The Beauty Report: damage control for winter skin

Protect your skin from the worst effects of the cold weather

 

Winter is a challenging time for skin. Fluctuations in temperature between the freezing outdoors and often smotheringly overheated indoors put skin under pressure. The constant constriction of capillaries due to the cold causes the blood supply to extremities such as the hands, feet and nose to be inconsistent, so skin becomes dry and dehydrated, and frequently very uncomfortable.

When we walk from intense cold into a warm building, the capillaries are forced open, and skin can become sore and inflamed, leading to chilblains or small broken capillaries on the face. It also causes more minor issues such as dryness and flakiness, while central heating is extremely dehydrating to the skin.

As you wait for spring to bring some more temperate weather, it’s a good idea to introduce some damage control products into your skincare routine, if only to stave off the worst of the winter crustiness.

Hands are often the least-loved part of our anatomy, despite the fact that they’re certainly the most hard working. Even protected by gloves, hands become dry in cold conditions. A great hand cream will ameliorate a lot of the damage and protect your hands.

Handy Gurugu (€10.90, from Lush) has a thick and creamy texture, and is loaded with ultra-nourishing shea butter. It was formulated for hard-worked hands, and its fresh scent won’t overpower.

To tackle dehydrated skin, a hyaluronic acid-rich serum is helpful. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to a thousand times its own weight in water, and is the most effective hydrating ingredient in products. Serums are the most potent skincare product, and are generally used to tackle specific skin issues.

Instant Firming Beauty Shot from Ren (€48) contains lots of hyaluronic acid, is pleasingly anti-inflammatory, and has a temporary tightening effect on the skin. It’s particularly nice under make-up. Of course, the best possible way to tackle dehydrated skin is to increase your water intake, but a serum helps.

A hyaluronic acid mask is a great way to quickly rehydrate and revitalise tired skin. It’s an excellent step to add to your routine the night before an event or special occasion, and will leave skin immediately plumped and more radiant. Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Masks (€26.99 from Boots) contain four foil-packed cloth masks drenched in hyaluronic acid gel. They have a divinely cooling sensation on the skin, reducing puffiness and soothing dry, flaking skin immediately. They may make you look temporarily like a masked killer, but on removal your skin will look and feel noticeably better.

Follow up with a rich, intensive cream to seal in all the moisture, and you’re well on your way to counteracting the worst of winter’s effect.

Aveda Botanical Kinetics Intense Hydrating Soft Creme (€48 from Brown Thomas) is a dream to apply. With its smooth, buttery texture and richly herbal fragrance, it nourishes the skin, both preparing it for make-up and locking all of your products underneath – a bit like wearing a coat to protect yourself from winter’s bite.

lkennedy@irishtimes.com

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