Dr Adil Sheraz
Consultant Dermatologist and Spokesperson, British Skin Foundation
Dr Bindi Gaglani
Dermatologist & Spokesperson, British Skin Foundation
Chilly, dry outdoor air can compromise the skin’s protective barrier due to loss of nourishing ceramides. This may cause dry and itchy skin, which is particularly challenging for people with conditions like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.
Simple things that need to be followed all year round include keeping shower times short, to around 4–5 minutes with lukewarm water. Avoid soaps when washing and keep away from radiators in the house. Other essential routines to establish are:
Step 1: Start with a ‘hydrating’ cleanser
Both your face and body lose moisture during winter months, making the skin dry and itchy. The usual cleansers that are commonly sold in the market often contain alcohol and fragrances, which can make your skin even more dry and are likely to induce skin irritation. Creamy liquid, gel or mousse fragrance-free cleansers are the best options for sensitive skin.
Step 2: Move on to moisturising
Areas with thinner skin — like lips, knees and elbows — lose more moisture, especially at night. Moisturise before bedtime and straight after showering and use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Products with hyaluronic acid tend to be helpful with hydrating more than exfoliating and may be useful in maintaining skin glow. Products containing shea butter and ceramide are useful to lock in moisture. Consider keeping a hand cream in your bag.
Both your face and body lose moisture during winter months, making the skin dry and itchy.
Step 3: Keep hydrated
During winter, reduced water intake and increased diuretic effects from hot, caffeinated drinks lead to dehydration, causing lacklustre skin. Prioritise water consumption over coffee or alcohol.
Step 4: Eat foods with higher water content
Foods such as cucumber, spinach and grapefruit have a high water content and are also generally good for your skin.
Step 5: Use a sunblock
Remember that ice and snow will reflect UV light and can even increase the amount of exposure to UV radiation. Depending on your skin type, use a high-factor sunblock and one with a high UVA star rating. This protects against developing wrinkles and, importantly, reduces skin cancer risk.