For anyone with dry or sensitive skin, the seasonal change in temperature both outside (cold and rainy) and inside (toasty warm—thank you, central heating) can dehydrate your skin, which can result in cracked, sore patches. We called on Maryam Zamani, ophthalmologist, oculoplastic surgeon, leading aesthetic doctor and all-around skin guru to reveal the solution.
“Skin is generally driest in the winter when temperatures and humidity levels fall. The skin’s natural protective barrier can be overwhelmed with dry indoor air caused by heating systems, which increase the water loss in skin,” explains Zamani. “Normal hydrated skin has sebaceous glands producing sebum that serves as a protective barrier against water evaporation, but dry, cold, windy environments can overwhelm the skins ability to prevent water loss.”
Keep scrolling for the ingredients, lifestyle tweaks and diet adjustments that will soften up that scaly skin.
Use an unscented moisturiser after a warm shower to help lock moisture in. Look out for creams that have at least one of the following ingredients: humectants such as glycerin, lactic acid, sorbitol, hyaluronic acid or alpha hydroxy acids; these bind water and prevent water loss. Shea butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, petrolatum and mineral oils are also great. Stay away from fragranced products, antibacterial detergents and products that contain alcohol.
A humidifier will keep water in the air and help maintain moisture in your skin. Try the Amir Aroma Diffuser (£39).
Before showering, use a dry body brush to help get rid of flakes. Take lukewarm showers (not hot ones, sorry) for no longer than 10 minutes once every 24 hours. Pat skin dry and within three minutes use a non-perfumed body lotion.
Avoid antibacterial soaps and detergents, perfumed products and anything containing alcohol.
Wear comfortable cotton clothes instead of wool that can irritate dry skin. And wear gloves to protect your hands from the elements.
Ramp up your diet with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these have an anti-inflammatory effect and can soothe irritated skin. Fish such as sardines, anchovies, herring, and wild Alaskan salmon are all good. If you’re vegan, add flaxseeds to salads, in smoothies or on your morning porridge or eggs. Coconut oil also promotes skin health.
Not only are sugar, fructose and processed foods bad for your waistline, but they can also affect your skin too. Also, limit your intake of grains. These foods are all high on the glycemic index, which means they spike insulin leading to inflammation in the body—not good when your skin is already inflamed thanks to the environment.
Keep scrolling for the products Zamani recommends for anyone suffering from dry, dehydrated and sensitized skin…