Somebody soften me! How to cope with dry skin

Somebody soften me! How to cope with dry skin

Take dry skin to task this season

Skin tends to be dry during the winter months, largely due to central heating systems at home and work, rather than environmental conditions outside.

It’s not an easy issue to deal with: you don’t always have control over room temperature (isn’t there always someone in the office who likes it tropical?) and there is something so comforting about snuggling up in a warm, cosy house when you get home on a cold evening…

But there are other ways to warm up. Turning the thermostat to a lower temperature – around 18c is best – and then creating that toasty effect with extra layers, a warm fluffy blanket and a hot water bottle is far kinder to your skin. Thermal layers help to keep you warm at night without drying the skin – particularly if they’re cotton – and switching to a higher tog duvet can help if you get chilly at night. You could also invest in a humidifier to replace lost moisture in the air, and leaving your window slightly ajar when it’s not too cold outside (no problem if your bed is warm and snug) helps to keep the air circulating as you sleep.

To fend off dry skin in winter there are other little tricks to try.

Limit the use of soap and hot water as much as you can; lukewarm baths with bath oil, rather than bath gel or bubble bath, is the way to go. Using warm, rather than hot, water will also discourage you from soaking for too long in the tub: although it’s tempting in winter, spending more than five minutes submerged in water is not a great idea for your dry skin.

If you’re working out or swimming, take a quick shower afterwards and get dry as quickly as possible, using lots of moisturiser before you get dressed. A light cotton layer next to your skin will help to keep you warm, without encouraging your skin to sweat.

Drinking plenty of water is a year-round tip for happy skin, and you can always switch to warm water infused with ginger or lemon if you’re not feeling the need for an ice-cold glass. Herbal tea is another great way to hydrate from within. Alcohol and coffee are not your winter friends – they are diuretics and can cause dehydration.

Some skincare experts believe a diet rich in nuts, olive oil and avocados can help to moisturise dry skin, and so-called fatty fish (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids), such as salmon, mackerel and herring, are great for healthy skin.

Moisturiser is crucial, and you might want to switch to a richer product if your skin is dry; your lips will need extra moisture too, so invest in a good balm; and your hands are particularly vulnerable, so a lovely, rich hand cream is another product for your beauty list.

If you’re looking for ‘winter survival’ beauty treatments, these products for dry skin should see you through:

Dermalogica New Intensive Moisture Balance – restores lipid balance to dry, depleted skin for optimal barrier performance.

Decleor Hydra Floral Intense Nutrition Cocoon Cream – a soft, rich cream to nourish, comfort and protect dry and very dry skin.

Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum – a lightweight and non-greasy gel formulation to effectively hydrate, relieve and restore moisture balance in dry and oily skin types.

Elemis Skin Nourishing Body Cream – rich in nourishing starflower and camellia tea seed oils, this indulgent body cream replenishes and softens dry skin.

Elemental Herbology Lip Nourish Plumping Balm – rehydrate and plump lips with this natural balm to repair, soothe and protect.

Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream – protects and soothes chapped and dry hands, flooding them with hydration.

Jessica Zenspa Intense Heel Repair Cream – this intensive, ultra-hydrating complex drenches skin in moisture: massage a generous amount onto feet and legs.