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  • Combatting Winter Skin: Dr NC's Guide to Keeping that Glow
  • Dr Natasha Cook

Combatting Winter Skin: Dr NC's Guide to Keeping that Glow

Combatting Winter Skin: Dr NC's Guide to Keeping that Glow

Winter doesn’t have to mean dull, dry and lifeless skin! Now the colder months are here, it’s important to recognise that our skin changes depending on the weather and the environment and we need to adapt our skincare accordingly. It is why I think skin type is fundamentally a myth (Read more in my previous blog). In winter, the humidity levels in our environment drop. As a result, we lose more moisture and the skin dries out via a process known as osmosis.

Your skin needs extra care and attention and changes need to be implemented to your routine. Otherwise you can end up with more than just dry skin and a plethora of skin problems !!!

Here are my best skin care tips during winter...

1. Soap is a dirty word! Cleanse without stripping!

Your skin is already struggling with moisture loss from low humidity and overheating in air conditioning. Do your skin a favour and cleanse without stripping with a cleanser free of harsh surfactants and detergents. This means AVOID anything that foams. 

Furthermore, a good cleanser should also hydrate your skin (look for glycerine) AND have anti-inflammatory ingredients to protect from environmental damage like B3 and Chamomile.

My Concentrated Cleanser is not only soap free, it is boosted with anti-inflammatory Vitamin B3 and soothing botanicals and hydrating glycerine. Designed and tested for all skin types.

2. Moisturise! Moisturise! Moisturise!

Lower humidity in the atmosphere means drier skin. You will probably find you will need a more enriched, nourishing moisturiser in winter than in summer due to the lower humidity and overheating. That’s why I’m not a big believer in skin type as our “type” literally changes with the weather. If we are in a humid environment, like Singapore, we need a lighter moisturizer, but if we are in the Alps in winter, we are dry, needing heavier moisturisers that contain more humectants (moisture / water binding ingredients think glycerine, hyaluronic acid) and occlusive ingredients (things that stop water and moisture loss).

My top ingredients are: glycerine (a humectant, meaning it binds and holds water into the skin), Medical grade lanolin (the closest thing to natural skin oils),shea butter and hyaluronic acid. Check out the Concentrated Hydration boosted with 5% Vitamin B3. Integrates so you don’t feel oily BUT holds moisture in all day (12-15 hours) AND doubles up as an eye cream.

3. Don’t forget the body skin!

Oil up! In the bath or shower, lock moisture in. In fact, use a hydrating oil based wash in the shower or bath. Moisturise frequently, and always IMMEDIATELY after you come out of the shower to prevent dehydration by evaporation and lock the moisture in. Moisturisers containing substances such as glycerine and lanolin help seal in moisture and fortify the skin’s barrier function. 

Take shorter baths or showers, as prolonged bathing disrupts the skin’s protective barrier functions. Remember, hot water is more irritating to the skin.

4. Enrich with Vitamins.

If your skin is feeling dry and sensitive, combat with a soothing facial B3 niacinamide serum, under your enriched moisturiser. Niacinamide reduces inflammation that occurs from the wind and overheating. It strengthens the epidermal barrier function, protecting your skin from the winter elements. Winter wears down your barrier so B3 will protect against this. It also increases ceramide levels (one of most important natural moisturising factors). Finally, it is the single best anti-inflammatory ingredient that exists in skincare today, so it will sooth inflamed winter skin and rosacea.

5. Ditch scrubs and exfoliate with serums.

Get rid of mechanical exfoliants. I don’t believe they should be used at any time of the year, but they will be even more irritating in winter. That literally destroy the VERY important barrier layer of the skin increasing ageing, sensitivity, dehydration and damage.

Instead, invest in cell exfoliating ingredients to remove dry, dull, lack lustre skin cells. Look for: Lactic acid and other AHAs. Lactic is my pick as it exfoliates, cell renews AND is a humectant, which means it can exfoliate and hydrate at the same time. I love multi-tasking ingredients. It is also one of the more gentle AHAs, so perfect for this time of year.

6. Protect from Pollution!

Pollution and Pollu-ageing are buzz words that are being increasingly debated and discussed in international dermatology circles over the past 2 years. Many experts feel it could be as damaging as UV!!

Pollution, in the form of fumes, dirt, smoke and dust, create free radicals that accelerate ageing. Free radicals can also damage the skin, increasing irritation and aggravating conditions like eczema.

Choose moisturisers that protect against environmental aggressors. Look for anti-oxidant Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and Vitamin C.

7. Don’t get Caught in the UV trap.

You still can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays during winter. In fact, potentially more as you stay out longer as it is not so hot! You could say you get a false sense of security and in fact, create more damage as you don’t “feel” the warning signs like heat or burning.

I’m a fan of physical blockers, so zinc and titanium dioxide based sunscreens are my favourites. So invest in a sunscreen specific product and look for SPF 30 and above. Apply after moisturizing. Then put your SPF boosted make up product over the top.

  • Dr Natasha Cook

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