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How to Help Your Dry Winter Skin

If you suffer from dry skin in the winter months, here’s a daily routine to combat it and leave you feeling nourished and radiant.

What’s the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

As strange as it sounds, dry skin isn’t lacking moisture, dry skin primarily lacks natural oils. But dehydrated skin does lack moisture in the outermost layer of the epidermis: the stratum corneum. In the winter months when the weather is harsh, and the central heating is on full blast, it’s very common for people to suffer from both dryness and dehydration.

Dry skin is a skin type but can be a temporary skin condition. If your skin feels tight, itchy and sometimes flaky, these are all classic symptoms of dry skin. And frustratingly, despite skin lacking in moisture, you can still suffer from blemishes and spots.

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition that can affect any skin type, including dry skin. Skin feels tight but can still look oily and be prone to breakouts. If you notice your makeup becoming patchy over the course of a day this is usually a symptom of dehydrated skin. Your skin is so thirsty that it’s absorbing the water from your foundation.

What are the causes of dry winter skin?

The weather is the main suspect in winter. Harsh wind and rain is drying and abrasive. And we often go from one extreme to the other. For example: going from cold and wet weather outdoors to hot and dry homes and offices. Plus, as the hydration level in the air drops, the skin reacts by trying to overcompensate by releasing moisture, which dries it out even faster. But the weather isn’t the only culprit.

There’s also:
Your diet - this time of year, involves more eating out, drinking and general merriment. These can all play havoc with our body’s hydration levels and general equilibrium.
Your lifestyle - as the temperature drops, we want to bundle up and feel cosy and comforted. Being swaddled with hats and scarves can prevent our skin breathing, leaving it lacklustre and dry.

Your routine - more parties at work and with friends mean that we’re often rushed off our feet with little time to pay our skin the attention it needs. It’s crucial not to aggravate your dry or dehydrated skin by ignoring it when it needs the most help.

In the morning:

Step 1: Cleanse
Refresh your skin first thing with a mild cleanser. This will give it a gentle lift. Very dry skin can be often sensitive and sore, so try to give it a bit of TLC, especially in delicate areas, for example, around your eyes. Apply your products gently and never scrub or rub. And always use warm water, never hot. Hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, drying it out even further.

Step 2: Use a light moisturiser and eye balm
Give your skin the hydration it needs. Look for a moisturiser that contains lipids and proteins to build up your skin’s defences and help to protect it. Choose an eye balm for sensitive skin that will complement your skin’s delicate balance and won’t irritate. The right eye balm should soothe and rehydrate. Look for an eye balm that contains Vitamin B5 to help keep skin soft and smooth.

Step 3: Hydrate during the day
Lip balm is your right-hand man during winter. Keep it with you and reapply liberally throughout the day. Look for a balm that contains biolipids and is non-greasy. Also, try a light moisturiser to help freshen up thirsty skin if your skin starts to feel tight. Or if your skin is feeling dehydrated and dull, try freshening it up with a dewy spray, like La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.

It’s formulated to rehydrate sensitive skin and is ideal for when you’ve been indoors all day in stuffy offices or after you’ve been on a packed commuter train. It soothes and softens your skin. Plus, don’t forget to carry a bottle of water with you to sip from throughout the day so you don’t become dehydrated.

In the evening:

Step 4: Remove your makeup carefully

Especially around your eyes. Try a micellar solution to gently remove your makeup. Micellar water is made up of tiny round balls of cleansing molecules that float in water. They quickly and efficiently remove dirt and impurities from your skin without the need to rub and irritate skin that may already be sore and sensitive.

Step 5: Exfoliate once a week

You may feel like exfoliating is the last thing you want to do when your skin is already feeling flaky and dry. But gentle exfoliation will help the outer epidermis shed dead skin cells as well as removing traces of dirt and makeup that can cause breakouts.

Be gentle as you exfoliate, using your middle fingers in light, circular motions. Your middle fingers use a lot less pressure while still giving you control.
Look for exfoliants that contain AHAs (Alpha-Hydroxy Acids) which clean the surface of skin. If you suffer from blackheads, then try products that contain BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acid). These will help deep clean your pores.

Step 6: Moisturise and soothe your skin
After exfoliating it’s essential to use a nourishing serum to replenish your skin of lost oils. Apply to your face and neck using sweeping circular motions. Leave it to absorb into your skin for a few minutes. Then generously nourish your skin before bedtime with a night-time moisturiser that can work to hydrate as you sleep.