Tips on how to cope with sensitive winter skin.

This time of year brings the worse out in our skins.

January is actually my busiest month and not just because clients decide to try new things like joining a gym, doing DRY January, ditching that boyfriend, changing jobs etc. However,  I am mostly busy with new and regular clients who’s skin has taken a turn for the worst.

Whilst Christmas is a time for overindulging, new foods, too much drink, late nights, lack of sleep and stressful family gatherings..all this is true, but the single most reason for skins not playing “ball” is the sudden change in weather.

The extreme temperature changes, icy cold winds and back to warm,heated living rooms are challenging for most sensitive skin types, but if you are the outdoors kind of person, early morning runs, late night dog walks (etc) then you may have noticed your skin has become more reddened, blotchy, itchy, tight and/or flaky.

whether you are heading to the ski slopes soon or just battling the seasonal weather the following is a guide on how to strip back your skincare routine and get back to basics to allow your skins barrier to repair and get back to normal.

  1. Strip your skincare back to basics-Only use the essentials, so temporarily ditch your foaming cleansers,exfoliators, Retinols, AHA’s, over-active serums, strong toners, masks, needle rollers, electronic brushes and muslin cloths.
  2. Switch your foaming cleanser to a cleansing balm (or cleansing oil)-This will help replenish and nurture the skin and less likely to disrupt the PH. You only need to cleanse in the evening during this time.
  3. Switch your regular moisturiser to a balm- A moisturising balm is sort of a hybrid between a moisturising cream and an oil which will  temporarily be better fit for your skin to buffer the fluctuating weather conditions and protect from water loss.
  4. Add a good quality Omega 3 oral supplement-This acts like an internal moisturiser, replacing the natural lipids allowing your skin to cope better with environmental changes. Perfect for the ultra-sensitive skins if they just cannot tolerate “yet another product” It also helps the skin retain water better.
  5. Apply a Broad spectrum, stand-alone, antioxidant-rich SPF- As counter intuitive as this seems, aside from protecting from UVA rays which are still present in the sunny Winter months, it will also, reduce redness and blotchiness, hold your moisturiser in place and prevent it from evaporating, reduce oxidative stress and prevent the skin from constricting which is one of the causes of itchy skins and white head development.
  6. Once your skin has returned to some kind of normality- And the skin sensitivity and gone, I suggest adding a little exfoliation into the mix, but rather than a formal scrub which can be irritating and cause micro tears in the skins surface, try Alpha hydroxy acids (eg lactic). I suggest using a PH balanced toner with AHA’s. This is a gentle yet effective way to remove any build up of product like sunscreen and dead skin cells.
  7. Gradually reintroduce your tried and tested skincare (assuming it was working well for you before the sensitive period)

Lets get back to basics as it’s  the best way to cope with skins that are sensitive to environmental, Winter fluctuations.

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