Protect your skin from freezing winds and office air conditioners turned to ‘hot’, says dermatologist Dr Ravi Ratnavel.
DON’T STRIP OFF
‘In winter the air contains 30% less moisture than in summer, so take special measures to protect your skin from drying out. Hot water and soap remove natural oils, so have lukewarm showers and avoid products that create foam: they’re full of moisture-stripping detergents.’ Switch to a gentle body wash (even better if it doesn’t contain sodium lauryl or sodium laureth sulphate) and treat yourself to a bath oil.
‘Be extra kind to your face; don’t rub it dry – pat it instead to avoid irritating it. Try a creamy, tissue-off cleanser instead of a wash-off one (even water can be drying on dehydrated skin), and follow with a powerful moisturiser that has ingredients like glycerine, hyaluronic acid and ceramides, to draw water into the skin and rebuild its lipid barrier.’
DITCH THE SCALES
‘Body skin needn’t be slathered in greasy creams, but do look for rich emollient ingredients like urea and shea butter in your chosen body lotion to keep scaly skin a bay.’ Because cell turnover slows down during winter, it’s wise to use a gentle body exfoliant (and separate face scrub) once a week to remove dead skin and help moisturisers penetrate – but skip this step if your skin is red or sore.
‘Exposed areas like lips and hands especially suffer from icy winds, while patches of skin can get irritated by moisture-sapping woolly garments and Sahara-like conditions indoors. Keep these areas covered using rich skin balms with ingredients such as petrolatum and lanolin, and use a hand and nail cream religiously.’