Dr. Freeda Tannous
Consultant Dermatologist, aesthetic and laser specialist
Winter season might be cold, however we tend to cuddle up inside with our family and friends around the radiator or fire. With these changes of climate comes physical changes in our bodies. Importantly, the cold and dry air during winter months can impact the skin’s balancing factors and can lead to dryness, itchiness, redness and irritation.
This irritation can often lead to roughness and inflammation, which can occur in the following areas:
- The face and scalp
- The hands, feet and elbows
- Any other area on the body….
Here are my tip’s to having beautiful skin all winter long!
Firstly, shower using lukewarm water and avoid using hot water both when washing your face and when showering. This is because hot water depletes the skin of its natural oils that protect it from irritation and dryness; causing it to become inflamed and red. Similarly, I advise that you limit your showers to a maximum of 5-10 minutes at a time to prevent inflammation as well.
Secondly, don’t use normal soap for washing your face and showering, but use medically approved cleansers that are soap and fragrance free. I would also recommend using a soft luffa and prevent excessive exfoliation.
Thirdly, moisturize your face and body daily, all year round, but especially during the winter. Make sure that your moisturizer is also fragrance and chemical free and apply it after cleansing and gently pat drying your skin. What this does is forms a layer of protection for your skin and allows it to absorb moisture and stay hydrated.
Fourthly, making sure to moisturize the lips and hands regularly. During the winter months, the lips are prone to dryness and cracking. The hands are also prone to redness and inflammation due to repetitive washing and the use of cleaning supplies that often include chemicals that are harmful to the skin. To prevent this, I advise regular moisturizing with medical un-scented hydrating agents.
Fifthly, don’t forget about SPF during the gloomy winter months. Whether it is the UV light from the sun, that is still present all year round, or that from our phones, laptop and other screens, it is important not to commit this common error and forget your sunscreen.
Sixthly, see your dermatologist for advise on the appropriate exfoliator which I advise using once a week. This allows for the skin to remain smooth and for better penetration of your serums and moisturizers, which allows for a natural glow.
Seventhly, make sure your diet is healthy and balanced, containing minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants that are all nutritious for the skin. Omega 3 as well as other diet supplements can also help you reach your skin goals!
Eighthly, make sure you are drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day during the winter months. During the summer, we are more likely to perspire and therefore get dehydrated and feel thirsty, therefore more likely to be drinking sufficient water. However, in the absence of heat, it is just as important to keep hydrated for optimal nourishment of both the internal organs and our largest and most external organ; our skin!
Ninthly, I recommend the use of a humidifier when indoors during the winter months. Additionally, I advise that we don’t sit too close to radiators or leave them on for too long as they make the air and hence our skin dry. Also, maintain room temperature at around 22 degrees which is the most appropriate for the body and skin.
Tenthly, make sure to wear warm clothing during winter months to prevent your skin from being exposed to the cold wind. Dressing in warm clothing ensures good perfusion of the skin. However, be weary of materials like wool and nylon that can cause irritation; rather wear soft cotton. Another tip is to change out of wet clothing swiftly as it can causing