For me, the first sign that winter is approaching isn’t chunky knitwear, or the Christmas gifts appearing in high street stores – it’s that my skin starts to look and feel in bad condition. It starts with dryness on exposed areas like my hands and my face (especially as I love running outdoors) and extends to the rest of my body as the weather gets even colder. Well guess what, last week my skin started to tell me that winter is on its way! And I’m sure I’m not alone.
Every year as the temperatures drop the condition of our skin can also deteriorate, and this isn’t just a problem for those with dry or sensitive skin types, it can affect everyone. Luckily for us, there are some changes we can make to our skincare routines that will help combat dry, tight and uncomfortable winter skin.
The first and most obvious one is the weather. As we’re subjected to wind, rain and the colder temperatures at this time of year, the outer layers of our skin start to take a hit. As the skin (particularly on our hands and face) becomes more exposed, dryness and an overall tight feeling can develop – even resulting in flaky patches of skin for those worst effected.
While you might not think it, central heating also has a big effect on the condition of your skin at this time of year. When the temperatures drop we all like to keep our homes and offices nice and toasty, but this can actually have an adverse effect on our skin. With our central heating systems on full blast, our skin becomes really dehydrated, adding further to the damage caused by the elements.
Again, another cause of battered winter skin that you might not expect is excessively hot water. There’s always a temptation to whack the shower up to near scolding temperatures in an attempt to warm up, but you’re actually doing your skin more harm than good. In the colder months, the last thing you want is skin with heightened sensitivity, and regular exposure to above average water temperatures is going to leave your skin dry and tight.
Compounding this problem is the often drastic change in temperatures our skin has to cope with. Whether it’s moving from the freezing high street into a toasty store or from the cold bathroom into a hot shower, these sharp changes cause our skin to become even more dehydrated and prone to redness.
All the factors above contribute to the skin on our faces becoming dry, tight and uncomfortable at this time of year. So, just as you would protect your skin while exposed to the sun, it’s vital to protect it during the winter months too.
This means switching to a ‘heavier’ and more protecting moisturiser to relieve the dry, tight feeling that can creep in at this time of year. Maintaining an optimum moisture level means that you can keep a handle on dryness, irritation and any unsightly redness that may occur.
Another exposed area that’s first to take the brunt of the cold weather is our hands, and many guys will suffer from dry (even chapped) hands during the winter period. The key to preventing these problems is – and you’ll see a theme developing here – lots and lots of moisture.
Every time you wash your hands, use an intensively moisturising cream to ensure that dryness doesn’t creep back in. Once your hands are starting to feel soft, don’t give up there. It’s key to continue to add moisture to maintain soft mitts throughout the winter months.
While it might not be as exposed as your face and hands, many also notice a deterioration in the condition of their skin all over their body. I tend to apply body moisture regularly all year round, but this is particularly crucial throughout the winter months.
Hot water followed by cold air is the biggest culprit when it comes to rough skin on your body, so as soon as you’re out of the (temperature controlled) shower, pat your skin dry and apply a rich nourishing moisturiser like those below all over your body – paying particular attention to rough areas like knees and elbows.
Many guys will have used a face mask to combat skin conditions like acne and oily skin, but they’re also great for giving your skin a winter pick-me-up.
There are some great masks on the market (like those below) packed with vital ingredients to give your skin a much needed boost. Think of it as feeding your face with essential nutrients, just like you would feed your body with good food. Whether it’s calming sensitivity, adding moisture or just a general skincare MOT, your skin and overall complexion will thank you for the time and attention.
Because they can’t retain moisture as well as the rest of your face, your lips get notoriously dry due to all the abuse from the harsher climates, especially if you’re a runner or outdoor sportsman. So it’s time we treated our lips with the same attention to detail as the rest of our skincare routine.
Let’s face it, chapped lips don’t look great – nobody wants to kiss someone with dry, flaky lips – so take some action with one of these recommended lip balms. These formulas are designed to not only moisturise, but to also protect against the aforementioned external factors.
A few final considerations to bear in mind would be to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water and enjoying a healthy diet (where you can).
I have also personally found that my skin is always in much better condition if you can get a bit of winter sun. A lot of us are opting to head to warmer climes at this time of year, and as well as helping you relax – your skin will thank you for it too.
If you have any winter skincare tips or product recommendations of your own then why not get involved and leave a comment below…