It's getting cold outside, baby. With the cold often comes lifeless, dry skin, so we asked Isobel Larkin, freelance journalist and founder of @the_glowfiles, for some tips. How can we pretend it's summer year-round?
First up, what causes our skin to struggle so much in winter?
There are a few factors that contribute to skin issues in winter, but once you get your head around them and how to deal with them, your face will thank you.
Over the years, I've interviewed many amazing dermatologists to get their thoughts on this topic. From these discussions, I've come to understand that there are a few causes at play, including the drop in outside temperatures combined with reduced levels of moisture in the air. To make matters worse, we also often crank the heaters inside and turn our hot taps right up when showering - both these things are also really drying on the skin.
So - in a nutshell - it's coming from all directions really - whether you're outside in the cold air, in the office with the heater blasting or trying to warm up with a hot shower.
What are the most common symptoms of winter skin, and how can we treat them?
You'll know you've got cranky winter skin if you're getting dryness, flakiness and redness. Some people - especially those with pre-existing skin issues like eczema - also find that winter gives them sensitivity flareups.
The best course of action is to up the ante on your skincare routine and perhaps considering adding richer, more moisturising products than what you'd ordinarily go for in warmer months.
What are your go-to daily products for managing this? What do we need to have in our arsenal?
Heaps of hydrating products which you'll want to layer up for best results. Personally, I love to start with an essence. I've been using Fresh Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence for years now, and I really notice a change in my skin if I get slack and forget to use it for a few days. You just splash it on dry skin after cleansing, and it makes your face feel so juicy and nourished.
A good serum and moisturiser are also must-haves. For winter, I really like Clarins Double Serum as it's super rich and Liberty Belle Star Quality for a deliciously hydrating moisturiser. It's nice to have some overnight masks during cold weather as well. Youth to the People's Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask is a lovely product that works its glow-inducing magic while you sleep. It smells rather tasty too, but don't try eating it.
Getting a solid exfoliant in your routine will also work wonders for dry, flaky skin as this sloughs away all the dead surface cells, which then allows the rest of your products to properly soak in and do their jobs. The Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser is a really beautiful face wash that cleanses and exfoliates in one step. I'm also a bit obsessed with the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Exfoliating Mask, which has AHAs and BHAs to supercharge the skin's renewal process. It's pretty strong, though, so I wouldn't recommend for sensitive skin.
If I have a cold, I also like to keep some good old Lucas' Papaw Ointment on hand to dab underneath my nose to prevent it drying and cracking if I've been dabbing it lots with tissues.
How can we stay looking dewy and fresh?
Once again, hydration is key! Layer up your products starting from the thinnest to the thickest, and add an oil on top if you're prone to dryness. Go-To's Face Hero is a brilliant one that not only gives your skin that dewy, fresh look but also helps target pigmentation and inflammation.
Face mists are good to have on hand as well. You can spritz them on throughout the day to add moisture, plus they help refresh you. Avéne Thermal Spring Water is a simple classic that's fine for sensitive skin, and you can normally find it at the chemist. I also like Caudalie Beauty Elixir (another French pharmacy buy, but you can get it in Australia at Sephora or French Beauty Co).
Do you have any tips or things to keep in mind when approaching winter beauty?
My best tip would be to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat your greens, drink heaps of water, take your supplements and get plenty of exercise and sleep. You'll find if you keep these basic things in check, your skin will be better able to deal with whatever winter throws at it.
Also, try to turn that shower temperature down and consider investing in a humidifier for your bedroom at night.