I’m a nurse – here’s how the icy cold snap is ruining your skin and 8 tips to save it

IT is starting to feel a lot like the depths of winter.

But not only snowflakes are popular, especially when it comes to our skin – cold, low humidity and lack of sunlight can affect it.

There's more to protecting your skin in winter than just staying warm

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There’s more to protecting your skin in winter than just staying warmPhoto credit: Getty

And throwing an indoor heater into the mix often means winter leaves our skin dry, flaky, and itchy.

Cold weather and drought can trigger conditions like xerosis (dry skin), eczema, cold sores, and even cause spot outbreaks.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve winter shine.

Leah Turner, registered nurse, skincare expert and founder of Fortheloveofskin says it’s all about taking precautions to protect your skin from the harshness of winter.

Leah says: “Our skin is our largest organ and it protects us from the outside world, so it’s not surprising that it gets a little stressed in winter.

“Keeping our skin healthy and happy is not just about improving its appearance.

“The more we support our skin to stay healthy and hydrated, the better it can do its essential jobs.

“You may not know it, but our skin protects the body from viruses and bacteria, keeps us warm, protects against UV rays and cell damage, and helps us respond to dangers such as extreme temperatures and pain.

“The winter months are a key time to protect our skin, to keep it looking healthy, so it in turn keeps us healthy.”

Here, Leah reveals the top eight ways to protect your skin from winter skin problems…

1. Don’t over-clean

Washing our skin is important for our overall hygiene and keeps bacteria at bay, but over-cleansing can do us more harm than good, especially in winter.

Too much cleaning with strong soaps actually strips our skin of its natural moisture and leaves it exposed to the cold with little natural protection.

I recommend using a creamy, soap-free cleanser or cleansing balm as these are a great way to keep you clean without destroying the skin’s natural protective barrier.

Two products I always recommend for winter cleansing are Kate Somerville’s Goat Milk Cleanser and Elemis’s Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm.

2. Use an SPF moisturizer daily

Make sure you use an SPF moisturizer every day – yes, we need to protect our skin from UV rays even in winter.

When you give our skin a boost with extra hydration on a daily basis, it helps fight dryness and build a stronger protective barrier.

It’s also not uncommon to need a richer, thicker moisturizer during the colder months, as cold weather and central heating can really dry out skin.

I recommend Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream SPF30.

3. Complement your skin

Dietary supplements are a great way to support your overall health and well-being, and when we support our health and immunity, we support our skin too.

When we are healthy on the inside, it affects the appearance and condition of our skin on the outside.

During the winter months, our natural vitamin D production decreases as we are less exposed to the sun thanks to shorter days and less intense UV radiation.

The NHS advises everyone should take a daily vitamin D supplement, which can help keep skin happier and healthier.

4. Hydration is key

We all know how important it is to drink enough water, but staying hydrated can be harder in the winter as we often don’t feel as thirsty when it’s cool outside.

Our bodies need just as much hydration in winter as they do in summer to function effectively, and our skin relies on our internal hydration to stay healthy and well-moisturized.

Try drinking water regularly — aim for eight glasses a day — and if you’re struggling with cold water, sip hot herbal tea or hot water with a lemon or orange slice.

You’ll likely see that glow return to your skin as your hydration improves.

5. Take care of your lips

Our lips are part of the skin that makes up our face and can be one of the first areas of the body to suffer from dryness in winter, as it is an area that is often damp.

Lip balm is one of my go-to skincare products for winter and I encourage you to use it every day, whether your lips are feeling dry or not.

Applying a protective layer of lip balm before leaving the house prevents the skin of the lips from drying out and protects us from cold sores, soreness and infections.

Vaseline keeps lips soft and moisturized while directly protecting them from the cold.

6. Avoid hot showers

How tempting is it to turn up the heat in your bath or shower when it’s cold outside?

While it feels good, the problem with hot water is that it can damage the skin’s natural barrier.

Regular damage to the skin barrier can leave skin feeling scaly and itchy and trigger an eczema flare-up.

Cooler water removes germs just as effectively as hot water and is much less irritating to your skin. Therefore, reduce the temperature a little and do not spend longer than necessary in warm water.

If you are unsure if your water temperature is too hot, a good test to see if the water is making your skin red; If so, then it’s too hot.

7. Give your skin some beauty sleep

After a long day sheltering from the cold and all the bacteria and germs you come into contact with, our skin recovers while we sleep.

While we sleep, our skin rebuilds its supply of collagen and repairs damage. In winter, therefore, it is important to encourage this process by ensuring that we sleep seven to nine hours a night.

It is also worth giving your skin a boost with a night mask.

I recommend Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Mask and leave it on throughout the night to restore and regenerate with an extra boost of hydration.

8. Eat more

A balanced diet is crucial for our health and therefore also for the appearance and condition of our skin.

The nutrients we absorb from food nourish our skin, so it’s important that we replenish it.

I always tell people the more the merrier when it comes to winter veggies.

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The more varied our diet, the more diverse the vitamins and nutrients are, the happier and healthier our intestines are.

Mushrooms, veggies (broccoli, spinach, kale), and tomatoes are my favorites to protect skin in winter.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/6936477/protect-skin-from-winter-conditions/ I’m a nurse – here’s how the icy cold snap is ruining your skin and 8 tips to save it

Emma James

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