Time To Take Care – Winter’s Here!
Winter has come knocking at our doorstep and brought with it the usual challenges – frosted car windows; dirt deposited through the house by muddy shoes; leaves strewn across wind-swept lawns; and a sudden and paralysing reluctance to leave the warmth of our beds in the morning…….
We’ve all experienced the vagaries of winter and we all need to be aware of the detrimental effect it can have on our skin. As I’ve noted before in this column, the skin is the largest organ in the body and is therefore susceptible to environmental hazards, amongst which winter must be numbered.
Every time we step outside in the winter, our skin comes under stress. Often, we are the cause of this, as we dress to keep warm, wearing additional layers of clothing which hamper the skin’s ability to breathe properly. At the same time, winter’s low humidity and strong, cold breezes cause our skin to lose moisture and become abnormally dry. And we can’t escape these problems, even if we bunker down inside! You see, our cozy, heated homes and offices pull moisture from the air and only add to the stress our skin is experiencing. The result can be flaky, scaly winter skin, susceptible to cracking and infection.
But fear not! A thoughtful, nourishing winter skin regimen can help you avoid the worst the cooler months can throw at you and leave you instead with supple skin from head to toe.
Here’s a few tips for keeping your skin in great shape throughout the winter:
* Don’t spend so long in the bath! When it’s cold, it is tempting to spend extra time in the shower or bath, warming yourself and forestalling that moment when you must step onto the cold bathroom tiles! Try, if you can, to avoid this temptation. Hot water pulls the natural oils from your skin, leading to dryness. Shorter showers, followed by a comforting hot drink and shelter inside your favourite jumper is a much better option.
* Pamper your body a little. A favourite approach of mine to skincare in the winter (and one I’ve mentioned previously) is to occasionally take the time after a shower to apply some oil all over the body, having only half-dried off. Almond oil works wonderfully well in this regard, but good quality olive oil is effective too. The oil should bind the residue water to your skin and will leave it feeling silky smooth for days! Remember when you do this to pat dry your skin, as rubbing will simply remove the oil you have applied. And don’t worry if you feel a little damp at the end of the process! The feeling will pass within a few minutes as the air dries you.
* Cleanse carefully. Harsh bar soaps can accentuate skin dryness. Choose a gentle cleanser for bathing, such as River Veda’s nourishing Carefree Cleansing Milk.
* Moisturize. Always remember to moisturize thoroughly in winter. A natural moisturizer is recommended, as our bodies will respond instinctively to it’s pure ingredients. I can recommend River Veda’s Moisture Me Body Lotion as a wonderful tonic for winter-stressed skin.
* Use sunscreen. Even in winter, our harsh Australasian sun can impact negatively on our skin. Remember always to cover up with a dose of broad spectrum, natural SPF (our Day Star SPF 30+ is perfect!) before you head outside.
* Protect your lips and hands. Our lips and hands are constantly exposed to the elements. You might like to pull on a pair of gloves before you head outdoors, but remember too, to invest in a good quality, natural lip balm and hand cream (you might like to try River Veda’s Heavenly Words Lip Balm and The Organic Skin Co.’s Pomegranate and Shea Hand Cream).
* Treat your senses. High quality essential oils can be a great tonic in winter, helping to clear our minds and improve our mood, making us much more resilient when it comes to warding off the winter blues. River Veda’s Aroma Range offers some gorgeous organic essential oils, soothing massage oils, organic pulse points, and luxurious hand-made soaps, all of them infused with the aromatic, life-enhancing perfumes that Mother Nature has so generously provided us.
* Pamper your soul. Take some time to contemplate the things you cherish about winter, be it the chance to curl up under a rug with a good book or spend a leisurely evening in front of a fire. Remember, a positive outlook is as important as a great skincare regimen in terms of keeping you looking and feeling good!
In the end, protecting yourself from the harsher aspects of winter’s climate comes down to common sense. If you are aware of how winter can affect your skin, and you take the steps outlined above to mitigate against this, then you can look forward to skin that is soft, supple and naturally moisturised –
even if winter throws her worst at you!