Become anice queen; Rescue your skin before it goes into winter meltdown. LISA HAYNES reveals some expert SOS (Save Our Skin) techniques.
Almost a quarter of women admit to neglecting their skin in the winter, according to a recent survey by skincare expert E45.
Most suffer from symptoms such as sensitive skin (27%), snakeskin-like legs (21%) and dry elbows and knees (25%).
"As the colder weather sets in, the low humidity in the air enhances its drying effect on the skin," says dermatologist Tabi Leslie. "This, coupled with the increase in central heating and us trying to warm up with baths and showers, can really suck the moisture from our skin."
Step up your maintenance and winter-proof your skin for the frosty months ahead.
CHAPPED HANDS WINTER WOE: Removing winter gloves to unveil red, chapped and angry-looking hands.
"Dryness and chapping can be caused by exposure to dry winds and cold water," says Leslie. "Sufferers with very dry skin are also more susceptible to sensitivity from soaps and other products." MAINTENANCE: Keep a tube of hand cream in your bag to keep hands hydrated on the move, and try to use immediately after washing hands. Before bed, use a rich formula that can soak in overnight.
RED FACED WINTER WOE: No matter how much foundation you slap on, those red cheeks and Rudolph nose just won't disappear. When you go from inside to outside in the winter, you're challenging your skin to adapt quickly.
"Unfortunately, this process causes the capillaries in the face to contract and expand rapidly leading to broken veins and skin redness," explains Dr Ariel Haus, a Harley Street dermatologist. MAINTENANCE: Try a hydrating serum containing vitamin C and antioxidants to soothe damaged skin while nourishing and protecting.
SNAKE SKIN WINTER WOE: When you undress at night, your clothes are covered in an unsightly speckling of dead skin.
"Many people experience itching, flaking and dryness in winter," says Dr Sam Bunting, a cosmetic dermatologist. "The outer layer of our epidermis needs to maintain adequate moisture levels in order to preserve its function as a barrier." MAINTENANCE: Step up your skincare routine with intensely hydrating products. Apply your | Ruby Red Hair Oil Treatment, PS25 (rubyredcosmetics .co.uk), First Aid Beauty Oh So Fab collection, PS27 (beautybay.com) moisturiser to damp skin within three minutes of getting out of the bath or shower, to lock in moisture.
COLD CUSTOMER WINTER WOE: You feel like you've constantly got the shivers and only a hot bath will help.
"Hot water will strip your skin's barrier, increase circulation and heighten nerve responses in the skin - all contributing to increased sensitivity and prolonged flushing," warns Candice Gardner of International Dermal Institute. MAINTENANCE: Reduce your water temperature to tepid. If the idea gives you a chill, at least cool the temperature down when cleansing your face, as skin here is vulnerable to developing sensitivity.
FLAKY SCALP WINTER WOE: It's snowing... on your shoulders due to an abrupt case of dandruff. Like the skin on your body, your scalp can become dehydrated during cold snaps.
"An irritated dry scalp can throw your hair out of balance causing flaking, redness and all round upset," reveals Norris Ogario, founder of Ogario hair salon.
MAINTENANCE: Soothe your scalp with a nourishing conditioner or hair mask that's free of harsh synthetic ingredients. Wearing a hat can help protect your hair.
KEEP Jack Frost out and hydration in with cosmetic dermatologist and Aveeno ambassador Dr Sam Bunting's top tips: | Exfoliate less often - dry, winter skin may only need it once a week. | Use a soap-free emollient wash to maintain natural oils. | Gently pat skin dry after your shower as rough towel drying can irritate sensitive winter skin. | Apply body moisturiser straight after a shower to lock moisture in when the skin's water content is at its highest. | Be generous with your moisturiser - aim to use 30ml for each top-to-toe application.
Winter can take its toll on our skin but there are ways to keep looking great