10 Skin-Loving Hacks To Survive Winter

by Sportitude
16 Jul 2018

If you’re like us you’ll love that the chill gives you an excuse to cocoon yourself in a cosy winter wardrobe, but it isn’t all about fluffy pink bunny slippers and snuggling up with hot cocoa.

Re-thinking your skin survival routine is essential to beat the damaging effects of winter, particularly the low humidity drying out your skin and snuffing out your natural glow.  

Put our 10 skin-loving hacks to the test this winter for healthy skin and to keep your sensitive bits like hands and lips lush and protected.

Layer up for lush lips

Like you layer your clothing to take the winter edge off, your lips also benefit from layering. A nourishing balm containing apricot oil, avocado oil, shea butter or beeswax helps protect sensitive lips and keep them hydrated so they don’t crack up.

Peek into your pantry

Your pantry or fridge may contain your natural ‘miracle in a jar’ to remedy irritated skin and provide nourishment in a pinch.

Virgin coconut oil is a hydrating emollient (moisturiser), honey is soothing and anti-inflammatory, yoghurt is rich in B-complex vitamins, is cleansing and healing, and oats have humectant properties (lock in moisture).

That’s just a glimpse of their natural benefits when applied to the skin, and a quick google will show off plenty of skin care recipes with these ingredients.

Oil up

Although you’re not a tinman, including carrier oil in your skin care ritual can be beneficial, being rich in skin-loving goodies like essential fatty acids and antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E).

Oil up with argan oil (for dry and mature skin), avocado or apricot kernel oil (for itchy, inflamed and dry skin), coconut oil (for eczema and sensitive skin), grapeseed and rosehip oil (for oily skin) and jojoba oil or sweet almond oil (all skin types).

The trick is to find which carrier oil (or carrier oil blend) is going to love your specific skin type, and you don’t have to go nuts with the oil – massage a small portion into your palms then gently apply to your face and neck daily.

Time it right

It’s best to moisturise or oil up after your shower when your skin is clean and slightly damp to seal in the hydrating goodness your skin craves.

If you shower first thing in the morning and are worried about glistening like a mermaid wrapped in aluminium foil all day, instead do your moisturising routine after washing your face at night, just before getting your shut-eye. This way your skin can rejuvenate as you sleep.  

Skip the hot shower/bath

Sorry guys and gals, but the hot shower and bath that keeps you invigorated and toasty warm in the chill can be damaging to your skin, doh! The hot water strips your skin of its natural oils, leaving it irritated and dry.

Opt for a lukewarm temperature and if you must have a warmer bath, include hydrating oils such as coconut oil to create a protective layer on your skin – just be wary of the slip factor when you hop out.

Grinded oats (using a coffee grinder, food processor, blender or whatever works for you) can also be added to your bath water to soothe parched, itching skin.

Exfoliate but don’t overdo it

Exfoliating once a week during winter can help free your skin of dehydrated, dead cells, encouraging younger, living cells to take their place and allowing them to absorb your moisturiser to their full capacity. If you’re a pro at multi-tasking, you can gently exfoliate while showering.

Be careful not to over-exfoliate as it can buff away layers of healthy cells, hindering your skin’s ability to function as a protective barrier.

Do apply a hydrating formula immediately after exfoliating to lock in moisture.

Switch the harsh soap for gentle skin cleanser

Soap can be damaging, particularly to moisture-deprived skin. Reach for non-soap, gentle skin cleansers and know that nude is better!

By nude we mean products that are free of fragrance and deodorants as these may irritate sensitive skin.

Cover up

Rug up like a sasquatch with gloves, scarf and beanie when braving the bitter chill. Not only will this keep you snug as a bug in a rug, it’ll act as a winter armour for your body’s natural protective barrier – your skin.

Bundling up will prevent the low humidity in the colder months from leaching out essential moisture and will ward off flaky, crocodile skin.

Wear sunscreen

The sun’s hiding behind clouds and yet you’ve still got to put on sunscreen. Your choice to wear sunscreen should not be based on heat, but UV index. Even though the UV index might not reach summer levels, the CancerCouncil recommends applying sunscreen when the UV is 3 or higher.

Cold winds wear down sunscreen and prevent it from protecting you to its full effectiveness, so be sure to reapply every 2 hours.

You are what you eat

You’ve only heard it a zillion times before from your good ol’ granny, but you are what you eat! Your skin loves veggies with a high-water content for hydration like carrots, celery, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes and low-sugar fruits like cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and kiwis.

Don’t be afraid to dip your strawberries in high quality dark chocolate for an occasional treat or to cuddle up with green tea for additional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

Boost your vitamin C with broccoli, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, sweet potatoes and kale to support collagen production for optimal skin elasticity or pop a fillet of salmon on your plate – it’s rich in omega-3 fat (or seek vegetarian sources like walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds) to strengthen your skin's function as a protective barrier to seal in moisture.  

Please see a dermatologist if you have consistent or severe skin problems to help keep you on track of your winter skin survival.