This evening snow is falling in the Highlands and temperatures are plunging in Edinburgh. Winter's bitter cold has arrived along with some freezing winds! The change in climate doesn't just affect your energy bills, but of course your mood and your skin.
During the winter months the colder air is drier and crisper as it holds less moisture - as a result it draws moisture out of your epidermis (your skin's outer most layer), which means you need to go that extra mile in skin protection to avoid a dull complexion.
You will know you have the onset of a dull complexion when your skin becomes more irritable and prone to dryness with the following characteristics:
- tighter pores,
- an increase in fine lines.
Banish a dull complexion this winter
Here are my top tips for maintaining a healthy glow to your skin, some of which will also help boost your mood:
1 - Hydration
Hydration is the cornerstone of good winter skin care. During summertime people find it easy to remember their need to keep their bodies hydrated - if nothing else sweat reminds them they are losing water. However, during the colder months, the body does not sweat as much and it's easy to forget to drink water regularly. A good way of avoiding this problem is to be able to identify the signs of dehydration in the body.
- Dry/sticky mouth and cracked lips
- Feeling sleepy even after a full 8 hours of sleep
- Dryer skin over more sensitive areas – such as the lips and palms.
- Frequent bouts of constipation
- A dark yellow colour of urine
- Some muscle cramping
Drinking water in its purest form as well as eating fruits and vegetables high in water content will drastically help to alleviate these symptoms. Aim for eight glasses a day. It is also best to avoid caffeine and fizzy drinks as they act as a mild diuretic. Not only is this good for your skin, but it helps keep your mood positive. Of course during the party season we all like to have a few drinks, but try having a glass of water in between the odd round to reduce dehydration.
2 - Sunscreen
Sunscreen is just as important in the winter months as it is during the summer. Most people believe because there is less sunlight during the winter months that there is no risk of sun damage. This is a huge mistake as sunlight continues to carry UVA and UVB rays despite the drop in light levels. Without sunscreen to protect you from UV rays, free-radicals will accelerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
To truly hold back the ageing process it is vital to use a sunscreen every day. Always remember to apply your sunscreen at least half an hour before you step outside. At the clinic we offer a fabulous range of effective daily use sunscreens, some which are combined with moisturisers - perfect for the winter weather. And if you are a rosacea sufferer then you will know that sunshine and cold weather are two of the biggest triggers, so it's a great time to come in and find out about our Obagi non-chemical sunscreen and moisturiser especially designed for you.
And remember sunshine is good for you - it helps the body create vitamin D which is important in reducing depression. So don't avoid sunshine - just ensure you are protected.
3 - Exfoliation
Don’t let the build-up of dead skin cells ruin your winter glow. Exfoliation is key to keeping your skin vibrant and youthful during the cold season. The epidermis protects your skin from infection, environmental damage and keeps your skin waterproof. Your body will periodically shed dead skin cells as it renews this protective layer, however in the winter time this process becomes less efficient resulting in a build-up of dead skin and your skin looking dull in appearance.
So, it is important to slough off this build up and feed the new skin cells to keep the skin working at its optimum health. Our Vitamin Pro Facial is perfect at achieving just this in 60 minutes and costs £120. However, if you just want to exfoliate or only have 30 minutes then opt for our Diamond Party Facial which is £67.
4 - Hair and nail care
In addition to our skin, the elements take a toll on our hair and nails. They need extra protection in order to remain shiny and supple. A great cuticle oil could be your nails saviour when faced with winter dryness. Aim to apply Argan oil to your inner tips everyday. To do this, gently sweep a cotton ball dipped in unrefined Argan oil onto the nails at night before bed. Massage directly into the cuticle and watch your nails transform through continued use. Argan oil can also be used to nourish and protect the hair. A hair mask containing Argan oil will dramatically improve the look and feel of your strands.
You can further improve the condition of your hair and nails with vitamin supplements - I would recommend the Advanced Nutrition Program's Pro-Vitality Formula (£45 for 28 day pack) which gives you everything you need for skin, nails and hair through the winter months - plus helping you to maintain good health and mood.
5 - Consume a cleaner diet for cleaner skin
Eating a clean diet is a great way to help keep your skin looking healthy and radiant. Of course it is the festive season and we are all bound to over indulge. But try hard to exclude refined and processed foods two days a week and instead eat whole natural foods particularly if you are not taking supplements.
The best types of foods to boost your skin's complexion are fruits, green vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds. Of course healthy eating is also going to help you control your weight. Wouldn't it be ideal to have an attractive figure in addition to clear glowing skin? I'm pretty sure the answer to that would be yes! So here are some ideas for your shopping list:
- Fish - contain a rich supply of Omega 3 fats to help reduce inflammation and boost mood levels.
- Avocados - great source of antioxidants in the form of vitamin C and E and healthy fats.
- Orange / yellow fruits - contain high levels of beta carotene, which is powerful antioxidant that defends your skin from the harmful effects of free radicals.
- Virgin olive oil - is a bountiful source of clean unsaturated fats and vitamin E.
- Green leafy vegetables - contain level 4 fatty acids, vitamins A, B and E.
- Nuts and seeds - are a powerhouse of nutrients and just a handful can contribute to your daily share of vitamins and minerals.
- Water dense fruits and vegetables - like watermelon and cucumber contain large quantities of water which help to keep your hydration levels in check.
- Eggs - a great source of protein, they also contain sulphur and lutein which help keep your skin elastic and hydrated.
6 - Use lip balms generously
At this time of year dry and cracked lips are common. To avoid them stay hydrated and use a comprehensive lip balm to keep your lips simply kissable under the mistletoe! A fabulous product is our Jane Iredale Lip Drink at just £10.50.
7 - Get plenty of exercise
Your body needs exercise to be able to maintain all is functions such as digestion and blood circulation - plus it naturally helps your sleep patterns which are essential in maintaining a good skin complexion. During the winter it is easy to become sedentary - particularly when you want to watch all those TV Christmas specials. However, you don't have to join a gym - but do try to go for a good walk whenever the sun is shining (with sun protection of course!).