The winter months can be beautiful with frosty mornings, bracing winds and cosy evenings snuggled up on the sofa, but they’re also tough on our skin.
Our skin barrier is a delicate yet vital layer on our skin’s surface. When it’s in balance our skin is healthy and protected, but it can be upset by many things, including our environment, diet and the winter skincare products we use, causing our skin to become uncomfortable and more reactive.
Sebum in our skin barrier helps maintain hydrated skin, but during winter sebum reduces, meaning we can all suffer from tight, dehydrated skin – no matter our skin type, even oilier skins. However, those of us with dry skin, naturally lacking sebum can get dryer, itchier and in extreme cases cracked, flaky and red skin. This can be especially problematic if you have a dry skin concern like eczema or psoriasis.
How to look after your skin in winter
Winter throws a lot at our skin, so let’s take a look at some key offenders and winter skincare tips to help our skin’s resilience.
Cold, windy weather quickly parches our skin, whilst central heating creates a dry, low humidity environment, again sapping our skin’s precious moisture. We can humidify our space, by placing a bowl of water on a radiator, maybe with a few drops of our favourite essential oils, but our skincare choices make a big difference to our skin’s winter protection.
Weekly facial exfoliation helps skincare products work more effectively. Dead skin cells building up on the skin’s surface are like sponges, soaking up our favourite products so they’re less beneficial to the skin.
Organic skincare products to help you brave the elements
A moisture-boosting ingredient to look out for when developing your winter skincare routine is hyaluronic acid. We have many hyaluronic heroes; Frankincense Intense Hydrating Essence is a great hydration booster with a light feel for all skin types. A couple of drops of serum can be layered under your moisturiser, I find Wild Rose Beauty Serum is great for an outdoors lover, whilst my favourite skin saviour Rejuvenating Frankincense Face Mask is a wonderful 10-minute treatment mask.
How can facial oils and moisturisers help your skin this winter?
A facial oil nourishes, helping replenish and balance our skin with pure plant oils – there’s a facial oil for everyone. Those with dryer skin usually love a morning and evening application, whilst oilier skin types tend to prefer it as part of their nighttime routine. Massage is key to applying a facial oil, stimulating the circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the skin – perfect as we exercise less during our winter hibernation.
Facial moisturiser is the final layer of our skincare routine and a vital part of your skincare for cold weather and winter months, it contains nourishing plant oils and protective plant butters, literally like an overcoat for our skin. Of course, we can change our regular moisturiser for a more buttery, richer version but we can also layer our products. Firstly a hydration boosting serum and/or elixir, then a nourishing facial oil and finally a moisturiser.
Those of us spending a lot of time outside may find we’re more prone to redness, as the contrast between outside cold and indoors heat causes capillaries to expand and contract, potentially making them more fragile.
My favourite winter skin essential for outdoors protection is a fine layer of Wild Rose Beauty Balm, it also makes a super-rich balm mask – perfect to pamper your skin whilst enjoying a relaxing bath.
Nourish your skin with body salves and lotions
Whilst long, hot showers are tempting in winter, the heat strips our skin of precious oils, often leaving our skin feeling itchy. Try turning the temperature down or soaking in a warm (not hot) bath with lashings of your favourite bath oil or salts. Afterwards, why not try an ultra-nourishing body oil like Ginger & Juniper Warming Oil or my favourite Geranium & Orange Body Lotion.
Over winter we may neglect the skin on our body, but similarly to our face, we can buff our whole body, helping our body products do their job better. Dry skin brushing is a great way to gently buff the skin, whilst boosting your circulation and lymph drainage through massage.
What to eat this winter
The final element is what we eat, in the heat of summer it’s much easier to choose fresh, vibrant foods, but as the cold closes in we’re more likely to reach for comfort foods, loaded with sugar, salt, hydrogenated fat, and enjoy more alcoholic tipples – the polar opposite of what our winter skin needs.
When it comes to our diet, it might be unrealistic to ditch the comfort foods but we can carbon offset by ramping up our fresh fruit, vegetables, nutritious pulses and legumes, nuts, seeds and of course staying hydrated. If drinking water is unappealing in the colder months, try making a pot of hot water with a couple of slices of ginger, turmeric and lemon – I even add a bit of chilli to my mix.
Omega oils are key for naturally healthy skin, I love our Organic Beauty Oil, thinking of it as my internal moisturiser. It’s so easy to use, simply drizzle on meals, pop in a smoothie or make it into a delicious dressing. Vitamin C is a useful supplement when eating fewer fresh fruits and vegetables, it contributes to the normal production of collagen, useful to those of us worried about skin being damaged by the elements.
To sum up, winter skin survival targets two things. Firstly, keeping our skin hydrated makes it feel comfortable, supple and look dewy. We can add moisture by looking out for the ingredient hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate. Plus, using skincare with natural plant oils and butters helps our skin to preserve moisture but also tops up vital protection when it’s needed most.
Secondly, targeting the foods we eat – swapping out comfort foods for nutritious, omega-3 rich meals and snacks – saving comfort foods for a well-deserved treat.
With a little bit of TLC and the right winter skincare products, our skin can over-winter without a hitch and before we know it Spring will be in the air. To help develop your winter skincare routine, browse our range of natural skincare products for dry skin.