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10 ways to treat winter skin

January 28th 2015 / Anna Hunter


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You wouldn’t leave the house in hotpants in winter (or ever), so why skimp on skincare? It’s time to layer up…

Like a soft, cosy polo neck, the right skincare can comfort and protect our complexions from the woes of winter (wind, freezing temperatures, harsh central heating, sneaky UV rays…). Hiding a multitude of sins under said polo neck will reduce the efficacy of any skincare regime, however. Just as our summer bodies are made in winter, thus disguising seasonal indulgence under sweaters is a bit, well, fruitless, so a poor diet can jeopardise our skincare efforts.

Many of us resort to stodgy food and heavy creams come winter, when really, a few smart yet simple skincare, lifestyle and dietary tweaks would get our skin, not to mention mood and bodies, in the best possible shape. Switch up your regular ready meals and laissez-faire skincare for the following and reap the radiant rewards...

1. Feed your face. You are what you eat has never been truer than in the wilds of winter. Somehow salads are a LOT sexier in July, ditto fresh fish and virtuous green juices, but nourishing your skin from within during the colder months could make the biggest difference to stubborn dry patches, angry breakouts and a generally ‘blah’ pallor. Legendary aromatherapist and beauty expert Michelle Roques O’Neil knows a thing or two about the glow-giving potential of what you put on your plate:

“Foods such as avocados, olive oil, honey, pumpkin, spinach, berries, plain yogurt, walnuts and aloe juice all have a profoundly moisturising effect, working from the inside to help your digestive system stay both healthy and hydrated. This vitality will show in your skin if you up your intake.”

If you’re guzzling all of the above and your epidermis is still a tad lacklustre, add in some omega 3 supplements, washing them down with plenty of water (keep sipping that throughout the day too).

2. Jog on. A run around the park is about as tempting as an ice bath at this time of year, but a rush of blood to the cheeks (both sets) will do your complexion the world of good, boosting circulation and banishing dullness. These tips will help you if you’re hesitant to get your trainers on. Just remember to cleanse as soon as possible afterwards to ward off spots and the dreaded bacne. Speaking of washing...

3. Cool off. Steamy showers may feel like a midwinter luxury, but Michelle has a few words on warning before you hop in the tub:

“Try to take lukewarm showers rather than long, hot ones which can exacerbate dryness and cause further damage to winterworn skin. To keep skin in great condition, moisturise straight after your shower and try applying a serum to wet skin for extra dewiness.”


4. Consider a new cleanser. On the subject of cleansing, put down the Fairy Liquid-esque foaming face washes and contemplate indulging in a silky, buttery cleansing balm instead. A balm will dissolve the day’s dirt and makeup without brillo-ing off the rest of your face (especially important at this time of year when our skin is at it’s most delicate), leaving skin feeling and looking fresh and soft. Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, £22, will melt away grime and is safe for sensitive types thanks to its fragrance free formula.


5. Brush it off. Exfoliating in winter is a great way to clear away the cobwebs (flaky face is never a good look), but don’t be tempted to overdo it in a quest for brighter, baby soft skin. Scratchy scrubs can cause more harm than good, so consider opting for for a cleansing brush to gently buff away surface dead skin cells. You can’t go wrong with a classic Clarisonic; it will gently purify and refine skin while also allowing your skincare to penetrate more efficiently post-use.

6. Polish up your act. If you’re prone to redness flare ups or are a general exfoliant avoidant, may I suggest that you consider adding a little dust to your regime? Hear me out, because cleansing powders are a recent skin-sloughing innovation that allow you to restore your skin to it’s former, glowing glory without the need for harsh chemicals or mechanics. Simply add water, mix to a paste and sweep over the skin before rinsing and revealing a smoother, calmer visage. Repeat once or twice a week. Washing powder is no longer confined to your wardrobe. Diptyque Radiance Boosting Powder, £35, contains powdered rose, jasmine and neroli petals to hydrate (not to mention make you smell like a botanical garden), with white clay to keep oil and sebum at bay.


7. Layer your lotions. Layering is the name of the game in winter, both sartorially and from a skincare perspective. A multi-pronged approach is far superior to a blanket of heavy moisturizers- try choosing lighter textures but slipping on a serum first and finishing with a protective SPF (yes- you still need one, despite it being a wet, windy Wednesday). Sun exposure is the prime culprit when it comes to skin-ageing, so a soothing day cream with sun protection is your best weapon to ward away wrinkles and lines all year round. Apply following a brightening serum, such as Olay Regenerist Luminous Skin Tone Perfecting Serum, £19.99, which absorbs almost instantly and contains a powerhouse formula of plumping and pigmentation fighting niacinamide and Olay exclusive Sepiwhite. In essence, it shows dullness and uneven skintone where the door is (over time). It’s definitely worth a try if dark spots (not to mention grey clouds) are casting a shadow over your previously peachy complexion.


8. Get your glow back. Beaming skin isn’t just for sunnier months; you can mimic a midsummer glow by making friends with a nourishing facial oil. Mixed with a moisturiser or applied solo, the right facial oil can benefit every skin type, from spot-prone to dry to sensitive. It’s the quickest way to revive sallow, tired skin (try applying it after a rough night and watch your face come back to life), and especially rewarding to use during winter months thanks to its plumping effects and deep penetrating essential fatty acids. Give bestselling balance me Radiance Face Oil a whirl and you’ll never look back; the end of day massage ritual is gratifying enough by itself.


9. Indulge in some winter sun. Even a sojourn in Barbados can’t achieve what the now cult James Read Sleep Mask Tan can; an instant, lightly bronzed brilliance, overnight. If you spy an especially healthy looking beauty writer lurking on the pages of this site, tanning innovator James Read can almost certainly take the credit. Packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid, yet lightweight in texture with no telltale ‘soggy biscuit’ smell, it works as you sleep to ensure that you wake up to a warm, flattering, ‘barely there’ tan.

10. Remember that your body is a temple. You’ve worked out, eaten well and given yourself a good scrub, but don’t bypass body beautifying simply because you’ve spent the last few months encased in turtlenecks and opaque tights. Let Clarins Head of Treatment Development Marie McKeever convince you show your trunk a little tenderness:

“To brighten up grey winter skin and boost moisture levels, use an enriching body oil after bathing for intensive, impressive results and an indulgent experience.”


Clarins Relax Body Treatment Oil, £39, is 100% plant based and benefits your mood and mind as much as it does chapped elbows, arid limbs and aching muscles- inhale the chamomile, basil and geranium oils before bed and you’ll drift into the land of nod with no trouble at all. Apply to slightly damp skin for better absorption and to make the bottle last longer. Lastly, don’t neglect your mitts. The days of slathering hands in thick barrier creams may well be over- Aveda Hand Relief™ Night Renewal Serum, £25, works in just the same way as a facial serum. It’s light formulation turns to silk upon application, meaning that you can get on with your evening without smearing hand cream on door handles and laptops, safe in the knowledge that natural oils are protecting and moisturising your skin, not to mention smoothing fine lines.

This feature was written in partnership with Latest In Beauty. Try out goodies by Michelle Roques O’Neil, James Read and Balance Me by purchasing our exclusive Beauty Insider’s Kit

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