Halloween (and the jazz weekend) are behind us, and Christmas FM is live, and totally acceptable to start planning for silly season! Winter is not aways the most extreme experience in Ireland (aside from Storm Emma, followed by what felt like endless flooding) but there is a big enough change to warrant reassessing your skincare routine if you’d like to avoid dry, flaking, grey skin…
Moisturise like it’s going out of fashion
Simple and straightforward, but you’d be surprised how easily people forget to switch to a heavier day cream or more moisturising foundation until after dry, flaky patches appear. Nip this one in the bud before it’s an issue, by adding in an extra step or switching one of your current products for a more heavy duty one. As with anything moisture-related, oily skins beware, and dry skins may need to combine a few steps. Some of the below may work for you:
- Switching your cleanser to a non-foaming or cream cleanser – Cetaphil(available in most pharmacies, Boots, etc) is cheap as chips and one of the most gentle available.
- Using a hydrating toner or this spray from La Roche-Posay (to be honest, any of the French pharmacy brands do great ones), you can also carry this with you to spritz on during the day or on a flight (but it may not work with your make up – trial and error is the only way to find out I’m afraid).
- Change your foundation or tinted moisturiser – I use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturiser year round, but tend to stick to the oil-free one for summer and the regular one going into the winter.
- Suncream is still your friend – yes I know it essentially rains in Ireland from October to April and there’s not exactly a stretch in the evenings, but the factor 50 is still good for protecting your skin from wind and cold alike, and moisturises at the same time. I have finally gotten around to trying the much lauded Kiehl’s Daily UV Defense and I am in love (thanks again Ali!).
- Don’t forget about the rest of you – coconut oil is my go-to body moisturiser, and although it can be a struggle getting it out if the jar on a cold winter’s morning, it’s worth it.
Dry, rough skin can be impossible to cure with moisturisation alone – dead skin cells on the surface can prevent the best face cream in the world from reaching its target. Gentle, daily exfoliation can be necessary for some skin types, while others will find once to twice a week is plenty. I’ve noted my love for Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant (available online and from beauty salons) before, but a good old facecloth can work very well too. Drier skin types may benefit from the following cleansing routine:
- Apply Cetaphil or another cream cleanser to dry, clean (ie no make up) skin
- Massage in gently
- Use a dry facecloth to remove the cleanser
- Tone and moisturise as normal
Dry Body Brushing
This is one of the best habits to make before the festive season gets into full swing. Legs tend to get forgotten about once we start bundling up in layers, and although you may find your tan fading slightly quicker, realistically we all know we’re going to be reaching for the St Tropez asap now that Halloween is over. I have mentioned how to go about this before but here’s a quick recap:
- 5 minutes brushing, before you shower/run/go to the gym etc
- Start with your feet and brush in firm, circular strokes, working your way upwards towards your heart
- Ditto for the arms, back, torso
- Avoid any broken skin
- Do not use on your face or décolletage
- Daily brushing does make a big difference to skin texture, and has been noted to improve the appearance of cellulite – and combined with regular moisturising will ensure the said St Tropez glides on smoothly.
Up your omega intake
Moisturising from the inside out is one of my favourite tricks for fighting dry skin throughout the winter, especially if your skin is as sensitive as mine and has a freaker if it is drowned in rich creams to prevent dryness (which ridiculously will happen without said creams – sometimes you really just can’t win). Omega-3 and omega-6 are both essential fatty acids – this means our body cannot make them, and therefore we need to get them from our diet. The Western diet is usually abundant in omega-6, but you might be missing out on sufficient omega-3. Omega-3 converts to EPA (eicospentaenoic acid), which improves skin moisture and can decrease inflammation (both are very useful for eczema, acne and other skin complaints). There are some pretty good omega-3 (fish oil) supplements on the market, but increasing your intake of oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) and flaxseeds can have the same effect. 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds contains a considerable 3500mg of omega-3, so you could even eat a vegan diet and still knock your intake out of the park. Flaxseeds can be added to most bread mixtures, granola or mueslis, and even smoothies. I like to use flaxseed oil on salads and in smoothies, or sprinkle freshly ground seeds on my porridge.
Obviously the above list is not exhaustive, but I have found these techniques are actually worth the effort. If all else fails, you can always fake it, but I would really love to know if you’ve tried any of these – and if you have your own essential steps for glowing skin all winter long?