Your skin can often suffer during the winter months, becoming dull and dry with the added risk of breakouts, but what can be done to prevent this? As autumn fades into winter we offer you some tips to keep your skin looking bright, glowing and healthy during these dark winter months.

In winter your skin is under attack on several fronts, not all associated with the weather. First and foremost you’re not as healthy in the winter months, which is why we all suffer from colds and viruses more so at this time of year. Your skin directly reflects your internal health and so naturally loses its normal glow and radiance. There are a number of reasons for this. Christmas is after all one of the biggest party seasons known for its excess. The lack of natural light also has a direct effect on your health in a number of ways. Most significantly your skin stops producing vitamin D which is linked to all sorts of health benefits. In addition to these factors the cold weather will directly affect your skin as will modern central heating systems designed to protect you from the winter cold.

Exfoliate

The cold air outside and the dry warm air inside can cause a build-up of dead skin cells that can give your skin a dry, flaky or patchy appearance. Exfoliating with a good quality scrub should therefore be a priority during the winter months. Not only will this remove dead skin cells and cleanse the skin it will also stimulate your skin’s blood circulation. Removing the build-up of dead skin cells will also help improve the skin’s absorption of topical treatments, moisturisers and other skin care products. It is important however that you’re careful not to over exfoliate, as this can cause your skin to become irritated inflamed and even encourage breakouts. Everybody’s skin is different so it is important to bear this in mind and keep a close eye on the state of your skin. Obagi’s 360 Exfoliating Cleanser is an excellent product for this part of your beauty regime.

Cleanse & Tone

In addition to exfoliating it’s essential that you also use a good quality cleanser or toner. Cleansers & toners are designed to clean away excessive oil and dirt from your skin’s pores. Soaps are generally not suitable for cleansing the skin as they also strip away all your essential oils. It’s also important that you use a non-alcoholic product to ensure that your skin’s natural PH is not disturbed. When choosing the right cleanser or toner for your skin you’ll need to consider what type of skin you have. Do you suffer from dry or excessively oily skin? In the winter as your skin dries out it may be necessary to change your products to accommodate the seasonal change in your skin. If you want to find out what type of skin you have and which cleansers and toners are most suitable speak to your Personal Practitioner at the Brigstock clinic who will be able to advise you.

Cool water

Using excessively hot water when washing is known to strip away your skins natural oils and disrupt your skin’s PH balance. Whenever you wash your face ensure you use tepid or cool water and try to avoid excessively hot baths or showers to avoid your skin becoming dry. This can be difficult during the cold winter months when a steaming hot bath or shower is most appealing, but lowering the water temperature will protect your skin. With this in mind it is sensible not to wash your face in the bath or shower. The skin on your face can be more sensitive than other areas of your body so taking extra care of your face by using cool, tepid or lukewarm water is sensible.

Diet

Diet is always one of the most important factors that affects the health of your skin and how good it looks. Considering your diet is particularly important over the winter period. Office parties, Christmas and New Year are great opportunities to let you hair down and it is probably important that you do to a certain extent. It’s just important that you keep the partying in perspective and wherever possible choose the healthiest options. Keep a look out for the Brigstock Recipe Booklet due to be launched in the New Year. The booklet is full of healthy recipes specifically designed to keep your skin in tip top condition.

Another good practice particularly if you’ve over indulged is to intermittently fast at least once a week. There are a number of different fasting methods to choose from and most are extremely effective methods of weight control and maintaining good health.

If you do drink alcohol make sure you consume it sensibly and always keep yourself well hydrated. Good hydration is important at any time of year and winter is no exception.

Vitamin D

As well as partying a little too hard one of the biggest factors that effects your health over the winter period is lack of natural sunlight. This reduces your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin and for good reason. It’s actually quite difficult to consume enough vitamin D through your diet and the only way to ensure you have enough is to either expose your body to sufficient levels of Ultra Violet B light, which in the UK is not possible to do naturally in the winter months, or take vitamin D supplements. Your skin directly reflects your internal health, so to ensure your skin keeps its natural glow, take Vitamin D supplements especially during the winter period.

Moisturisers

Cold winds, dry central heating and hot baths all contribute to dry skin in winter. A good quality moisturiser is therefore probably one of the most important skin care products in your wash bag. But with literally hundreds of moisturiser available how do you choose the right one for you?

Peptides are good ingredient to look for in your moisturiser. They work by binding moisture within your skin. Recent studies have also reported that autoinducing peptides are involved in cell to cell communication that actually helps your skin repair itself.

Hypoallergenic formulas are also a good idea to look for as are formulas that are designed to lock your skin’s moisture in for a prolonged period. Many moisturises also contain Shea butter and for good reason. Shea butter is known to contain high levels of vitamin A and is thought to display anti-inflammatory qualities. Again Obagi’s moisturising products are all excellent and conform to all the requirements listed here. Brigstock Skin and Laser Centre only recommends the very best skin care products and this is why we recommend Obagi.

Sunscreen

It might seem paradoxical that during the dark winter months you still need to use sunscreen, but the fact of the matter is it still important that you do so. To understand why its important to understand the difference between UVA and UVB light.

The naturally occurring ultraviolet light present in the winter is UVA light. However, because the sun doesn’t rise high enough in sky the UVB light is not able to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. UVB light is responsible for vitamin D production and this is why your skin doesn’t produce vitamin D from around September to March. So UVA light is still present throughout the winter months and UVA is the baddy in this story.

UVA light accounts for up to 95% of the UV rays reaching the Earth’s surface. This means they are UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. Frustratingly they pass straight through glass, making sun protection necessary when you’re indoors as well as outside. UVA light penetrates the deeper layers of your skin, much deeper than UVB. UVA is known to play a major part in the aging of your skin aging, accelerating wrinkling and stimulating melasma (dark patches). Although it has been known for some time that UVB causes sun burn and cancers until recently UVA wasn’t thought to be a significant contributor. Recent studies however have shown that UVA may also initiate and exacerbate the development of skin cancers. So wear your sunscreen.

Most sunscreens can be quite oily so it important to pick one that is comfortable enough to wear all day long every day. Once again Obagi comes out tops. They offer a wide variety of sunscreens for lots of different circumstances, some of which are water resistant for up to 40 minutes, and all offer broad-spectrum protection. Non of them are oily or leave any visible residues.

So there you have it. These are my top tips for ensuring you keep you your skin in first-rate condition over the winter months. If you’d like some further advice call the centre for your free consultation with your personal skin practitioner. The winter might be long but your skin doesn’t have to suffer.

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