It’s no secret that our routines take a 180 once the weather turns; that we make allowances for ourselves we might not otherwise. Carbs suddenly crop up on the menu in a big way, that extra glass of red wine a total given, nights out traded for nights under blankets on the sofa and our morning spin classes occasionally missed for that extra hour in bed. It seems that we’ll do a lot of things to help get us through the turn of the season – except, when it comes to our skin.
Here it comes, you’re thinking. Another lecture on skin care, another instruction to go out and restock the bathroom closet, another way to say that you’re doing it all wrong. I get it. In fact, I agree – the only additions I see fit to make to my skincare routine over winter is a good dose of fake tan and a new lip balm. These have been more than sufficient so far, and I’m not one to budget for a total overhaul at every turn of the season. However, I don’t think you have to.
I have a theory. In the same way that we need to give ourselves some allowances to see us through the colder months, so too does our skin. This doesn’t mean you have to introduce anything new – just to alter the way you’re using what you already have. Taking full-fat milk with your latte? Lather on that serum you’ve got hiding at the bottom of your beauty bag. Getting some extra sleep? Actually start using that night cream you bought on a whim. Things like this – small changes – will make all the difference. After all, our skin is our biggest organ. It needs as much TLC as anything else.
To break this method down, I spoke to an expert from one of the most skin-loving brands I could think of: Kiehl’s. “As the seasons change, the external impact on our skin also changes, which ultimately means our skin reacts differently to its environment,” Kiehl’s Education Executive for the UK and Ireland Bianca Blum tells me.
“As we move from the sunny, dryer, longer days of summer, into the colder, windier, shorter days of winter, we need to tweak our daily skincare regimen to help our skin accordingly. Winter skincare shifts to a focus on hydration, repair, nourishment, and protection,” she continues. “There are four key tips to addressing this.”
“Firstly, Layering. Ensure you are treating the skin from both the inside out, and the outside in. Layering Essences, Serums, and Oils over well cleansed skin will ensure hydration is well delivered and “locked in”, as well as the surface skin feeling and looking healthy and radiant. This can be a quick process – try applying your products on while the skin is still damp with your toner to have everything absorb beautifully together.”
“Secondly, Start With a Blank Canvas. Many people overlook the importance of Exfoliating treatments. They are sometimes seen as an unnecessary “extra” step, however their effect on the skin as a part of your cleansing routine is huge, so should definitely be considered essential. As we shed a layer of skin cells every day, the build-up of these dead cells will prevent your other products from working well if we don’t remove them regularly. Look for exfoliating treatments which suit your skin type – all exfoliators are not made equal! – and avoid the temptation to over-exfoliate. Between 1 and 3 times per week is the ideal (less frequently for oilier skins, and more frequently for drier skins). If you find your skin is sensitive to physical exfoliators, then look out for biological exfoliators which do the same job but without being too abrasive for sensitive skins.”
“Thirdly, Be Prescriptive. Get to know your skin and how it changes – whether it’s from the season change, environment, hormones, lifestyle, or stress. Don’t assume your skin is the same as it was 5 years ago! You don’t need to change your whole routine every season, but make sure you look at things like your cleanser and moisturiser to see if they are still working for you and your changing concerns throughout the year. To keep it cost effective, keep key items in your arsenal of products that you can drop in as and when your skin needs that extra help. Masks are a fantastic way to kick your skin into check! Try using 2 or 3 different masks at the same time on specific areas on your face and décolletage. This “patchwork” application allows you to be much more prescriptive.”
“Finally, Don’t Miss Out at Bedtime. Our skin is doing so much at night while we sleep – you are really missing a trick if you neglect your skin at night! Our cellular activity increases at night due to our body clock. A raise in absorption levels, blood circulation, and cell turnover while we sleep means our products will work even harder for us at this time. As our skin moves from defending from aggressors in the day, to repairing damaged cells at night, look out for specific products designed for nighttime, as these are formulated to support the changing function of the skin. Trust me, you will wake up looking fresh, glowing, and ready for the day!”
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