6. Winter Skin Care

The chill of winter is finally knocking on our doors, bringing with it icy winds, sparkling frost and soft, soft snow. While certainly beautiful, winter weather can prove very tricky for our skin to cope with, in particular the skin on our face and hands as these are the areas of the body that we tend to leave most exposed. Dry and cracked lips, rough hands, itchy patches and general tightness… Why is it we tend to run into so many problems come this wonderful but cold time of the year? What is it about winter and how can we fight it?

The reasons for winter skin issues are actually very straight forward and most of them have to do with lack of moisture in the skin, drawn on by a combination of atmospheric factors and our own habits. Firstly, chilly air is much drier than naturally warm air. This is simply because, when cold, the molecules in the air find themselves packed much closer together, almost as though they were huddling together to keep warm, thus leaving much less space for water molecules to collect among them. Therefore, there is less moisture for our skin to absorb. Simple! This externally drying effect is further heightened by our increasingly hot showers, so comforting during the winter but which sadly strip our skin of its natural oils. These natural oils are a complicated waxy mixture of numerous different substances, however, together their principle role is to moisturise and lubricate the skin. The combination of dehydrated air and constant removal of natural oils means that the top layer of our skin dries out increasingly quickly. It becomes a layer of dead cells that builds up and clogs the pores, which can in turn lead to skin breakouts.

Furthermore, hand in hand with winter months come seasonal fashion trends. Scarves, hats and big fluffy coats lead to increased friction and skin irritation. We begin to cover the spots and blemishes our skin undergoes with thick layers of foundation and concealers and every Christmas festivity is an opportunity to jazz up our eyes with funky eye shadows and eyeliner. In doing so we contribute additional layers of dirt to our skin and prevent it from breathing properly.

Therefore, considering all of this information; increasingly dry skin, blocked pores, friction, irritation and low breathability, it is no wonder our skin struggles!

However, knowing why the skin goes through such troubles means that we can easily remedy them!

  • The easiest and most effective thing to do is to drink more water in order to moisturise your body from the inside out.
  • Take cooler showers! As tempting as it can be to increase the temperature of that glorious flowing water, resist the urge and your skin will thank you for it. Furthermore, try not using shower gel and soap everytime. The reason being, like with hot water, the more often you use various gels and cleansers etc. the more you strip your skin of its natural oils and its protective layer.
  • Remove all of your makeup properly. The early winter nights make everybody quite sleepy and it can therefore seem a little tedious to do this step properly. Disposable face wipes suddenly become much more appealing. However, the added layers of makeup and our already struggling skin make this step of vital importance. In fact, you should cleanse your skin twice, once to remove any cosmetics and the second time to remove any build up.

My recommendations:

RawGaia: https://rawgaiabyjessica.com/collections/cleansers/products/skin-divinity-cleanser

Doterra: https://doterra.com/US/en/p/personal-care-facial-cleanser

(Both of these are absolutely brilliant!)

  • Exfoliate, scrub, exfoliate. Not too often as this will do more harm than good, however, once or twice a week will mean that you are helping your skin shed its unpleasant top layer of dead cells. You will likewise help unclog your pores and soothe any roughness caused by strong winds and other harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, you can easily make your own exfoliators so really, there is no excuse for skipping this step! Bellow are a few examples of recipes for scrubs.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy – This one really is the easiest scrub you could make, all it requires is for you to have a rummage in one or two kitchen cupboards.

Ingredients

1 tsp. baking soda/ bicarbonate soda

2 tsp. coconut oil (you could also easily use olive oil, however, then your scrub will be missing the antibacterial properties contributed by coconut oil)

Method

  1. Melt the coconut oil if using.
  2. Add the bicarbonate soda and mix.
  3. Apply to damp skin.

Chai Spice Scrub

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

½ tsp. clove

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ – ½ cup coconut oil

Method

  1. Melt the coconut oil until a liquid consistency is reached.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Apply to damp skin.

Coffee & Coconut Oil Scrub

Ingredients

1 cup ground organic coffee

1 cup organic sugar or salt

½ cup coconut oil

½ tbsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Method

  1. Melt the coconut oil until a liquid consistency is reached.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Apply to damp skin.

Cucumber & Mint Scrub – This scrub will make your skin prickle a little bit, but don’t worry! That’s just the peppermint oil working its magic.

Ingredients

1 cucumber

2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves

2 ½ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. peppermint oil

4 tbsp. virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Place the cucumber and mint into a blender. Blend.
  2. Add the sugar, olive oil and mint mass to a bowl and mix.
  3. Apply to damp skin.
  • Whether you have naturally oily skin or dry skin, everybody benefits from a good moisturiser, serum, oil, anything hydrating, during the winter. It needn’t be anything particularly posh, if you have the right skin you could use something as simple as coconut oil and it would do the trick. When choosing a moisturiser, a good word to keep an eye out on the packaging for is “non-occlusive”. Occlusive substances are materials that create a waterproof barrier over the skin, preventing water loss. While this sounds perfect for the winter it is important to realise that this barrier also stops the skin from breathing thus encouraging build up. Ingredients with such properties include cocoa butter, shea butter and beeswax and are best avoided by anyone who suffers from acne. That being said, these occlusive properties are very important in products such as lip balms and hand creams.

My recommendations:

Raw Gaia: https://rawgaiabyjessica.com/collections/floral-range/products/floral-rejuvenating-cream

Bloom Skin Essentials: http://www.bloomskinessentials.com/shop/nourish-essential-facial-serum

Skin & Tonic London: http://www.skinandtoniclondon.com/product/detox-beauty-oil/

Armed with this knowledge, I wish you and your skin all the best for the coming winter days.

I hope very much that you enjoyed this post and that you will be back, eager to read more about how to be healthy minded in the world of cosmetics! Nicky xx

My research was conducted with help from these websites:

http://helloglow.co/homemade-holiday-scrub-recipes/

http://thecoconutmama.com/coffee-body-scrub/

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