Winter's officially arrived. This means plummeting temperatures, steaming hot showers, harsh winds and central heating - all things that unfortunately don't lend themselves to a soft, radiant complexion. Tightness, dryness, flaking, chapping, itchiness - we've all been there and, like you, pondered whether having soft skin.
First things first, you have to drink water.
A common misconception is that dry skin will be solved by piling on creams and oils - the more, the better. But your skin - which, after all, is made up of 64% water - is, in fact, largely dictated by your hydration levels.
Water not only plumps the skin but it encourages collagen production which ensures the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of skin. It also helps to flush toxins out of the body that can lead to acne and eventually to scarring.
Without adequate water levels, your skin will appear dull, and fine lines, wrinkles, scars and pores will appear exaggerated as the face essentially shrinks into its tightest position.
When it comes to taking off your makeup and cleaning your face, avoid skin wipes at all costs. Not only are most full of nasty chemicals, they're incredibly drying. Pick a kind face wash that'll calm your skin, gently get rid of dirt and won't leave your face with that horrible "stripped" feeling.
It's hard to know whether you should ever exfoliate your skin. Some health experts say absolutely, otherwise products you put on your face won't penetrate the skin, but others say the skin is not meant to be forced to shred.
The important thing here is not to use exfoliators with very hard beads. The skin on the face is some of the thinnest skin on the body and when we do things to ourselves we have a higher pain threshold which can lead to damage. If you exfoliate too aggressively your skin can be left raw and veins can be cracked.
Use something like the 100% natural
Cleansing is an important step in a healthy skincare regime. Not only does it help to remove impurities from your skin - dirt, excess oil, dead skin - it also hydrates it and preps it for moisturisers, serums and masks.
Depending on your skin type, always keep in mind that central heating, wind and cold temperatures will leave your skin dryer than normal so you need a different cleanser from the one you use in the summer. Pick a control cleanser if your skin is naturally oily or a moisturising one for those faces in need of a large drink.
Again, we're torn when it comes to toning. Do you? Don't you? Truthfully, it’s a step you can skip as it's really just an extra benefit but do try it if you can.
If your skin’s very dry, you must not use a toner that contains alcohol as it’s much too strong for you.
Think of a serum like a more concentrated moisturiser that’s lightweight. By leaving out lubricants and thickening agents typically found in face creams, the active ingredients are able to penetrate the skin much faster.
For those with oily skin who may have trouble with heavier lotion, serums are a winter skin SOS. More often than not, what’s typically eliminated from serums is the oils (nut, mineral, seed etc.) in a bid for a purer solution.
Winter skincare's saving grace, moisturising is essential but it's crucial that you get the right one for your skin type.
Before purchasing you should call on the advice of whoever's serving you. Talk about your skin's habits - is it flaky? Is it itchy? Is it sore? - so the product works to really eliminate your concerns.
We cannot stress the importance of wearing SPF every day even if it’s cloudy and raining. UV light is always present and will cause irreversible damage if it’s not protected against.
SPF should always be the last step in your skincare routine and the first in your makeup. You must buy a product that contains both UVA (long-wave rays) and UVB (short-ray waves) and go no lower than SPF30 in order to fully protect against burn, pigmentation, dark spots and fight against premature aging.
Our attitude when it comes to lip balm is: if you don't wear it, don't start. Your lips become reliant on products which can eventually lead to more chapping should you stop.
However, if you're already at that stage, lip balm is something worth investing in. Usually a last minute thought for skincare, it's easy to pick up a cheap stick on the go but effectiveness varies so wildly with each balm.
We say avoid night masks if you have very oily skin but, for those with dry skin, they’re a life saviour.
Use once or twice a week depending on your skin’s needs - their softening products mean that you have a head start on your daily glow as soon as you wake.
Hyaluronic Acid is a supplement dermatologists swear by. Today, it’s actually considered equally important, if not more important, than Collagen.
In a nutshell, Hyaluronic Acid is a water molecule that cushions joints, nerves, hydrates skin and hair and fills the eyes. Our bodies contain approximately 15 grams of Hyaluronic Acid but as we get older, production declines which results in wrinkles, dull and dehydrated skin.
In fact, by the time we reach our mid-40s, our bodies contain roughly half the amount of Hyaluronic Acid that we require.
Taking a supplement every day will really help you to maintain adequate levels of Hyaluronic Acid, especially during the colder seasons when your skin needs plumped.