Romantic strolls down snow-dusted lanes, ice-skating, rosy cheeks and hot mugs of mulled wine… movies have made winter look really something special. But, once the novelty of that cute new jacket wears off, the endless weeks of chilly weather can start to get pretty unenjoyable. Winter has a tendency to make us feel unmotivated, sluggish, and downright blah. Blame it on the darker mornings, the harsh winds, indoor heating, or those “comforting” foods our body starts to crave (hello, creamy pasta!) — whatever it is, we all feel it. And we see it too. The brittle, dull hair, chapped lips and dry skin are just a few of the most common complaints we all seem to have come February.
While we can’t do much about the temperature outside, we can offer a little help when it comes to fighting winter’s dry-out. Making a few simple changes to your daily routine can help keep your skin feeling hydrated and nourished throughout the cooler months.
Skin is the body’s largest organ, and what you eat can have a huge impact on the health of your skin. Increase your daily intake of healthy fats, like walnuts, olive oil, avocados and chia seeds, and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake. And, as always, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day to help flush toxins and promote skin hydration
Use gentle cleansers
Avoid washing your body or face with cleansers that contain harsh additives, such as artificial fragrance. Skip the soap altogether (if you can!) or use it sparingly, opting for gentle cleansers containing natural oils, chamomile or soothing oatmeal. For the face, try a sensitive skin formula, like Cetaphil, which prevents dryness by protecting essential skin oils.
It may seem counterintuitive to scrub at skin that’s already flakey, but exfoliation is actually super important in ensuring your skin can absorb topical moisturizers, such as serums, creams and oils. Add a gentle exfoliant into your face care routine — try a chemical exfoliant with mild glycolic or lactic acid, rather than physical scrubbing granules. For your body, skip the store-bought scrubs and instead make a DIY nourishing exfoliator using some of your favourite pantry items (we love the coconut sugar oatmeal scrub!). For severely dry skin, skip the exfoliator and incorporate a wet washcloth instead for a gentler option.
Not too hot
On those chilly mornings, it’s all so tempting to drag out our shower time while inching that temperature up. But for the health of your skin, you should be trying to minimize your shower time and avoiding hot water. Hot showers or baths can lead to dry, itchy skin. Even just swapping your hot shower for a lukewarm one a few times a week can make a big difference in helping to keep your skin hydrated and your hair strong and shiny. How do you know your shower is too hot? If your skin looks pink or flushed when you get out, you need to turn that temperature down.
Take an oatmeal bath
Humble oatmeal is one of the most underrated skin saviours. But this breakfast staple has been praised by researchers for it’s moisturizing, cleansing, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties, while at the same time offering minimal incidence of irritation. To make an oatmeal bath, simply blitz up one cup of oatmeal into a fine powder. Add it to your tub (not too hot, remember!) and soak for 15-20mins. Enjoy a few times a week for a hydration boost or, if you’re suffering from extremely dry skin, try an oatmeal bath to replace your daily shower.
Moisturize while damp
Warning: this crazy simple tip is going to change your life! After showering or bathing, pat off excess water with a towel but avoid drying off completely. Instead, slather on your moisturizer while your skin is still warm and damp to lock in that extra moisture.