Winter weather can wreak havoc on the skin, with harsh conditions and artificial heating causing skin to dry out and blood vessels to change rapidly in response to varying temperatures, leaving the complexion looking chapped, flushed and weather beaten. The following simple steps can help your customers protect their skin from harsh conditions, leaving it feeling comfortable and looking healthy.
The cold weather is not the only threat to skin’s comfort and health during the winter months; central heating can also cause issues for the skin. Dr Bav Shergill, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation trustee, says: “While it’s natural to want to stay warm indoors, the drier air in centrally heated buildings can cause skin to dry out, so try not to turn the thermostat up to maximum.”
Along with drinking plenty of water to hydrate from the inside out, customers should also pay attention to their diet, as this can affect the skin and exacerbate dryness. Katie Gray, Global Head Facialist at Emma Hardie, says: “It might be difficult, but customers should avoid sugar and caffeine; the former breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin, and the latter really dehydrates it. Recommend eating a handful of nuts each day, as they are great for boosting the skin’s oil levels.” Essential fatty acids can also be found in oily fish, seeds, beans, vegetables and wholegrains.
One simple way customers can help counteract the drying effects of central heating is to invest in a humidifier. Joanne Dodds from online hair and beauty retailer Hairtrade.com says: “Chances are, customers will have the heating on full blast at home, which will suck out any remaining moisture in the air. Invest in a humidifier and have it on at night to stop the hair and skin from drying out.” Evans agrees, adding: “Place a humidifier in all rooms when the heating comes on to help disperse moisture.”
Many customers may need to change their skincare with the seasons, opting for more hydrating products in the colder months. Consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson Dr Anjali Mahto says: “Many people find their skin is drier in winter, and creams and ointments may work better than gels or lotions.” Gray adds: “It is so important to nurture your skin in the winter, adding richer creams and oils to your skin and body routines. I would also recommend layering products during the winter months; I like to add a hydrating serum, such as our Emma Hardie Midas Touch Facial Serum (RRP £59), to act as a booster to moisturiser. In addition, you could advise customers to switch to a balm cleanser to cleanse and hydrate skin at the same time, adding nourishment back into the skin after a day out in the elements. Look out for ingredients like vitamin E to soothe and calm, vitamin B3, which is great for redness, and vitamin C to brighten dull skin during the colder months.'
“Many people find their skin is drier in winter, and creams and ointments may work better than gels or lotions.”
Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson
Wrapping up warm in the winter is a must, but heavier winter clothes can have a drying effect on the skin. Facialist, skin expert and ingredients specialist at Skin Matters Clinic Joanne Evans explains: “Warm materials like wool can irritate dry, flaky skin. Scarves can really dry the neck out and this area produces very little oil, so advise your customers to use a heavy neck cream and to wear soft, natural materials next to the skin to reduce friction.” Elemis Pro-Collagen Neck & Décolleté Balm (RRP £49) combines omega 7-rich sea buckthorn oil with padina pavonica to help hydrate, nourish and smooth the delicate neck and chest area. Evans adds: “Gloves and socks can also pull moisture from the skin, so recommend wearing cotton socks underneath thicker woolly ones, and cotton gloves, or gloves with a soft lining.” Shergill concludes: “If rain makes the clothes damp, encourage customers to change into something dry as son as possible and not to leave wet clothes in contact with the skin, which may cause further chafing or irritation.”
Although it’s tempting to warm up with a hot bath or shower, this can have a negative effect on the skin. Mahto explains: “Hot baths or showers can strip away the oil from the skin, so keep these warm rather than too hot.” Evans adds: “Soaking in extra hot baths can break down the skin's moisture barrier. Opt for warm baths instead and don’t soak for too long. Add some oatmeal to a gauze and hang it from the tap, letting the water flow through it as the bath fills; the enzymes from the oats help to calm, soothe and nourish dry skin. Epsom salts can also relieve sore, dry skin.” Shergill advises: “Drying the skin vigorously with a towel can damage it, so pat dry and don’t rub. Apply moisturiser to the skin immediately after bathing or showering while the skin is still slightly damp.” Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion (RRP from £5.69) contains naturally active colloidal oatmeal to moisturise skin for up to 24 hours, and significantly improves the condition of dry skin in just two weeks.
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about drinking it! Toners and any other facial products containing alcohol can strip away moisture. Mahto warns: “Avoid skin contact with harsh alcohol-based soaps or cleaning products, as they dry out the skin.”
It’s crucial to remind customers that UV damage can occur all year round, not just when the sun is out. For many, winter also means skiing, which can prevent a greater risk of sunburn as UV penetration is greater high up in the mountains, and UV rays reflect off snow. Evans warns: “Sunscreen is just as important in the winter as in the summer – it will not just protect from UVA, which is constant, it will also help protect your DNA.” Dodds adds: “Recommend investing in a tinted moisturiser with added SPF protection to use as foundation.” Rituals Winter Sun Protection SPF30 Face & Lip (RRP £12.50) includes an oil-based sun cream formula that won’t freeze on contact with cold air, unlike traditional summer sun protection formulas, and a separate soft textured lip balm in the cap.
Along with the face, hands are often exposed to the elements and can therefore suffer during winter. Mahto says: “The hands are often at the mercy of cold weather. Combine this with exposure to soaps and household cleaners and the hands can become very dry. Encourage customers to get into the habit of carrying a hand cream with them and moisturising the hands after washing.” Du’It Tough Hands (RRP from £7.99) is an industrial strength hand moisturiser designed to soften and soothe dry, cracked or irritated hands. It hydrates skin to replace lost moisture and creates a protective barrier to shield skin from harsh environmental stresses.
Advise customers to pay special attention to their lips; these do not have any sebaceous glands, meaning they don’t produce their own oil, so they dry out easily and are prone to chapping and flaking. Regular application of a moisturising lip balm throughout the day will help to hydrate skin and create a barrier to avoid further drying. Dodds adds: “Regularly applying lip balm is great for chapped lips, but sometimes it might not do the job. To exfoliate a flaky pout, use a clean toothbrush and gently scrub to remove dead skin. Slather on nourishing lip balm afterwards to lock in moisture.” Ideal for use on the lips, as well as any other areas prone to extreme dryness such as cuticles, knees and feet, ESPA Skin Rescue Wonderbalm (RRP £28) combines some of nature’s most renowned calming and antioxidant-rich actives to intensely soothe, replenish and restore skin and repairits moisture barrier.Many people find their skin is drier in winter, and creams and ointments may work better than gels or lotions.
Soaking in extra hot baths can break down the skin's moisture barrier