January isn’t the only thing that’s dry right now – Sara Waterman, Senior Aesthetician at beauty and skincare studio Young LDN, reveals six smart ways to hydrate your dry skin
Cold January weather can wreak havoc on our skin.
The sudden temperature drop, in addition to the drying effect of low humidity and the dry heat of central heating depletes the skin’s natural moisture.
there is much more to hydration than you think
However, the good news, is that with the right routine and a few key changes to our daily habits and products, we can help keep our skin soft, hydrated, and supple – rather than cracked, parched, or chapped.
It all comes down to skin hydration and although lathering on an extra layer of rich moisturise can help, there is much more to hydration than you think when it comes to beating dry winter skin…
#1 Adjust your skin care routine
Any time you wash your face, you strip your skin of its natural oils. Since these oils help to lock in moisture, it’s vital to replenish them.
That’s why it’s important to use both a serum and moisturiser every time you wash your face, especially during winter.
#2 Avoid overly hot showers
Although a hot shower can feel amazing and on cold winter days, too much hot water causes increased evaporation of your skin’s natural hydration.
Hot water strips your skin of its natural oils and is harmful to collagen development. The golden rule of thumb is if the water causes your skin to turn red, it’s far too hot.
Try to apply serums and moisturises within approximately 60 seconds of stepping out of the shower.
Hot water strips your skin of its natural oils
It’s also important to note that patting or blotting the skin dry rather than rubbing is much gentler and helps retain more moisture.
#3 Pamper yourself with overnight treatments
Overnight treatments are an excellent way to add extra hydration to the skin. The nutrients found in these treatments help revitalise tired and dry skin and prevent extreme dryness from occurring in the first place.
Whilst you sleep your skin regenerates and has the vital time it needs to absorb the targeted treatments.
Applying serums, treatments and masks overnight helps to replenish your skin with the moisture and oils it needs.
Overnight treatments are an excellent way to add extra hydration to the skin
I would recommend opting for night-time serums, creams or balms that are richer than your standard regimen you use during the summer.
Winter months can require intense deep hydration, and a thicker texture seals in the moisturising ingredients, helping to heal and prevent dry, cracked, or flaking skin.
#4 Beware of exfoliators
During the winter months, often skin can become dehydrated and ‘winter worn’. The last thing the skin needs is a harsh, abrasive scrub or peel.
Even loofahs or cleansing sponges can further deplete moisture and worsen irritation can lead to negative repercussions.
If you notice flaking or redness when you exfoliate, it’s time to swap to a gentler form of home exfoliation, such as a mild AHA.
Gentle exfoliation is necessary to encourage cellular turnover; this triggers the development of new cells, collagen and elastin, as well as the removal of dead skin cells from the surface layer. This will help keep your skin looking smooth and vibrant.
However, it is possible to over exfoliate your skin if you do it too often or use the wrong products. This will directly affect the skins micro biome, your natural defence made up of healthy bacteria, fungi and naturally occurring flora.
dry skin will stay dry without some light exfoliation
A breakdown of the micro biome can leave the skin vulnerable and susceptible to further dehydration and irritation.
If your skin feels or looks dry or flaky, you may want to opt for a gentle AHA exfoliant such as lactic acid, rather than a physical scrub.
Harsher scrubs with large particles such as salt, sugar, or nut, may be more likely to break down your skin’s moisture barrier and cause irritation and/or damage.
The bottom line is that no matter how many serums or creams you apply, dry skin will stay dry without some light exfoliation.
Just ensure you choose something gentle to remove the surface dead skin. This can be as simple as swapping your regular cleanser two to three times a week with one containing gentle exfoliants.
#5 Try using an at home humidifier
During the cold winter months, it’s hard not to be tempted to crank up the heat as soon as you get home. Who doesn’t want to cuddle up after a long day and just be cosy and warm?
However, high central heating can make the air in our homes even drier, and this in return draws the vital moisture from our bodies and skin.
The drier the air, the drier the skin. To maximise the moisture and amount of water you receive via the environment, place a humidifier in the room where you spend most of your time, which in many cases (and most beneficial whilst sleeping) is the bedroom.
Having more moisture in the air can help act as a natural moisturising agent
A cool air humidifier increases the moisture level in the air, thus helping the skin’s barrier stay hydrated.
Having more moisture in the air can help act as a natural moisturising agent which, in turn, may prevent and relieve skin dryness.
In addition, be sure the heat is kept on low or at a moderate temperature to avoid extra dryness in the air. Placing a large bowl of water under your radiator can help reduce moisture loss in the air, and your skin will thank you for it.
#6 Prioritise Hyaluronic, Antioxidants and SPF
Whilst most of our summer products get swapped out when winter comes around, serums are the one exception to that rule.
Hyaluronic acid and vitamin C based antioxidant serums are essential for year-round protection. No matter the climate or season, the skin needs hydration as it may be exposed to oxygen radicals.
These unstable molecules break down our skin on a deeper level, causing sunspots, loss of collagen and elastin, improper function, leading to premature ageing and disease.
Up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate clouds and still cause damage
To prevent the damage (and help to correct it), apply a hyaluronic and vitamin C as a first layer in the morning, before layering on heavier products followed by SPF – the most important part of any skincare regime.
Even during the winter months, it’s important to keep the skin protected. Given the shorter winter days and less sunlight, it can be tempting to cut the sunscreen out of your morning routine, but this should never be the case, ever!
Up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate clouds and still cause damage. Even in winter months, harmful UV rays will still stress your skin’s moisture barrier, which is vital for maintaining skin health and hydration.
#7 Hydrate from the inside out
Possibly the most vital step to keeping our skin healthy and glowing is to make sure you’re drinking enough water and staying well hydrated throughout the day.
Not taking in enough fluid can affect the appearance of your skin, and also make it more susceptible to drying out and damage, leading to premature ageing.
In addition to staying well hydrated, you may also want to focus on your diet. Increasing your intake of foods that are high in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids will help protect the lipid or oily barrier of your skin, locking in moisture.
Don’t overdo it with alcohol and caffeine, as they are diuretics that will cause dehydration
Both of these nutrients can protect your cells from environmental damage and help your body make new healthy cells, including our skin cells.
Don’t overdo it with alcohol and caffeine, as they are diuretics that will cause dehydration. Or if you simply cannot miss your morning or afternoon pick me up, try to consume a glass of water alongside it.