Changing seasons can be taxing for your skin and how—it’s hot during the day, cold at night and the dryness that comes with the end of the year is hardly appreciated by anyone. When winter truly hits and you find yourself taking hot showers and slathering on any moisturiser you can find in hopes of soothing your skin—turns out, you might be doing more harm than good. Winter skincare doesn’t have to be a puzzle that takes rounds of trial and error to solve when you’ve got the best dermatologists at hand. We spoke to three skincare experts about the best ways to look after skin during the cold months—here’s what we found.
Stay away from alcohol (at least in your makeup and skincare)
“It is highly advisable to avoid using products with alcohol in it, as they dehydrate the skin, leading to dryness and dullness. You should instead use organic homemade masks with ingredients like honey, aloe vera, almond oil etc which will bring back the moisture in the skin keeping it healthy and glowing. Such ingredients with moisture content help you deal with common winter skin problems like dryness, sensitivity and tanning of skin,” advises Dr Chhabra
First up, hydrate your skin from within
“Drinking water is a very essential part of protecting your skin from becoming flaky and chapped. A little warm water with lemon or honey can help you feel refreshed and hydrate the skin from within. Try and incorporate seven to eight glasses of water in your everyday routine,” says Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, director and consultant dermatologist at Skin Alive, New Delhi.
As much as you want to get in the hot tub every chance you get, don’t
Dr Kiran Sethi, celebrity dermatologist and founder, Isya Aesthetics, has a rule of thumb for the winter months, “Baths bad, showers good! Interestingly, the more water you submerge your body in, the drier your skin gets. So cut your showers down to five minutes a day. The hotter the water, the drier your skin gets because it evaporates water from within the epidermis. It’s best to stick to lukewarm water.”
Be mindful of your soap
According to Dr Jaishree Sharad, Mumbai-based celebrity dermatologist, soaps can be harsh on the skin as they alter the pH of the skin and make it more alkaline.“This could cause dryness and flaking of the skin, especially in winter. You should use a soap that has emollients and oils such as those by Dove, Pears, Oilatum or Hidrate. If your skin is really dry, use the Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion as it maintains the pH balance of the skin as well as cleanses your skin well.”
Moisturise—day and night
“Regularly using lotion and moisturiser should be a part of the daily regimen. Freshly moisturised skin has a healthy sheen can help even out any existing blemishes too,” says Dr Chhabra. “It can help your skin look healthy, clean, and wrinkle free. Make sure you’re choosing a moisturiser that works for your skin as there are a whole range of different products for dry and oily skin. You could also apply a thick layer of moisturiser or a lotion and let it seep into the skin overnight.”
And use it the right way
“Use a body lotion that contains ceramides and natural moisturising factors like urea, sodium lactate or lactic acid. Apply it immediately after you get out of the shower on wet skin, so that your body also absorbs more water,” says Sethi. Dr Sharad emphasises on the use of the right skincare ingredients, like ceramides and fatty acids, as well. “Moisturising is key to rebalancing the skin barrier and replenishing your skin’s beneficial fats. A damaged skin barrier can take weeks or even months to repair,” she says.
Winter doesn’t mean you ditch the scrubbing
“Exfoliating is essentially done to get rid of all the dead skin cells. When the skin is smooth and exfoliated, it absorbs the moisture in a better and quicker way. If you don’t exfoliate and scrub off the dead skin cells, then the cells will block and not let the moisture soak in. For winters, it’s advisable to do a mild exfoliation,” says Dr Chhabra.
Don’t forget your lips in your new skincare routine
Grey winter skies don’t mean that the sun isn’t around
“A good sunscreen is very important as it is said to increase skin smoothness and brightness. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job in offering protection against UVB and UVA rays. In winters, one feels like basking in the sun, thus a layer of sunscreen will be useful in protecting the skin and keeping it radiant. It is also advisable to keep yourself covered by a scarf, gloves, coat and hat to reduce exposure to harmful rays,” says Dr Chhabra.
Your feet need special care in the winter
“If you are developing cracks, you need to take care of your feet daily instead of once in a while pedicures. At bedtime, soak your feet in warm water for a few minutes. You may add a few drops of an oil free cleansing lotion or even salt to the water. Slough dead skin off with a mild loofah or exfoliating scrub, and then apply a thick moisturising cream. If possible, wear cotton socks at all times,” says Dr Sharad.
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