There comes a time mid-winter when you pop your head out from underneath the doona, hit pause on your Gilmore Girls marathon, and marvel that your skin is practically scaly.
The combination of heating inside, harsh weather outside, decreased oil production and a general sense of gloom can lead to decidedly dehydrated and lacklustre skin. Not to mention flaky, irritated and blotchy.
Treat your skin kindly this winter, and then resume your Gilmore Girls binge. Credit:Netflix
Winter changes the pH balance in our skin, and conditions such as dermatitis and eczema can also flare up. Add a lack of enthusiasm for anything other than fondue, and this time of year can lead to a certain couch potato kind of feeling.
Nesting is, of course, one of life's great joys. But tending to your skin with some care during the cooler months is well worth the effort. The lounge lizard life is a fine one, but looking like a lizard? Hmm. Not so much.
Ee Ting Ng, cosmetic chemist and founder of customised skincare range hop & cotton, says there's a common misconception that you need to dramatically "switch up" your skincare routine in winter.
Instead, to combat dehydrated or dry skin (remember, dehydrated skin is lacking water, dry skin is lacking oil) Ng recommends limiting face washing to once a day (at night) and keeping up exfoliation (but skipping ones with abrasive particles).
Although they are tempting, having really hot showers can lead to rapid water loss from your skin. I know: the worst news.
For the cooler months, Ng suggests looking for products with a combination of humectants and emollients.
"You do not need to separate products for each of them, as long as they are present in sufficient amounts in your moisturiser," she advises. "Examples of humectants are glycerin, hyaluronic acid and amino acids; examples of emollients are any type of plant oils/butters, lanolin and its derivatives, and squalane."
Desiree Stordahl, senior research & education manager at Paula’s Choice, also suggests looking for true power products that have a combination of useful ingredients.
"There are tons of incredible hydrating and replenishing ingredients," she says.
"Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, fragrance-free plant oils, glycerin just to name a few. Rather than focusing on one superhero ingredient look for a robust blend."
Paula’s Choice Rehydrating Moisture Mask, which has plant oils and amino acids for locking in moisture is a good option, as is the Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque, which has loads of trusty hyaluronic acid and feels great on the skin. Plus, what says "winter self-care" better than masking? I mean, apart from chocolate self-saucing pudding.
Tracey Beeby, global education ambassador for Ultraceuticals, recommends incorporating a big-hitting serum into your winter skin routine, too.
"Opt for a super serum that contains a blend hyaluronic acid which has the ability to hold more than 1000 times its weight in water, making it an excellent moisturising ingredient," she says.
"It not only hydrates skin but also helps to reduce water loss. Other treatment serums great during winter utilise the ingredients retinol, ascorbic acid and AHAs and BHA. These serums can also assist in assisting dry skin but must be recommended into a homecare program slowly by your skin clinician."
My pick is the Ultraceuticals Ultra B2 Hydrating Serum which has Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and makes stressed skin look more dewy than it has a right to and will complement your moisturiser. As a side note you should be wary, as Beeby suggests, of adding in a heavier moisturiser in the winter to counteract dry skin. Without checking with an expert first, you might just end up with breakouts.
Finally, winter is a good time to invest in a treatment that faciliates laziness. Whether it's a lash lift which takes away the need for using mascara every day or doing something with your eyebrows so that you always look "done" even when living that lounge lizard lifestyle.
One great option is the Henna Brow treatment at Amy Jean Brow Agency. It's like a brow tint but better as the henna "stains" the skin, meaning it, and your more defined brows (they really do shape the face), will last two to four weeks, which leaves plenty of well-earned doona time.
WHAT TO BUY THIS THURSDAY
Your weekly recommendation for a late-night shopping trip …
Omorovicza Silver Skin Saviour
Omorovicza, a cult-ish brand with a fascinating backstory (it was founded by a husband and wife team; he's from a noble Hungarian family, she was a US diplomat) employs the bathing traditions and heritages of Budapest in its products.
This mask uses colloidal silver, which is known for soothing inflamed skin and fighting bacteria, so it's really good on problem, spotty skin. I use it when I have a breakout, and other than the pleasant warming sensation it creates, it does help with vanquishing spots but also calming my skin and helping to smooth and nourish. It can leave your skin a little red, especially if you leave it on too long, but that soon fades. $128, mecca.com.au
Skin Deep, our weekly beauty column, is not sponsored. All product recommendations are genuine endorsements.
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