If You and Your Skin Are Going Through a Rough Patch, Here's How to Fix Things

I know winter has taken its toll when I feel them—the little bumps around my nose and forehead, and blotches of sandpapery skin across the cheeks teamed with a complexion so dull that no amount of self-tanner will perk it up. Uneven skin texture is one of those bugbears most of us just put up with, but if you’re wondering why your complexion looks bleak in winter, look no further.

The key cause? Dryness. Not just the “central heating has sucked out all the moisture” dryness, but also the type of dehydration that happens when you slather on too much face cream. Celebrity skin expert Debbie Thomas explains that when our skin feels tight, we have a tendency to overdo the oil-rich moisturiser in a bid to provide comfort.

“Oils bind with [your] dead skin cells, acting like a glue, so you get a bigger build-up of dead layers,” Thomas explains. “Then your skin’s sensors will pick up on the fact you have a hydrating layer on it, so it thinks it doesn’t need to absorb water from inside the body. This water is the only way to hydrate the deeper living cells, so by overhydrating the outside layers, you can cause the deeper living layers to become dehydrated.”

Now that doesn’t mean you should be ditching the moisturiser altogether. Instead, it’s about finding the right level of hydration and improving your overall routine. “I see change in skin texture as one of the earliest signs of skin ageing,” says Justine Hextall, La Roche-Posay consultant dermatologist. “Even in our 20s, skin can start to look dull and uneven, and pores can become more visible. We see this as textural change, and a good skincare regimen can make a significant change to this.”

But how? Thomas and Hextall have broken down their top skin-smoothing tips, from the cleansing trick that gives your pores an extra polish to a hydrating hack that guarantees a plump, pillowy complexion.