“Extremes of environment and temperature can wreak havoc on the health of your skin and could make it dehydrated,” says Sally Penford, spokesperson for the International Dermal Institute. "As we get older, our skin tends to be thinner with lower moisture levels, so we have less natural protection against cold winds and central heating. So you might also have noticed your skin looking red and blotchy in the winter."
"Going from warm indoor environments to cold outdoor winds causes the blood capillaries in your skin to dilate and contract,” says Penford. “The capillary walls may eventually start to lose elasticity and the result is permanently dilated capillaries, increased redness, and sensitivity.” The good news is that by starting to protect and nourish your skin now, you can reduce your risk of winter skin problems. Here are Penford's tips to winter-proof your skin this season.
1. Cleanse gently.
Avoid harsh cleansers that can strip your skin. “Instead, choose a cleanser formulated to protect skin against the winter environment,” says Penford. Try a gentle gel/cream packed with anti-aging antioxidants and calming green tea, which can be either rinsed off or removed with cotton swab if water irritates your skin.
2. Polish up.
“Exfoliation is really important at this time of year,” says Penford. “What with cold winds and drying central heating, dead skin cells build up, clogging pores and making your moisturizer less effective.” If your skin is dry and flaky and even rich creams aren’t helping, it’s probably because you need to exfoliate.
The skin on your body can be just as prone to becoming flaky and scaly in winter. Choose a body scrub that contains nourishing oil to leave your skin feeling smooth and moisturized.
3. Nourish and protect.
“To protect your skin throughout the day when it will be bombarded by damaging free radicals and the environment, it’s vital to moisturize,” says Penford.
To help your skin recover at night, try a nourishing night cream, such as Olay Regenerist 3 Point Age-Defying Night Cream ($19.85, Amazon), with penta-peptides and olive extract to smooth lines.
And while your body may not be on display at this time of year, slathering on a rich body lotion will keep your skin soft and comfortable. We love Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion ($14.58, Amazon), which contains finely milled oatmeal to help restore your skin’s protective barrier.
Just as you pile on layers to keep warm in the winter, your skin will benefit from some added extras. Here’s where a serum — which you put on under moisturizer — really comes into its own. To replace lost moisture, look for a serum containing hyaluronic acid, which attracts and locks in water. Check out this list of the best serums for women over 50.
4. Remember the extremities.
Don’t forget your hands and lips — both are exposed to the elements during the winter but can be neglected. Get into the habit of rubbing on hand cream whenever you wash your hands, and smooth it on before you go to sleep so the moisture soaks in overnight.
This article was originally written by Yours editors. For more, check out our sister site, Yours.