Now that winter is officially here in Kuwait, it’s time to adjust your skincare routine along with your wardrobe. Cold temperatures, change in humidity, exposure to indoor heaters and dry air tend to sap skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and stressed. These elemental conditions can also exasperate skin sensitivity, redness, itching or flaking, and even lead to the development of skin conditions such as eczema. It’s therefore important to follow a few basic principles:
1.WASH WITH LUKEWARM WATER:
Hot showers and baths always feel good in the winter, but when you can, particularly when just washing your face or hands, choose lukewarm water to avoid stripping oils away from the skin.
2.CHOOSE CLEANSER AND MOISTURIZER CAREFULLY:
Dry skin is more than just unsightly and uncomfortable; it can lead to serious skin problems such as worsening of eczema, psoriasis, and cause winter itch. I would recommend investing in a hydrating cleanser and good moisturizer. Some over-the-counter moisturizers have petroleum-based ingredients that can actually further dry your skin in the winter months. Be sure to choose a smart formula that has natural, nourishing ingredients. Go for an oil-based rather than a water-based solution, as it’s more likely to help your skin retain moisture in the winter.
3.MOISTURIZE IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS:
After cleansing, don’t leave the skin naked for more than 30 seconds, as this can dehydrate it, leading to increased dryness. Apply a hydrating toner and moisturizer to seal in moisture.
Moisture can’t get in if the dead cells are too plentiful. Find an exfoliating mask and use it on your face and your hands, as well as gently on your lips, then follow immediately with moisturizer.
Winter weather appears to be less sunny, but remember those harmful UV rays are still out there. Always protect skin with a safe sunscreen and wear protective hats and clothing.
We tend to drink less water in the winter because we turn to hot drinks like cocoa and tea, but don’t forget that your skin needs hydration from the inside, out. A little warm water with lemon can be very refreshing and hydrating at the same time.
7.EAT A BALANCED DIET:
If we eat a balanced diet, vitamin supplements are not necessary for skin health. They’re recommended only if a deficiency has been identified, such as low iron or B12 levels. Zinc is thought to be good for hair, skin and nails and may improve healing. Biotin has been shown to reduce nail fragility. Foods with Omega- 3 may benefit your skin.
8.MONITOR SCALY SKIN FOR DERMATITIS:
If you notice scaling around your nose and eyebrows in the winter months you may be developing a dermatitis thought to be exacerbated by yeast. Cold winter weather is also a known trigger. I recommend checking with your doctor and applying Canesten cream to the affected areas twice a day for a week and every so often to reduce recurrence. If you also use a very gentle skin wash and moisturize twice a day it will help. Sometimes an anti-inflammatory cream may be needed too for a short time, and your doctor can advise here.
9.PROTECT LIPS FROM LICK ECZEMA:
Licking sore lips will only exacerbate dryness and can cause what is referred to as ‘lick eczema’. Make sure your lips are sealed with an effective ointment at all times.
10.CONSIDER PROFESSIONAL SKIN TREATMENTS:
Winter is a great time of year for skin treatments. We always worry about peels and laser treatment in the summer months. With sun exposure before or after such procedures there is a higher risk of unwanted post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Autumn and winter therefore represents an opportunity. I would, however, suggest planning ahead to make sure your skin has time to settle and be at its peak for the party season.