you’ve noticed your skin getting a bit drier in recent months you’re not alone. A drop in the temperature outside, combined with a rise inside makes skin thirsty in winter and it’s a very common and normal beauty issue. Layers of warm clothing and hot baths only make the problem worse. So what can be done to prevent dry skin in winter and nurture it through the colder months and beyond?
Hot baths and showers are a joy in the winter – they get you up to brace a chilly morning and warm you up in the evening after a long day. Unfortunately water also depletes the skin of moisture, and the hotter it is the more drying it is. Water literally encourages trans epidermal water loss, and that can make an already dry skin problem worse, because skin is further stripped of natural moisturising sebum on its surface, aggravating chronic dry skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and itchy skin in winter (pruritus hiemalis) – a seasonal dermatological condition which makes skin crack and sometimes bleed. To protect skin, taking shorter showers/baths (no more than 5 minutes) and turn the hot water down to the cooler side of hot.
Just as you do with clothing, with warm vests and leggings, think about layering nourishment onto your skin with oils, balms and creams. Regular application of cream or oil helps to lock moisture into the tissues. And the best time to apply it is after body brushing and a bath/shower, when skin is thirstier and receptive. Some find that layering cream over oil on dry prone zones like upper arms and shins gives an extra nourishing boost: best to do this in the evening before you go to bed to give skin a chance to drink up the goodness while you sleep.
It might sound counterintuitive but regularly exfoliating, and body brushing, will help to keep skin in better condition through the winter. Gentle buffing with a sea salt exfoliant like Exfo-Lite Stimulating Salts works wonders for dry legs removing the upper layer of dead skin cells revealing healthy pink ones beneath, giving skin a nice glow, and it helps skin absorb moisturiser better. Body brushing does the same, and it gets the circulation and lymph moving which is important because circulation brings fresh, nutrient-rich blood to the surface of the skin and lymph drains trapped toxins away from tissues and areas of congestion. Lymph-Lite Boom Brush For Body was made for speedy skin brushing: you can use it before, during or after a shower – to save time use it over an application of Cellu-Lite Salon Secret For Legs in the mornings.
Another way to improve circulation and lymph flow, and in turn the condition of your skin, is through massage. Use an aromatic oil like Cellu-Lite so you get the double benefit of aroma-therapy and body therapy – this oil combines potent diuretic oils to help drain away impurities. That brings a freshness and clarity to skin, and it’s best applied after exfoliating or before/after body brushing. You can drop in the bath too for a skin-smoothing soak and to keep skin hydrated in winter – just don’t soak for too long!
Help yourself inside and out by paying attention to your diet. Winter is a time to gather in, restore, strengthen and fortify, and a warm diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids will really nourish the skin and brain in colder months. Try to eat fish varieties of omega-3 that are low in mercury, like salmon, sardines and mackerel, and eat them at least twice a week. Not a fish lover? Try terrestrial omega-3 sources instead such as flaxseeds, avocados and walnuts.
Keeping active helps you in so many ways, especially in the winter. It promotes your circulation, which makes you warmer, your lymph, which helps remove toxins from your body, and it gives your skin a fresh vitality. A well maintained circulation and lymphatic system also reduces inflammation, increases cell turnover and ensures good nutrient delivery. Start small with at-home routines or a couple of yoga classes a week to increase overall fitness, or walk more – to work, across the park with your dog, to the shops. You’ll see the benefits in your skin.