How to Beat the Winter Skin Blues – Your Optimal Winter Skincare Routine

We all know that a good skincare routine should be personalised, based around your skin type, age and lifestyle – but did you know that seasonal changes are important too? To really be effective you need to tailor your routine to the time of year, with different products used in summer and in winter. Here's how.

By Joanna Silva, Founder of Elan Skincare

Studies show that during the winter, the skin's barrier function is compromised, with increased symptoms of inflammation and trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) causing skin dehydration. Cold weather, biting winds, variations of humidity and temperature (between outdoors and centrally heated indoors), plus additional  layers of clothing can all leave our skin looking dull, feeling tight, irritated or rough in texture. Those with sensitive skin or dry skin conditions tend to suffer even more. Skin conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis are particularly affected in winter, with frequent itchy flares up during cold spells.

The adverse effects of the winter season on skin conditions can be prevented by establishing a skincare routine that will help you in maintaining a healthy skin barrier. As our body needs extra loving care during the winter, here are five simple things you can do to help protect it and keep it glowing.

1. Exfoliate

This is essential for removing dead skin cells from the upper layer of our skin, and also impurities from the surface of the skin. The clearer your skin, the easier it is to moisturise it. I recommend a gentle exfoliation for your body rather than anything harsh, e.g. a sugar-based scrub. Elan's Imagine Pure Delight Chocolate & Orange Body Scrub will gently exfoliate your skin without stripping it of its natural oils. The sugar cane is a natural source of glycolic acid that can smooth and soften the skin. Plus organic coconut, sesame, oat kernel, and squalane oils, vitamin E, and deeply nourishing vegan candelilla wax will leave your skin deeply moisturised and smoothed. And yes, it does smell as good as it sounds!

2. Mind the Temperature

As tempting as it is to shower and bathe in hot water in winter, it's actually best to turn the temperature down, as very hot water weakens the skin’s natural lipid barrier. 

Apply your products to the body while it's still damp to lock in moisture, especially if you are using waterless skincare e.g. body butters and balms entirely made of natural butters, oils and waxes. Fresh out of the shower or bath, pat your skin lightly with a towel, making sure your skin is still moist when you apply your moisturiser. This way it will spread more easily and penetrate more deeply. For a depply moisturising yet light option, I recommend our Imagine Pure Delight Body Scrub & Pure Goodness Body Butter.

3. Cleanse Gently

Our outmost layer of the skin is composed of the mixture of lipids – ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids, which help prevent dehydration and protect us from external aggressors. A strong and healthy skin barrier is one which is well moisturised, making the skin look smoother and feel softer.

So it's important to avoid harsh and drying cleansing products. Look out for ingredients that provide a protective layer, as well as strengthening the skin. We recommend our Gentle Wonder Face Cleanser, which includes Cucumber, Melon and Bakuchiol, a natural alternative to Vitamin A. Despite it being fragrance free (making it ideal for sensitive skins), the melon and cucumber give it a wonderfully relaxing gentle natural scent.

Be sure to include in your skincare routine emollients that replenish skin lipids like linoleic acid (also known as Vitamin F), and avoid those that strip the skin at a time when it is already depleted.

4. Create a Barrier

Look out for occlusive ingredients which create a barrier over the skin and prevent water loss from the surface. Choose natural occlusive ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, squalene, lecithin and vegan waxes like rice bran or candelilla to keep the moisture in.

One of the best ways to hydrate the skin is by using humectants, which attract and bind water in the skin. The most popular humectants are glycerine, urea and hyaluronic acid. As there is less humidity in the air during winter to draw into the skin, make sure you layer such products e.g. Dream Hyaluronic Acid Booster Serum with occlusive moisturisers such as oil based serums.

5. Don't Forget Your Beauty Sleep!

At night our skin cell turnover and renewal is higher than during the day. Also the skin’s barrier is more permeable at night compared to during the day. So for everyone – but especially for those with dry skin conditions – do not forget to moisturise before you go to bed! We recommend our Dream Collagen Boosting Night Face Serum, a restorative blend of luxurious plant oils, potent botanical actives, and Vitamins E and C. Together these target uneven looking, tired or mature skin, delivering radiance-boosting activities to the skin cells.

About the Author

Joanna Silva, the founder of Elan Skincare, has nearly a decade of experience in the medical industry. She is knowledgeable and passionate about skin health, having worked in product development in the areas of wound care, skincare and infection prevention. In her eyes, good skincare should be focused on protection, maintaining healthy skin, and preventing premature ageing. It should be effective, yet pleasant and joyful to use. At the end of the day skincare is self-care and it can have a very positive impact on overall well-being.

For more Winter Skincare Saviours shop our edit.

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