If we were handing out awards for MVP of winter, it would have to go to fashion: huggable cashmere and voluptuous layers are forgiving. The same can’t be said of our skin. The cold front brings with it a host of concerns, such as dehydration, irritation and redness, that are unmistakably etched across our complexions. Before you prematurely bid farewell to glowing skin, adopt a few simple swap-outs, super-charged treatments and souped-up products that will see you through the dry spell.
Slough away summer
“There is a misconception that you should avoid exfoliating in winter, when in fact the skin needs it to remove dry dead cells,” says Sydney-based facialist Jocelyn Petroni. But it’s important to keep in mind that exfoliating isn’t a one-step process: it’s just as important to follow up with nourishing creams and serums to replenish hydration post-buff. Scale back mechanical scrubs (those with tiny granules) and dial up gentle chemical exfoliants like vitamin C and glycolic and lactic acids. And resist the urge to overdo it – exfoliating up to two times per week is plenty.
Don’t skimp on SPF
It may seem common knowledge but it bears repeating – sunscreen is non-negotiable, particularly in the winter months, when we don’t feel the heat. “When choosing a sunscreen, you should look for something that is complete spectrum to protect from solar induced free radical damage. A complete spectrum sunscreen will protect from UV-A and UV-B rays,” says Endota Spa national
education coordinator Cara Doncovio, calling out UV-A rays as the ones that penetrate deepest and cause the most damage. The latest oil-free, creamy formulas are so smooth they could be mistaken for moisturiser, so there’s no reason not to slather it on daily.
Protect from pollution
While we’re on the subject of protection, pollution has been a buzzword in the dermatology industry over the past year, with many experts convinced it could be as damaging as UV rays. When left to manifest on the skin, pollution – nasties like fumes, dirt, smoke and dust – creates free radicals that accelerate ageing. “Free radicals can cause damage to the skin, resulting in skin irritation and aggravating skin conditions such as eczema,” says Doncovio. “We need to protect the skin from pollution, as it sits on the surface and penetrates into the deeper layers, affecting the cell DNA and supporting systems that assist in healthy functioning skin.” Use a moisturiser that specifically protects against environmental aggressors and slough away the day’s debris each night with a gentle night-time cleanser. (We love Chanel’s new Le Lait Anti-Pollution Cleansing Milk-to-Oil, $62.) And, of course, never nod off in your make-up.
Incorporate an oil into your winter beauty regimen. We love Go-To Exceptionoil, $51.
Nix that pigmentation
Hyperpigmentation takes the crown for one of the most frustrating skin concerns, but if there’s ever a time to tackle it, it’s the winter months. Anyone with hyperpigmentation knows that it’s exacerbated by sunlight and heat, so a course of brawny treatments should be reserved for winter, when the skin has time to recover. “During wintertime the sun is weaker and the days are shorter,” says surgeon and skincare expert Dr Barbara Sturm. She endorses in-clinic treatments like Clear + Brilliant and medical needling procedures, and recommends a vampire level of sun avoidance. “After these treatments, the patient should not go directly into sunlight and wear SPF 50 if they are outside for longer than 15 minutes,” she says. Hyperpigmentation is a bit like a bad ex: if you don’t give it the flick for good, it will keep returning.
Avoid a dry spell
You’re not imagining it. A recent study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that during the colder months, important proteins found in the skin’s barrier break down and skin cells actually shrink, which outwardly shows up as dryness and even flaking. Thankfully, moisturiser will help any complexion on the spectrum of peach to prune. Look for ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin E, pro-vitamin B5, shea butter and hyaluronic acid, and, texture-wise, opt for one richer than what’s on your current roster. “Depending on what moisturiser you usually wear, in winter opt for one that is richer: if you wear a light lotion, switch it up to moisturiser. If you already use a moisturiser, switch it up to a richer one,” says Petroni.
Learn to love oils
If there’s ever a time to overcome your fear of sloughing oil all over, it’s the cooler months. A daily face oil is handy for repairing the skin’s protective barrier and thwarting trans-epidermal water loss, which surges during winter, thanks to chilly temperatures and indoor heating. “You can maintain the skin’s protective barrier by upgrading your home-care products to those that contain more oil,” says Petroni, who recommends adding a couple of drops of oil to clean skin before applying moisturiser, or spiking your moisturiser, foundation or sunscreen with it. We also like boosting night creams with a couple of drops of oil, for a super-charged overnight treatment.
Get out of hot water
While a long, hot shower may be nearly irresistible come winter, the soaring temperatures might be doing your complexion more harm than good. Issues like dry skin, rosacea and eczema are likely to flare-up under hot water. Take shorter showers and test the temperature on the supple skin on your forearm. Post-scrub, slather your creams onto damp skin to prevent moisture loss. “Manage winter skin by keeping lip balm and a hydrating face mist in your handbag,” advises Petroni. And cool it on the heater. “It’s also beneficial to sleep in a room that is not overly heated, in order to prevent the skin from drying out during the night,” notes Sturm. ■
Post-shower, lather creams into still-damp skin to lock in moisture. Try Neutrogena Hydro Boost Serum Anti- Oxidant Capsules, $30.
The foolproof way to make winter skin glow? A swipe of ruby lipstick like Yve Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture in Le Orange, $57.
Model: Gwen Van Meir
Makeup: Shane Paish
Hair: Makiko Nara
Words by Remy Rippon for Vogue Australia July 2018