To quote Game of Thrones: “Winter is coming.” In fact, for those in the northern hemisphere, it’s already here. Enter your cold-weather woes: dry skin, chapped lips, red in all the wrong places. We are, after all, sensitive creatures.
“When cold weather arrives, humidity levels drop drastically,” says Arabella Preston, Kate Middleton’s former make-up artist and co-founder of leading skincare brand Votary. “This, combined with dry heat from central heating and the fact that our oil-producing sebaceous glands get sluggish in colder weather, can leave normally healthy skin feeling dehydrated. It often becomes sensitive, and that can lead to more serious skin conditions.”
So, what to do? “During the winter months, it is important to slightly adjust your skin routine,” says Jodie Comer’s go-to skin specialist, Jasmina Vico. From Bella Hadid-favourite Dr Barbara Sturm to Sofia Richie-approved Sunday Riley, we asked seven leading experts to share their tips for protecting your skin from winter’s bite.
Arabella Preston, co-founder of Votary
Layer-up your skincare
Just as you would pop your favourite winter coat over a cashmere jumper, and that over a thermal vest, apply moisture-attracting serums to clean skin, such as ones containing hyaluronic acid. Then smooth a facial oil all over, and add a nourishing cream on top to seal the deal.
Protect your skin from water contact
Try layering a cleansing oil over the skin before stepping into the bath or shower. Leave on while you soak or wash, and remove just before you get out. Immediately layer your skincare or body care on to just damp skin. This will help retain moisture and leave skin supple.
Take extra care with your eye area and lips
The skin here is thinner and has little-to-no oil glands to protect itself. Use serums and oils around the eyes that soothe and protect the skin. On the lips, use occlusive balms to provide a barrier against the elements (to seal in moisture rather than provide it).
Jasmina Vico, skin expert
Invest in a humidifier
Harsh winter weather creates a challenge for the skin as humidity is low both indoors and out. Using a humidifier helps replenish the top layer of the epidermis by preventing the air from becoming too dry.
Wear breathable fabrics
Opt for light, soft layers next to your skin, rather than synthetic fabrics that may cause itching.
Look to natural ingredients
Fragranced body creams and soaps will dry the skin further — try switching to unscented, natural formulas.
Emma Coleman, dermatology and aesthetic RGN
Avoid harsh, alcohol-heavy cleansers
Opt for cream or balm products instead. You can double cleanse if your skin is really parched — use water with the first cleanse but make the second one a dry cleanse.
Wear a serum high in vitamin C
This encourages the production of collagen and cell turnover.
Apply a honey mask three times a week
Do this in the evenings after removing your make-up. Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it seals in moisture. This will instantly give your skin a lovely glow, too. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and don’t forget your neck.
Use face oil overnight
Look for ingredients such as rosehip, soybean, and jojoba, which all possess highly hydrating properties.
Dr Elif Benar, dermatologist
Choose the correct moisturiser for your skin type
Moisturisers act as a barrier, holding moisture in and hydrating the skin’s outer layers. If you have oily skin, water-based, non-comedogenic moisturisers are the best choice. Dry skin needs a heavier, oil-based moisturiser to rehydrate.
Avoid hot showers and baths
Hot water evaporates fast, stripping your skin of its essential moisture and damaging its natural protective barrier. Moisturise immediately after showering or bathing.
Dr Barbara Sturm, aesthetic doctor
Cut out dehydrating ingredients
These include ingredients such as mineral oils and aggressive acid peels, which damage the cells and dramatically reduce the skin-barrier function leading to transepidermal water loss and exposing skin to the elements.
Incorporate lipids into your routine
A great moisturiser containing lipids and powerful antioxidants is essential. A rich cream with shielding ingredients such as grapeseed oil is recommended to prepare and protect the skin while also keeping it well-balanced during the colder months.
Use a mild exfoliator
It’s important to use a mild exfoliator to remove dead and dry cells from the skin’s surface and enable serums and creams to be absorbed more deeply into the skin — this is your most effective tool to combat dullness and blackheads.
Dr Paul Nassif, plastic surgeon, skin specialist and founder of NassifMD Dermaceuticals
Add hyaluronic acid to your routine
Hyaluronic acid is an amazing way to help skin hold on to hydration without having to rely on heavy creams. Hyaluronic acid molecules can hold 1,000 times their own weight in water, locking moisture into the skin.
The most important thing you can do for your skin is to wear sunscreen every single day (minimum SPF30), even when it’s winter. Sun exposure can lead to pigmentation issues, wrinkles, loss of collagen, and skin cancer. Sunscreen will also even out your skin tone, allow scars, and hyperpigmentation the chance to heal and lighten.
Sunday Riley, founder and brand formulator
Ceramides are a critical element of the natural moisture barrier, and we produce fewer and fewer as we get older. As the cold sets in, it’s always a good idea to include ceramides in your skincare routine.
Don’t be afraid of retinoids
Summer usually means extra sun exposure, even if you use sunscreen. Using retinoids during winter can reverse some of the effects of summer-sun exposure, such as dark spots and UV damage. Start with layering a retinoid every other night and follow with a rich moisturising cream or oil to lock in hydration.
From British Vogue