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Winter-proof your skin

By Milly Nolan

Winter-proof your skin
Winter calls for skincare that replenishes, soothes and provides protection from the elements. Follow our tips for a radiant complexion all year round.


The skin contains proteins and lipids that lock in moisture and create a barrier against damage from external factors. In winter, however, the dry air, airconditioning, extremes of temperature and taking frequent hot baths and showers all strip the skin of this natural protection. The skin then becomes dry, flaky and dull, and fine lines become more visible. The skin also becomes more susceptible to infection and skin disorders. The key to preventing and correcting dry skin is to keep your skin well moisturised by using products that are designed to hydrate the skin, lock in moisture and restore suppleness.


Swap your foaming or liquid cleanser for 
a cream version that is gentle on the skin and provides maximum hydration.


Toner restores the skin’s pH balance and softens and soothes the skin. Look for a hydrating toner that is alcohol free

Eye cream

When the skin is dry, fine lines around the eyes can become more visible, so quench your skin with a hydrating eye cream.


Worn under facial moisturiser, serum provides an added hydration boost while penetrating deep into the dermis (the layer beneath the outer epidermis).


For both the face and body, opt for a rich moisturiser or balm that will revitalise parched skin better than a liquid version and will help to form a protective layer on the skin. Alternatively (or in addition to moisturiser), use a botanical oil, which will instantly soak into the skin. Apply moisturiser or oil straight after showering when your skin is still damp, to allow the epidermis to trap and seal the moisture.


While having a steaming-hot shower or bath seems very tempting on a cold winter’s day, doing so strips the skin of the protective oils it naturally produces, leading to moisture loss from the skin. Using harsh soap can exacerbate the effect, leaving the skin feeling tight and uncomfortable. Instead use a mild soap or oil-infused shower gel. Take short showers and baths in lukewarm (not hot) water. After showering, gently pat (don’t rub) your skin partially dry before applying moisturiser or oil.


Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells and impurities that accumulate on the skin’s surface and make the skin dry, flaky and dull. It also encourages cell turnover, revealing the newer, smoother and more radiant skin underneath. Moisturisers and oils are absorbed more efficiently when applied immediately after exfoliation.


Once a week only, use a gentle facial exfoliant that is suitable for your skin type. Choose one with small beads or mild acids, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA), that gently abrade and remove the top layer of dead skin cells.


Exfoliate your entire body two or three times a week using a body scrub. Look for a scrub that contains natural “polishing” ingredients, such as oatmeal, ground almonds or sugar. Using a loofah or an exfoliating brush or gloves will amplify the results. Dry body brushing before showering is beneficial for activating the lymphatic system, which improves circulation and reduces fluid retention.


Exposure to UV rays in summer can leave the skin looking mottled and uneven in tone. Freckles and sun spots may be enhanced. Take advantage of winter by using products that are designed to brighten the complexion and lighten uneven pigmentation.


When you’re sleeping the metabolic activity of the skin cells is at its greatest. Help to speed up the skin’s process of self-repair with night creams and serums that counteract the damage accumulated over the day and provide intense hydration and nourishment.


Blood vessels dilate when the temperature drops, so spending time in the cold can result in a flushed nose and cheeks. Soothe your skin with products designed to lessen and inhibit redness.


To achieve a natural, healthy glow, apply self-tanning lotion to your face and body or use bronzing powder.


The thin skin of the hands is susceptible to dehydration in winter. Protect it by wearing gloves outdoors and using rubber gloves when doing the dishes. Wash your hands with a gentle hand wash and moisturise after with a rich hand cream or balm. Keep your feet in good condition, too, by giving them a pedicure regularly and moisturising them often. Before going to bed apply a thick layer of hand cream and foot balm and slip your hands and feet into cotton gloves and socks so that when you wake they are soft and supple.


Even on wintery days the sun’s UVA and UVB rays are capable of damaging the skin. Moisturisers and foundations containing sunscreen don’t give adequate protection, so use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 25 or higher, 365 days a year.


Lip balm is your first defence against chapped, weathered lips, so apply it often. Use a balm with a good SPF rating if you’re spending time outdoors and look for one containing nourishing ingredients to keep your lips crack free. Exfoliate your lips with a lip exfoliant or by rubbing them gently with a warm, wet face cloth.



A facial peel is a solution based on fruit or lactic alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA, or salicylic acid). The acid removes the top layer of dry, dull skin to reveal a more radiant, even complexion. Use a DIY peel once a week in place of your usual exfoliation.


For dehydrated skin that needs reviving, a weekly moisture-rich masque helps to soothe, relieve dryness and tightness and leave the skin feeling soft and smooth.


At the beginning of winter it’s a good idea to consult a skincare specialist or beauty therapist for a skin analysis. This thorough examination of your skin will determine your skin type and identify any problem areas and skin damage from summer, such as pigmentation, lesions, diffused redness and broken capillaries. While maintaining a good skincare routine at home will help you to counteract such concerns, professional day spa treatments may enable you to get to the bottom of any skin problems more quickly and efficiently.


Great for treating congested or dull, dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles, microdermabrasion is the progressive, controlled exfoliation of the upper epidermis using micronised crystals to reveal a new, fresh layer of skin that feels and looks smooth. Promoting the

growth of new skin and collagen, microdermabrasion can be used on its own or to complement other facial treatments. A series of at least four dermabrasion treatments, each two weeks apart, is recommended.

IPL Photorejuvenation

IPL (intense pulsed light) photorejuvenation is a non-invasive technique that treats skin damage without disrupting the skin’s surface. It uses intense pulses of light to target areas of concern on the face, décolletage and back of the hands. The result is an overall healthier appearance to ageing skin, reduced fine lines and a more even complexion through reduced pigmentation and age spots. Between one and five treatments may be required.

Superficial Procedure Peel

This simple, non-invasive cosmetic procedure involves applying a facial peel best suited to your skin type. The aim is to increase cellular turnover and renew sallow skin, therefore improving the skin’s hydration and texture and reducing pigmentation and pore size. Depending on the condition of the skin, a course of peels may be recommended.


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