How to take care of winter skin

By Danielle Wright

Danielle Wright talks to beauty experts about winter skincare and finds it's all about layering, adapting and locking in hydration.

Make the most of winter sun to get your dose of Vitamin D. Photo / Thinkstock
Make the most of winter sun to get your dose of Vitamin D. Photo / Thinkstock

Winter skin sometimes suffers from the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy, but even though it's not on show as much as in summer, winter skin needs even more attention.

Kati Kasza, founder of botanical skincare company Evolu, says the sudden contrasts from heating and harsh weather conditions during winter are the biggest challenges.

"Caring for skin over winter has a lot to do with containing moisture within the skin before exposure," says Kasza, who suggests layering your skincare during winter, but not necessarily wearing sunscreen every day.

"If you're going from your car to an office, and then only out in the sun to get lunch, you'll be fine without a sunscreen," says Kasza. "There's a problem with Vitamin D deficiency in New Zealand and sunscreen blocks Vitamin D from getting into the skin."

And just because you're covered up in tights and layers of knitwear, it's still worth the effort to keep moisturising. One of my favourite products is rosehip oil and the experts recommend adding a drop to your moisturiser over the winter months to keep skin glowing.

"For older skin, you also need to exfoliate more, you could almost do it daily with a fine exfoliator," says Kasza. "And a toner balances the skin's pH so you get a much better result from your moisturiser: it's like preparing a canvas."

At the end of the day, Kasza recommends an exfoliating body polish on your tired feet, followed by hand cream, and says it's fine to re-purpose your beauty products.

"Evolu's Rehydrating Mask is great to put on your face and neck before cycling. It soaks in like a cream but acts like a barrier to the elements," says Kasza.

Natural skincare brand Trilogy's in-house beauty expert Corinne Morley says, "Skin can become more sensitised at the change of season. Lovely as it may be stepping in from the freezing cold and heading straight for the roaring fire to warm up, it's best to avoid sudden changes in temperature, as they can cause irritation and dehydration."

"Dry heat, especially from air conditioning and electric heaters, is the worst for skin," says Morley. "A great trick I use whenever I'm staying in a hotel room is to hang a damp towel in the bedroom. The moisture that evaporates from the towel helps prevent your skin drying out while you sleep."

When it gets colder, we also tend to want a hotter shower or bath, but Kasza says: "That's not good for the skin, that's how you get parched, itchy skin, in need of more hydration."

Hot showers will make your skin red, often a reaction to shocking the skin from hot to cold. Calming and soothing ingredients such as borage, calendula and geranium are good for red skin conditions.

Using oils on your skin when in the bath or shower is also a great way of trapping hydration in the skin - the extra humidity is captured by oil. "If you change products with the seasons, remember they have a limited shelf-life, particularly natural beauty products. Once opened, always check the bottle for how long they'll last, and remember to store them in a dark, dry place, not in a steamy bathroom," advises Kasza.

"For lips, put a treatment on before bed and get your skin analysed regularly as it will change with age, and with seasons," she adds, who recommends using New Zealand beauty products as they cater to our environment.

Of course, it's not all about what you put on your skin, what you put into your body is important, too. There are supplements tailored to help maintain healthy skin and hair. And you can't beat old-fashioned common sense - eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in a balanced diet with lots of water, and get the recommended amounts of sleep and exercise.

All in all, it seems moderation, balance and a bit of extra effort with your skincare routines will keep you glowing through the duller winter months. And remember screen legend Sophia Loren's advice for any season: "Beauty is how you feel inside."

Top 5 foods to boost vitamin C

1. Broccoli: Don't be afraid to eat it raw

2. Kumara: Virtually fat-free, choose from red, orange or gold varieties

3. Kiwifruit: Store away from other fruits to prolong its shelf life

4. Tamarillo: Peel the skin before using it in cooking

5. Potatoes: Super spuds have twice as much vitamin C as blueberries

Winter skin advice

Keep motivated during winter with Evolu's "Under the Skin" blog featuring beauty tips and comments on how to live a balanced life.

- Herald on Sunday

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